Inside the Hot Spring at Fuencaliente UPDATED

Well that was fun. Even though I was in (I think) the fourth group, the tour into the hot spring (Fuente Santa) started bang on time. First there was an audio visual presentation, then we put on the hard hats and went down the tunnel. The guide pointed out the various places along the route where we were going through either solid basalt lava, or porous volcanic rubble. Along the…

July 17, 2014
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The Hot Spring

Fuencaliente means “Hot Spring”. The southernmost municipality takes its name from the hot spring which seeped out into pools on Echentive beach. It was famous for curing all kinds of sickness, including leprosy and syphilis, so Fuencaliente used to attract sick people from all over Europe and even South America. That’s the setting for “A Star in the Water”, one of the stories in “The Seer’s Stone“. And then Volcan…

July 15, 2014
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Pyroclastic Flows and Dykes

The whole island of La Palma is volcanic, but it’s extremely young. The oldest rocks are only about three million years old, so there’s no dinosaur fossils here. Much of the island is basalt – a dark grey rock which tends to form hexagonal columns, like the Giant’s Causeway or Los Organos on La Gomera. Over thousands of years it weathers to a lighter grey or brownish-grey. The red rocks…

April 11, 2014
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Todoque Cave

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…

July 12, 2013
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Volcanic Caves

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…

July 25, 2012
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Robert’s Wall (la pared de Roberto)

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,…

May 10, 2011
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