The 47-km-long wedge-shaped island of La
Palma, the NW-most of the Canary Islands, is
composed of two large volcanic centers. The
older 2426-m-high northern one is cut by the
massive steep-walled Caldera Taburiente, one of
several massive collapse scarps produced by
edifice failure to the SW. The younger 1949-m-
high Cumbre Vieja, the southern volcano, is one
of the most active in the Canaries. The elongated
volcano dates back to about 125,000 years ago
and is oriented N-S. Eruptions during the past
7000 years have originated from the abundant
cinder cones and craters along the axis of
Cumbre Vieja, producing fissure-fed lava flows
that descend steeply to the sea. Historical
eruptions at La Palma, recorded since the 15th
century, have produced mild explosive activity
and lava flows that damaged populated areas.
The southern tip of the island is mantled by a
broad lava field produced during the 1677-1678 eruption. Lava flows also reached the sea
in1585, 1646, 1712, 1949 and 1971.
During the 1949 eruption (Jun 24 till Jul 30), three vents-Duraznero, San Juan, and Hoyo Negro-
opened and lava flowed from those. Two earthquakes also occurred during the eruption.
Following the earthquakes a fracture approximately two and half kilometres long opened and
parts of the western half of the Cumbre Vieja ridge moved about 1 metre sideways and 2 metres
downwards towards the Atlantic Ocean. The fracture is still visible and still has the same
dimensions recorded in 1949.
Location: 28.602° N, 17.854° W
Elevation: 1.285 m
La Palma, Febr. 2002
click on pictures to enlarge