Short overview of volcano eruptions in Canary Islands

Here is an short overview of volcano activity in Canary Islands during the past 1000 years. But I do not want to go any more back in time. But this is similar to what I did about Iceland few months ago. For refrence I am using Global Volcanism Program data. I do not have any other data point at the moment. This blog post is going to be updated as more eruptions takes place. This is the same thing that I do with historical overview about volcano eruptions in Iceland.

Year of eruption

Gran Canaria has not had any eruption in past 1000 years.

Fuerteventura has not had any eruption in past 1000 years.

Year ~1060, eruption starts in Tenerife.

Year ~1480 eruption takes place in La Palma.

Year 1492, eruption starts in Tenerife on ~24 August.

Year 1585, May 19. Eruption starts in La Palma. It lasts until 10 August.

Year 1646, eruption starts on 2 October in La Palma. It lasts until 21 December.

Year 1677, eruption starts on November 17 in La Palma. It lasts until 21 January 1678.

Year 1704, eruption starts in Tenerife on 31 December. It last until 27 March in the year 1705.

Year 1706, eruption starts in Tenerife on May 5. It lasts until 13 June.

Year 1712, eruption starts on October 9 in La Palma. It lasts until 3 December.

Year 1730, eruption starts on September 1 in Lanzarote. It lasts until April 16 in the year 1736.

Year 1798, eruption starts in Tenerife on June 9. It lasts until ~14 September.

Year 1824, eruption starts in Lanzarote on July 31. It lasts until 24 October.

Year 1909, eruption starts in Tenerife on November 19. It lasts until November 27. It lasts until November 27.

Year 1949, eruption starts on June 24 in La Palma. It lasts until 30 July.

Year 1971, eruption starts on October 26 in La Palma. It last until November 18.

This blog post is going to be updated regularly.

Blog post updated at 20:55 UTC. Fixed some errors in the text.

This entry was posted in Canary Islands, El Hierro, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, History, La Palma, Lanzarote, Spain, Tenerife, Volcano. Bookmark the permalink.

47 Responses to Short overview of volcano eruptions in Canary Islands

  1. JEC says:

    The history of eruptions in the Canary Islands is fascinating. We have sailed and visited ALL those islands. What is a shock..the dusty red dirt/ash everywhere. I believe in the 1800s..before Tenerife had large eruption, all was green and tropical. The Canary Islands..were they named for the birds and tropics? Its gone now..covered in dust and volcanic debris. But still wonderful to visit and see the small pockets of green..the blue lagoon, the caves, and the way the people have recovered agriculture with drip gardening, and careful use of soil. The new soil from the eruptions, really is good for farming, but the climate change..the lack of water/etc is a problem in many of the volcanic islands..Canarys, Cape Verdes. Note they were named for birds and green plants..which no longer are representative of the current lands.

  2. Charly says:

    What i find interesting about the canary islands eruption is that they do not seem to follow the typical Hawaiian hot spot style, eruptions are not mainly concentrated in the island ehre the hot spot is currently situated, there were no eruptions in el Hierro for 2500 years and instead much activity in Tenerife or even Lanzarote.

  3. Walter says:

    Don’t forget the seismic crisis at El Hierro in 1793. It was similar to the events of this year, but there were no records of a submarine eruption. At those times there lived only a few people at the island and I think nobody in the region of La Restinga. So there could have been also a event like this year.

  4. Tyler Mannison says:

    Here’s another earthquake swarm at Hengill. And this one is in a different spot.

    • Inge B. says:

      It’s in the region of Nesjavellir Geothermal Plant’s boreholes.

      • Jack @ Finland says:

        The average depth of quakes is 5-10 km. Are the holes really that deep?

      • Newby says:

        What worries me a bit is that this new swarm is the other side of Hengill from the previous swarms. Does anyone know if this makes it more of a danger? I assume both lots must be from the fracking?

      • Mafl says:

        There is the other power plant “Nesjavallavirkjun”.
        The other swarms are at “Hellisheiðivirkjun”.

        So i think it’s again some fracking.

  5. KarenZ says:

    You are excluding the 1753 event at El Hierro from the list. Is this because, although there was EQ activity, there was no visible eruption?

    • KarenZ says:


      Too much coffee today.

    • The year 1753 events, if any, are unconfirmed at this moment according to GVP. There can be many reason for that.

      I do not list unconfirmed events here. Even if they happen in modern times. The reason is that this might be false reporting or some other type of error about an activity in volcano. There are plenty of those going around every day.

  6. Most of the people in the US don’t have a clue what’s going to happen if half that volcano slides into the ocean.

    • Newby says:

      Not going to happen. Stop worrying.

    • Lurking says:

      I do…. See Newby’s comment at 20:14.

      Some relativity for you. The 2011 Tōhoku tsunami in Japan involved the near instant displacement of a volume of water somewhere between the above water volume of THE ENTIRE ISLAND of El Hierro to about twice that.

      I know, because I pulled the USGS quake poster and tallied up the volumes of the initial water displacement cells.

      So.. in order to generate ANYTHING approaching that size… from El Hierro, you would have to plunge the entire island into the water at once.

      Mechanically and tectonically speaking… that ain’t gonna happen, no matter how much someone wants it.

  7. I only post confirmed events here. The events that you speak about here are unconfirmed according to GVP.

    • KarenZ says:

      La Palma and Tenerife seem to have had a lot of activity.

      But oddly no confirmed activity on the youngest island, El Hierro. Not too sure that I would have scaled back monitoring activity right now.

      • The only confirmed activity so far is currently taking place in El Hierro volcano. But some volcanoes have long period between eruptions. A time that can span thousands of years, or tens of thousands of years or more.

      • Mr Explosion says:

        Yep, just look at Nabro volcano in Eritrea! No historical eruptions, then BOOM! Lava!

      • KarenZ says:

        Er…………….I was referring to your list above.

  8. Irpsit says:

    My girlfriend is now saying that the other flank of Hengill felt jealous of all the attention being given to the southern side.

    Now seriously, it looks interesting. Nearly every day now, since last 3 months we have been watching Hengill always with a big steam column from the drillhole. I wonder if tomorrow there is one near the northern flank of Hengill, as seen from our place. There is also steam coming of from there, but usually it is too small for us to see it from here (Grimsnes), except in very still weather.

    • Inge B. says:

      There is not only one, but a lot of drillholes around both power stations at Hengill (around 30 in the whole as I read somewhere, but Wagabond would perhaps know exactly how much they are).

  9. ankilosado says:

    Thanks for the review! The only thing I find kind of wrong is the finishing date of the Lanzarote 1730 series of eruptions. As I mentioned in another post, there might be a mistake to set the end of the eruptions in 1736, and they rather ended in 1735. Not really a 6 years episode, as many claim and repeat automatically.

  10. Mr Explosion says:

    Looks like the eruption at El Hierro might be over… 🙁

    • According to the harmonic tremor it is not over. But it is not powerful at the moment. That is for sure.

      • Another Peter says:

        Looking at and the following two hours, I think that the instrument has been severely disturbed and is not functioning correctly. The trace in places is very asymmetrical, and shows several cases where it seems to recover slowly from overload.

      • Lurking says:

        Inflation either. Until the displacement returns to normal.. or that this is established as the new normal… it’s not over.

        Somewhere in the ball park of 63,891,583 m³ of magma moved into the system in the 80 days leading up to the eruption. (my estimate via a Mogi model). Since the eruption, the displacement at FRON has be relatively stable, with swings above and below an average 34.8 mm radial offset.

        That means that Bob, or some other vent/combination of all, is releasing material at an (estimated) 798,645 m³/d rate.

        Had the submarine vent NOT been on the side of the slope of the island, it would have accumulated enough material by mid to late November to breach the surface or at least go into a Surtseyan mode.

        It hasn’t done this (yeah, I know, “well duh”)

        The reason is that the angle of repose is about 50°. As the top grows, it keeps collapsing down the side of the slope. Once the edge of the cone reached the point where debris can flow off to the deep, it quit getting shallower.

        In all likelihood, with out an onshore vent, or a vent on the landward side of the Jacuzzis, it will ever surface. But… do not count this as over. Tremor comes from either magma movement or degassing, or both. Inflation means a charged system.

        Until that goes away, it can do anything.

  11. Good news. I am not completely limited as I was fearing. I got one my computers up. But that is about it until I move back to Denmark.

    But there are not going to be any high resolution traces of earthquakes for next several months because my main earthquake computer is offline and is going to be offline until I am back in Denmark.

  12. wurzeldave says:

    Just do what you can Jon.

  13. James says:

    Does anyone have any info on when the next episodes of volcanic activity are likely due at both Lanzarote and Tenerife? Lanzarote is a strange creature, rising directly up from the African continental shelf/slope!

    • Tyler Mannison says:

      I’m really no expert, but it’s really difficult, or even impossible, to say when. It could be tomorrow or it could be thousands of years from now.

    • Charly says:

      Im no expert, but Tenerife was shaking from 2004 to 2005, in 2010 there was even a tremor signal detected (see AVCAN), so the next swarm in tenerife could trigger the eruption, but it is impossible to say when its going to happen.

  14. Irpsit says:

    You can see now many more deep earthquakes happening in Katla.

    This night there was a 1.1 at 10km deep, and another at 6km. Yesterday a 2.1 at 13km They are low quality but usually deep earthquakes in Katla tend to be low quality.

    This means we are getting close to the eruption. I think it could be a question of months, but I wait to see a run up of more earthquakes and stronger.

    They seem again to be concentrating in specific spots, and several of them, in Godabunga, in Solheimarjokull, north of Hábunga in the caldera (1918 eruption site and 1755 eruption site), and now a few appearing north, outside the caldera. And besides the few happening south, outside the glacier.

  15. Patrick says:

    wide spread swarm @hengil area this morning

  16. Irpsit says:

    I wake up and just got a birthday gift from Hengill.

    A huge swarm happening in Hengill. So far biggest earthquakes have been up to 2.1.
    But the interesting thing is that, several could be deep earthquakes.

    I would be nice to see tremor and inflation records for Hengill!

  17. wurzeldave says:

    South Iceland must’ve been at the Brennivin last night with all those tremors! 🙂

  18. Clive says:


    Is Hengill…alright? Looks like it has gone mad and as Irpsit (happy birthday!) says – quite a few are deep. Were the geothermal people having a fracking party on Friday night? I hope they have not broken Hengill volcano.

  19. New blog post about the earthquake swarm in Hengill volcano.

    Happy birthday Irpsit! 🙂

  20. Alicia Mujica says:

    Good morning everyone.
    First of all excuse my English, I use the translator.

    I’m a read them carefully Tenerife since this happening
    the volcanic crisis of El Hierro.
    And to participate actively AVCAN forum.

    Jón First thanks for the work you are doing diffusion.
    and the followers of this blog for your interest and this phenomenon as follows.

    And now tell you that not all islands are filled with volcanic ash.

    The archipelago are 7 islands and each one is different from the other.
    You can find islands with lush vegetation.

    As in La Gomera and La Palma.
    With almost virgin forests, incredible, where even running water.

    Tenerife has a mix of everything is like a mini-continent,
    since it has a microclimate and a few kilometers can go from a sunny day and beach
    to see a beautiful landscape with snow.

    Gran Canaria has great beaches as well.

    El Hierro is different, is an island that must go to visit, for its simplicity, its people,
    that there is a feeling of serenity that is not in the other islands.

    Fuerteventura and Lanzarote in the two islands and there is kilomtres and kilomtres of coastline with golden sand almost white and turquoise sea as if in the Caribbean.

    I encourage everyone to visit our islands,
    but do not where, as always, are typical tourist places.
    But where the canaries go.
    To really know well our land.

    Oh before we call he recognized Canary Islands
    Back in 40 BC as the Fortunate Islands.
    Then the name was changed to Canary Islands
    and the name comes from the Canary Islands
    A Berber ethnonym .. but there are still doubts about this.

    Anyway, on today’s print, television still refers to the Canary Islands
    As Fortunate Islands.

    Thanks and good luck with your volcano ….
    Happy Christmas from Tenerife ..
    Fortunate Islands (Canary Islands)
    Alicia Mujica

    • Mafl says:

      Thanks, Alicia!
      I have seen 5 of the seven Islands. Walking at Gomera through the fog woods, walking up the Teide (just the last meters 🙂 ) sunbathing at the beach at the Fuerteventura, mostly amazing a guided walk trough the lava fields and in a lava tube at Lanzarote and the last trip was to La Palma. There was extremly different weather. On the north side every evening we are sitting in the fog=cloud at the balcony and the next day we are a little bit overheated at the Teneguia Volcano.
      All islands are very special. So it lacks only El Hierro and Gran Canaria…next time!

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