No, La Palma is not shaking like a leaf in a hurricane!

According to the Express website, La Palma is being “smashed by hundreds of earthquakes from the deadly Cumbre Vieja.” We’ve been so thoroughly smashed that I haven’t felt a thing. Literally nothing. Not a sausage. The biggest we’ve had was a 3.5 magnitude earthquake and that doesn’t “rock” anything. Most people didn’t noticed it at all. The others were magnitude 1 or 2. I should mention that it’s a log…

October 28, 2017
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Robert’s Wall (la pared de Roberto)

Robert's Wall (Pared de Roberto), La Palma
May 28, 2017

This photo was taken from the viewpoint at Los Andennes, where you get a spectacular view into the Caldera. From here you can see a dyke called La Pared de Roberto (Robert’s Wall). It’s about four metres high (13ft). [Volcanic dykes are formed when moulten lava fills a crack in the rock and solidifies slowly into very hard rock called basalt. Later on the softer, surrounding rock is eroded away,…

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The Tsunami Risk

You may remember the fuss in 2001 when two geologists, Steven Ward and Simon Day, announced their theory that the west side of the island of La Palma would collapse one day, creating a mega-tsunami that would cross the entire Atlantic and still be anything up to 25 metres high when it hit New York, and indeed everything from Newfoundland in Canada to Recife in Brazil. These days, almost all…

December 2, 2016
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Happy Birthday, Teneguia!

The eruption of Teneguía, Fuencaliente, 1971
October 8, 2016

  The oldest rocks on La Palma are 3,000,000 years old, which is very young for geology. But the youngest rocks are just 45 years old, and it’s their birthday this month. The Teneguía volcano erupted during October and November of 1971. My husband was a teenager at the time, and he remembers going to see it from the San Antonio volcano, and he remembers hearing the deep rumbles at…

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Pillow lava

Pillow lava in the Caldera de Taburiente
March 30, 2016

Pillow lava is formed underwater, on the sea-bed. When the lava comes out and hits the sea water, the outside cools and freezes pretty much immediately, while the inside keeps on flowing. That means that it forms tube, which lengthens and widens until the pressure at the inlet end breaks open the tube and starts a new one. So you get the tubes interlocking. This is how La Palma grew…

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Volcanic Caves

July 26, 2015

I come from Yorkshire and I’m used to limestone caves, so I was surprised when I found that the volcanic island of La Palma has lots of caves too. Volcanic caves are formed when a river of lava solidifies on the top and sides, but the middle (insulated by the solid-but-still-hot lava around it) stays runny. Sometimes big bubbles of gas force their way to the surface, leaving a hole…

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