Active volcanoes / Aktive vulkaner:
Timanfaya, Lanzarote, Canary Islands, Spain  

The Timanfaya-area on Lanzarote is today a large national park that covers about 1/4 of
the 805 km² large island, the northeasternmost of the 7 larger canarian islands.
The eruptions in the 18 century are amongst the most important stories of eruptions in modern
times, not only because of the large volume erupted, but also the duration in time.

It was late in the evening on the 1st. of September 1730 that the earth suddenly opened up
near what today is called Timanfaya. During the first hours of the night, an enormous mountain
rose from the ground, while flames lightened up the night-sky. This fiering spectacle lasted for
19 days and nights. To day small volcan-cones are putting their tops over the large amount
of lava, that during the next 5 and a half month poured out from the volcano, and which soon covered a large part of the island, until it reached the Atlantic Ocean. Several canyons are
crossing the landscape in all directions, being created while the surface of the lava cooled off,
and broke into pieces, falling down into the several tubes which had been formed by the lava.

The island grew several square-miles during the eruption, which lasted from the 1st. of
September 1730 untill the 16th. of April 1736. On the day of 18th. Oktober 1730 new vents
were formed over Santa Catalina, smoke covered the whole island again, and lava and
ash again filled up larges areas. The explosions and the dark that followed the eruptions,
made the inhabitants of the city of Yaiza to leave their homes more than once.

Before the eruptions, large parts of what was later covered by lava were previously some of the most fertile and rich soil, with grain and vegetables all over. Luckily there were only scattered populations here, and only 420 homes were destroyed. One of the areas hit was Geria, which is
well known to day for its fine wine-products - the wine grows very well in the lapilli - or picon as
it is called locally. A total of 20 villages were burried during the eruption-period.

The last eruption on Lanzarote was in 1824, but before that several years of seismic activity occured. What was special during this eruption, was a long floation stream of lava, and high
fountains of boiling saltwater from the Tinguaton-volcano.

To day there is a restaurant on the top of one of the volcanos, in the Hilario's Islet, where the temperature is at 600 degrees Celcius just 10 meter below the surface, and only 10 centimeters
(4 inches) below the surface, the temperature can go as high as 160° C. Large crowds of tourist
are visiting this center every day. Everybody are offered a guided tour by bus around the
volcano-area, with information given either in english or german. The tour is included in the
entrance-ticket to Timanfaya park, as it is forbidden for others than the bus to drive around
inside the park.The price for a ticket was as per Januar 2000 at 1.000 Ptas each (apprx. 2
UK Pounds, or 6 US $).

Timanfaya became a National Park in 1974, and shows an important variation in geology and
fauna. Special interested person may have guided walks through the area. Many zoologists
botanists and geologists are using Timanfaya as a base for studies and experiments.

 Montañas del Fuego, Timanfaya (spansk) lots of nice pictures!
 Parque Nacional de Timanfaya, (spansk)


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