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Roger Weller, geology instructor
volcanoes in Spain
by Edwina Brown
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
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)