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Roger Weller, geology instructor

volcanoes in Spain
by Edwina Brown
Physical Geology
Spring 2014


Volcanoes of Lanzarote, Spain

During the three years that I lived in Germany, I had the opportunity to

travel to the Canary Islands. I chose to visit the island of Lanzarote. It is the fourth

largest of the Canary Islands and is only 77 miles from the coast of Africa. Each

of the islands are of volcanic origin, but Lanzarote has the most recent volcanic

eruptions. It has a long history of eruptions, the longest lasting and most

powerful in history erupted between 1730 and 1736. It is a shield volcano with

four main calderas and numerous cones and fissures. Lanzarote is a geologist’s



Lanzarote has an incredible and intriguing landscape. In some areas, it

feels as though you are on the moon because of the remaining lava, ash, and

cinders. Along the coast, you can experience the beautiful beaches with emerald

water. Lanzarote is a wonderful year-round vacation destination because of its

fantastic climate.


The highlights of my trip include Timanfaya National Park, El Golfo, Salinas

de Janubio, La Geria, and Los Jameos del Agua.

Timanfaya National Park was declared a National Park in 1974. During the

18th century over 30 eruptions buried entire villages and transformed over a third

of the island into a massive lava formation. Even today there is little vegetation.

Timanfaya can only be visited via guided walks or on a coach tour. Visitors are

not allowed to roam free on the park. The highlight of this tour includes a trip to

El Diablo Restaurant. The restaurant uses geothermal heat transferred from a

hole in the ground. Guests can also watch demonstrations which show the

intense heat just below the surface.

*Please note the green color of these photos is because of the windows from the tour bus.

As noted above, visitors are not allowed to roam through Timanfaya.*


El Golfo Crater is a half submerged cone of a volcano. It has been eroded

by the elements to reveal an emerald green lagoon. The green of the lagoon is

produced by the concentration of the algae, Ruppia Maritima. There is an

incredible contrast between the color of the lagoon and the black of the sand. The

lagoon is a protected site, roped off from those who try to touch it.


Salinas de Janubio is a salt refinery, the largest of the entire archipelago. It

covers approximately 440,000 sq. meters and uses the traditional method of salt

extraction from the sea water. The sea creates an amazing backdrop for the salt

fields. This area is also a bird-watchers paradise.

Photos by Frank Vincentz

La Geria is a vineyard and another of Lanzarote’s many protected areas.

Because of the arid and hostile ground in this region, the people of Lanzarote had

to get creative. To plant their vines, they dug 10,000 funnel shaped holes into the

volcanic ash. They planted one vine per hole and filled them with soil. In order to

help lock in moisture, thick layers of volcanic granules covered the base of the

vine. Further, in order to protect the vines from strong winds, low semicircular

walls were built around each hole.


Los Jameos del Agua was, by far, my favorite destination. Los Jameos del

Agua consists of caverns and partially collapsed volcanic tubes. Visitors are led a

mysterious lake enclosed by a cave. The lake is home to tiny albino crabs. Paths

take visitors through grounds covered in lush plants, passing an emerald green

pool of water and leading to a 550 seat auditorium. There is also a restaurant and

bar that are used for evening events.


I highly recommend Lanzarote as a vacation destination for people of all

ages and interests. It has something for everyone and its temperate climate is

inviting all year round.


According to Wikipedia, many movies and TV show productions have

chosen to film in Lanzarote because of its incredible scenery. They include:

• One Million Years B.C. (1966)

• Even Dwarfs Started Small (1970) Shot entirely on Lanzarote.

• Road to Salina (1970)

• The Martian Chronicles (1980). TV mini-series

• Krull (1983)

• Doctor Who TV serial Planet of Fire (1984).

• Enemy Mine (1985)

• Stranded: Náufragos (2002)

• Broken Embraces (2009)

• In The Heart Of The Sea (2015)