Cumbre Vieja Volcano

rash on palm

El Cumbre Vieja volcano It is located on the island of La Palma, in the Canary Islands, and is a Strombolian-type volcano, although it looks more like a Hawaiian-type volcano. He was the cause of the eruption in the year 2021 that made so much talk throughout Spain.

In this article we are going to tell you about the characteristics, origin and eruptions of the Cumbre Vieja volcano.

Key features

extinct volcano

It is a large volcano and has a long, smooth shape on one side and a steeper slope on the other. It has had several eruptions in the past and is constantly monitored for any seismic activity that may indicate a possible eruption in the future.

The magma of Cumbre Vieja is viscous and slow, which means that it moves very slowly and can build up pressure inside the volcano. This can increase the risk of an explosive eruption that could be dangerous to the nearby population.

If the Cumbre Vieja volcano were to erupt, it could produce toxic gases, ash and lava flows that could affect the people and the economy of the area. Therefore, it is important to be informed and prepared in case of a possible eruption.

In addition, the Cumbre Vieja volcano is located in a seismically active area, which means there are frequent earthquakes in the area. These earthquakes can be a sign of volcanic activity and are used to monitor volcano activity. It is also important to note that the island of La Palma is a popular tourist spot and many people visit the Cumbre Vieja volcano to hike and enjoy the impressive views. However, it is important to follow the recommendations of local authorities and respect restricted areas to avoid endangering the safety of people.

Formation of the Cumbre Vieja volcano

old palm summit volcano

Cumbre Vieja volcano is a shield volcano, which means that its shape is long and smooth on one side and steep on the other. This type of volcanoes is formed through the accumulation of fluid lava and scoria, which it gradually spreads out in all directions from the central crater of the volcano. In this process, the layers of lava and scoria accumulate on top of each other, forming an elongated mountain.

The Cumbre Vieja volcano was formed from several volcanic eruptions that took place over a period of several thousand years. The process began about 1,2 million years ago and has been going on ever since. As the eruptions continued, layers of lava and scoria built up, eventually forming the mountain we see today.

Regarding the composition of the volcano, it is mainly composed of basalt and trachyte, which are two types of volcanic rocks. Basalt is a dark, dense rock, while trachyte is a lighter, less dense rock.. The chemical composition of these rocks is important because it affects the viscosity of the magma and therefore the behavior of the volcano during an eruption.

Eruptions of the Cumbre Vieja volcano

old summit volcano

The Cumbre Vieja volcano has had several eruptions throughout its history, the last one occurred in September 2021. During an eruption, the volcano releases magma, ash, gases, and other materials through the central crater and fissures on the flanks of the volcano. volcano.

Eruptions can vary in intensity and duration, and can be explosive or effusive. Explosive eruptions are characterized by the sudden release of large amounts of ash and pyroclastic material, which can be dangerous to people and buildings near the volcano. On the other hand, effusive eruptions are characterized by the gradual release of fluid lava, which flows slowly down the flanks of the volcano.

During an eruption, local authorities work closely with scientists to monitor volcano activity and take steps to protect people and property near the volcano. Authorities can also issue warnings and evacuations if necessary.

One of the most famous eruptions of the Cumbre Vieja volcano occurred in 1949, when a fissure in the southern flank of the volcano began to release lava and ash. During the eruption, lava flowed into the sea, creating a new peninsula at the southern tip of the island. There were also explosions and ash emissions, which affected the nearby population.

Another major eruption of the Cumbre Vieja volcano took place in 1971, when a fissure in the northern flank of the volcano began to release lava and gases. During the eruption, lava flowed north, destroying several buildings and roads in its path. Ash and gas emissions were also produced, which affected the nearby population.

what kind of volcano is it

Cumbre Vieja volcano is a shield volcano, which means it has a broad, domed shape, with a gentle slope and a concave summit. this kind of volcano forms from the gradual accumulation of fluid lava flowing from the central crater and the fissures on the flanks of the volcano.

Shield volcanoes are generated in subduction zones. Subduction zones are those in which tectonic plates are in contact and one plate slides under the other. The plate that subducts is the less dense one (usually the oceanic one). In the subduction zone of the Canary Islands, the African tectonic plate is moving to the west, which has generated a series of volcanoes on the earth's surface.

Shield type volcanoes form from the gradual accumulation of flowing lava, which flows from the central crater and the fissures on the flanks of the volcano. Flowing lava moves across the terrain with ease and, due to its low viscosity, can cover large areas in a short time.

The lava that emanates from shield-type volcanoes is generally basaltic, which means that it has a chemical composition that is rich in iron and magnesium, and poor in silica. This lava is very fluid and moves through the terrain easily, which makes shield-type volcanoes have rather effusive eruptive activity, contrary to the explosive activity of stratovolcano-type volcanoes.

I hope that with this information you can learn more about the Cumbre Vieja volcano and its characteristics.


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