GEOLOGY - Teide National Park - Tenerife

Geology

Mount Teide National Park
Geology
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From the heart of Las Cañadas, you can look out in awe at the striking landscape and the sheer size of the volcano. The volcanic cones, silicon sand, abrupt shapes that blend into smoother forms after years of erosion... Even the ground you step on calls to you to bend down, touch it and inspect it more closely. You could spend months roaming the Park, with its endless geological wonders.

There are a variety of theories as to the origin of the volcanic ensemble that shapes the National Park. The most popular versions claim that the crater of Caldera de las Cañadas was formed by a gravitational slide or a sinking crater.

The giant cone that is now known as Mount Teide is a stratovolcano formed by no end of successive eruptions that have piled up layer upon layer of volcanic detritus over the centuries.

Las Cañadas is comprised of two semi-craters that are separated by a row of rock formations known as the Roques de García. The row runs perpendicular to the crater near to Cumbres de Ucanca and constitutes one of the most characteristic and most visited elements in the Park. The twin volcanoes of Pico Viejo (also known as Chahorra) and Mount Teide were formed in the area that lies between the two semi-craters, possibly in the Quaternary Period. The most westerly of the two, Pico Viejo, is also the oldest and is topped with a crater that measures 800 m (2,624 feet) in diameter and stands 3,134 m (10,282 feet) high.

It is thought that the more recent Teide used to be topped by what is now known as the La Rambleta crater, but a subsequent eruption produced a new cone measuring 150 m (492 ft) tall, known as Pilón or Pan de Azúcar. This cone is, in turn, topped by a smaller 80 m (262 ft) crater named Pico del Teide.

Not all of the landscapes in this National Park are precipitous and pointy; the erosive force of the wind and water has smoothed and softened many surfaces. The sedimentation of particles that the water and the wind have deposited in the dips in the great valley have levelled some areas and created the ravines of Las Cañadas.

Other non-volcanic materials have also played their role in the Park. Such is the case with the very fine silicon or quartz sand transported there from the Sahara desert by the south-westerly winds. It is believed that the amount of sand deposited every year amounts to roughly 25-40 grams per square metre, which gives us as an idea of just how important these materials must have been over the centuries in shaping the landscape of Teide National Park.

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