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Thursday, August 08, 2013 (read 920 times)
Tenerife: Las Canadas del Teideby Abigail
Las Cañadas del Teide, or simply Las Cañadas, is the name primarily used to refer to the colossal caldera found on the island of Tenerife. Located within Teide National Park and with a diameter of 17km, the Las Cañadas caldera, a large, basin-like depression formed 170,000 years ago following the collapse of a huge volcano, remains a site of great visual interest for geoscientists and tourists alike. Moreover, positioned in the centre of this caldera is Mount Teide, the world´s third largest volcano.
Boasting spectacular scenery and attracting four million visitors a year, Teide National Park was declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO in June 2007.In spite of the harsh environmental conditions, Teide National Park is home to 168 plant species, 58 of which are endemic to the Canary Islands and 33 to Tenerife.
The formation of the Las Cañadas caldera has been at the centre of great geological debate in recent years. Up until the early nineties, geologists generally accepted the hypothesis that the caldera was formed as a result of the collapse of a large volcano when a shallow magma chamber beneath it rapidly emptied its contents. However, research carried out on the island at the end of the 20th Century suggests that it was, in fact, an immense landslide which created the unique caldera structure. Whatever the case may be, the fact remains that the geological process lead to the creation of Mount Teide, the tallest mountain in Spain and all of the Atlantic archipelagos.
Given the impressive prominence of Mount Teide on the island, it comes as no surprise that the stratovolcano is Tenerife´s most visited tourist attraction. In just eight minutes, visitors can soar to the highest peak by cable car and enjoy breathtaking views of the surrounding Canary Islands of Gran Canaria, La Palma, La Gomera and El Hierro. Alternatively, for those tourists looking to take on a more physical challenge, the ascent to the summit can equally be taken on foot. Following a climb of approximately five hours and having acquired a free permit in advance, hikers will not only be rewarded with a unique panoramic view, but can also observe the crater´s yellow rocks which are still white-hot to the touch today despite the passing of more than a century since Mount Teide´s last volcanic eruption. Owing to its Mars-like terrain, Teide Park may also help make scientific history. After centuries of curiosity, the extensive research carried out at Las Cañadas del Teide in preparation for the ESO-NASA ExoMars expedition of 2016-2018, may conclusively reveal whether life exists on the Red Planet.
Paradores in Spain
For those visitors who feel that a day alone is not ample time to fully appreciate the remarkable scenery on offer at Las Cañadas del Teide, the Parador Hotel provides the perfect solution. Set 2000 metres above sea level and overlooking the Chaorra volcanic crater, guests can enjoy the unique volcanic surroundings in absolute comfort. Close to one of the most important solar observatories in the world, the hotel equally offers keen astronomers the chance to marvel at the mesmerizing constellations of Tenerife’s nighttime skies.
Keywords: canary islands,tenerife,mountains in spain,teide,parador spain,national parks in spain