Teide - Historical Eruptions

Historical Eruptions

Teide is currently dormant; the last eruption occurred in 1909 from the El Chinyero vent. Historical volcanic activity on the island is associated with vents on the Santiago or northwest rift (Boca Cangrejo in 1492, Montañas Negras in 1706, Narices del Teide or Chahorra in 1798 and El Chinyero in 1909) and the Cordillera Dorsal or northeast rift (Fasnia in 1704, Siete Fuentes and Arafo in 1705). The 1706 Montañas Negras eruption destroyed the town and principal port of Garachico, as well as several smaller villages.

Historical activity associated with the Teide and Pico Viejo stratovolcanoes occurred in 1798 from the Narices del Teide on the western flank of Pico Viejo. Eruptive material from Pico Viejo, Montaña Teide and Montaña Blanca partially fills the Las Cañadas caldera. The last explosive eruption involving the central volcanic centre was from Montaña Blanca around 2000 years ago. The last eruption within the Las Cañadas caldera occurred in 1798 from the Narices del Teide or Chahorra (Teides Nostrils) on the western flank of Pico Viejo. The eruption was predominantly strombolian in style and most of the lava was ʻAʻā. This lava is visible beside the Vilaflor–Chio road.

Christopher Columbus reported seeing "a great fire in the Orotava Valley" as he sailed past Tenerife on his voyage to discover the New World in 1492. This was interpreted as indicating that he had witnessed an eruption there. Radiometric dating of possible lavas indicates that in 1492 no eruption occurred in the Orotava Valley, but one did occur from the Boca Cangrejo vent.

About 150,000 years ago, a much larger explosive eruption occurred, probably of Volcanic Explosivity Index 5. It created the Las Cañadas caldera, a large caldera at about 2,000 m above sea level, around 16 km (9.9 mi) from east to west and 9 km (5.6 mi) from north to south. At Guajara, on the south side of the structure, the internal walls rise as almost sheer cliffs from 2,100 m (6,900 ft) to 2,715 m (8,907 ft). The 3,718 m (12,198 ft) summit of Teide itself, and its sister stratovolcano Pico Viejo (3,134 m (10,282 ft)), are both situated in the northern half of the caldera and are derived from eruptions later than this prehistoric explosion.

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