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The Canary Island La Palma




La Palma is situated at 28.4° N and 17.5° W in the Atlantic and is together with  El Hierro the youngest Canary island. They arise 2 million years ago and are compared to the oldest Canary Islands, Fuerteventura and Lanzarote about 22 million years younger.

There are different hypotheses about the arise of the Canary Islands. The most discussed is the "Hot-Spot" theory which says the islands arise above a hot-spot. Plate tectonic movements later lead the islands grow in a line in direction south west. The current position of the hot-spot is indicated with the volcanic activity of La Palma and El Hierro. The Atlas-Theory links the Canary islands with the dynamic processes of the close Atlas mountains and the instability-hypothesis talks about heaving of parts of the ocean crust as the cause of  the origin of the islands.*

Thousands of volcano eruptions, many above each other and small to gigantic landslides finally formed the island La Palma with a maximum north south extent of 45 km, an east west extent of 26 km and a height of up to 2,426 m AMSL. Compared with the relative small footprint, it is one of the steepest islands in the world. The depth of the sea on the west side is 4,000 m; the resulting volcano complex is then with its total height of 6,400 m one of the biggest worldwide.
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*) Carracedo, Juan Carlos: Canarian Volcanoes: 15 - 26;
Editorial Rueda, S.L. (2008).

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