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The Canary Islands, Spain

January 30th, 2009 Category: Volcanoes

Canary Islands - January 21st, 2009

Canary Islands - January 21st, 2009

Isla de La Palma (known in English as “La Palma”), is one of the seven major Canary Islands (Spain) in the Atlantic Ocean off of the west coast of Africa.

La Palma, like the other islands of the Canary Island archipelago, is a volcanic ocean island. The volcano rises almost 7 km above the floor of the Atlantic Ocean.

Proportional to its size, it is alleged to be the steepest island in the world. The highest peaks reach over 2400 m above sea level, and the base of the island is located almost 4000 m below sea level.

The northern part of La Palma is dominated by the Caldera de Taburiente, clearly visible in the center of the island, with a width of 9 km and a depth of 1500 m. It is surrounded by a ring of mountains ranging from 1600 m to 2400 m in height.

Only the deep Barranco de las Angustias (“Valley of Fear”) canyon leads into the inner area of the caldera. The outer slopes are cut by numerous gorges, which appear as black and white lines, running from 2000 m down to the sea.

Like the rest of the chain, the island is sharply mountainous. It has an area of 278 km². The highest point is situated in the middle of the island, in Malpaso, 1501 meters high.

Upon opening the full image, two other islands are visible: El Hierro (bottom) and part of La Gomera (right).

Like the rest of the chain, El Hierro island is sharply mountainous. It has an area of 278 km². The highest point is situated in the middle of the island, in Malpaso, 1501 meters high.

La Gomera is the second-smallest of Spain’s Canary Islands. The island is of volcanic origin and roughly circular; it is about 22 km (15 miles) in diameter and rises to 1487 m (nearly 5000 feet) at the island’s highest peak, Garajonay.

The central mountains catch the moisture from the trade wind clouds and yield a dense jungle climate in the cooler air, which contrasts with the warmer, sun-baked cliffs near sea level. Between these extremes one finds a fascinating gamut of microclimates.

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