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Volcanoes on the Canary Islands

Volcanoes on the Canary Islands - Active Volcanoes in Spain

The Canary Islands - Canaries in Spain are one of the most interesting active volcanic regions in the world. The study of the volcanoes on the Canary Islands or Canaries in Spain are related to the earliest steps in modern volcanology, reflected in the work of the great scientists of the 19th century. The origin, formation and evolution of the volcanoes are related to the widening and expansion of the South Atlantic and the separation of the American and African continents.

The Canary Islands are the only Spanish islands of volcanic origin and on Tenerife you find one of the very few European volcanoes that still are active: El Teide.

The Volcano El Teide on Tenerife - Canaries - Spain

Special Characteristics of the volcano El Teide:

• The main characteristic of the Canarian volcano El teide is its prolonged activity over more than 50 million years.

• Almost the entire range of magmas and volcanic rocks can be found in the Canaries - Canary islands, and this is not the case in other volcanic regions.

• The Canaries represents a genuine museum of all the existing volcanic structures of different parts of the world.


• The Canary Islands are formed by two different complexes:

- A basal complex of submarine origin. This constitutes the ocean crust and is made up of many basalt defiles one on top of the other, alternating with layers of marine sediments.

- Volcanic structures of sub aerial origin. They are the product of the volcanic eruptions that began in the Miocene Period and continued until the present day, and have formed the different islands into the shapes we see today.

• The islands are composed of structures of volcanic origin lying on enormous blocks of ocean crust.

• Huge cliffs are common on the coasts. The Canaries is the Spanish region with the most extensive coastlines; 1,583 kilometers.


- Cones
- Lava fields
- Craters
- Ravines
- Terraces
- Cliffs


• Situated in the calm magnetic zone of the passive African margin, the archipelago that forms the Canary Islands is a region with active volcanoes.

• There have been fourteen eruptions since the end of the 15th century.

• The materials emitted by these eruptions have covered wide surfaces, they have been channelled down some ravines, and occasionally, on reaching the sea, they have altered the coastline.



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