Mount Teide is a volcano on Tenerife in the Canary Islands. Its 3,718-metre (12,198 ft)-high summit is the highest point in Spain, the highest point above sea level in the islands of the Atlantic, and it is the third highest volcano in the world measured from its base on the ocean floor (7.500 metre), after Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa located in Hawaii.For this reason, Tenerife is the tenth highest island worldwide. It remains active, with its most recent eruption occurring in 1909 from the El Chinyero vent on the north western Santiago rift. The United Nations Committee for Disaster Mitigation designated Teide as a Decade Volcano, because of its history of destructive eruptions and its proximity to several large towns, of which the closest are Garachico, Icod de los Vinos and Puerto de la Cruz. Teide together with its neighbour Pico Viejo and Montaña Blanca form the Central Volcanic Complex.
The volcano and its surroundings comprise the Teide National Park. The park has an area of 18,900 hectares (73 sq mi) and was named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO on June 29, 2007.Is also one of the most visited National Parks in the world, with a total of 2.8 million visitors, according to the Instituto Canario de Estadística (ISTAC).
Echeyde (Teide) was a sacred mountain to the aboriginal Guanches, so it was considered a mythological mountain, like Mount Olympus was to the ancient Greeks. According to legend, Guayota (the devil) kidnapped Magec (the god of light and the sun), and imprisoned him inside the volcano plunging the world into darkness. The Guanches asked their supreme god Achamán for clemency. So, Achamán fought Guayota, and Magec was freed from the bowels of Echeyde (Teide) and he plugged the crater with Guayota. It is said that since then, Guayota has remained locked inside Teide. When entering Teide during an eruption, it was customary for the Guanches to light bonfires to scare Guayota.
Guayota is often represented as a black dog, accompanied by his host of demons (Tibicenas).The Guanches also believed that Echeyde (Teide) held up the sky. Many hiding places found in the mountains contain the remains of stone tools and pottery. These have been interpreted as being ritual deposits to counter the influence of evil spirits, similar to the practices of the Berbers of Kabylia. The Guanches believed the mountain to be the place that housed the forces of evil, the most evil figure Guayota.Guayota shares features similar to other malignant deities inhabitants of volcanoes, as in the case of the goddess Pele in Hawaiian mythology, who lived in the Kīlauea volcano and was regarded by the native Hawaiians as responsible for the eruptions of the volcano.
The stratovolcanoes Teide and Pico Viejo are the most recent centres of activity on the volcanic island of Tenerife, which is the largest (2,058 square kilometres (795 sq mi)) and highest (3,718 m (12,198 ft)) island in the Canaries and which has a complex volcanic history. The formation of the island and development of the current Teide volcano can be summarised into five stages, as shown in the diagram to the right.A recent study showed that in the future there will be violent eruptions at Teide also revealed that it has a structure similar to that of Vesuvius and Etna.
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 1492, Montañas Negras 1706, Narices del Teide or Chahorra 1798 and El Chinyero 1909) and the Cordillera Dorsal or northeast rift (Fasnia in 1704, Siete Fuentes and Arafo and 1705). The 1706 eruption from the Montañas Negras vent on the Santiago rift destroyed the town and principal port of Garachico, plus several smaller villages.
Historical activity associated with the Montaña Teide - 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-Montaña Blanca partially fills the Las Cañadas caldera.The last explosive eruption involving the central volcanic centre was from Montaña Blanca ~2000 BP. 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 (Old Peak - which is actually younger than Teide). The eruption was predominantly strombolian in style and mostly ʻAʻā lava was erupted. These lavas are visible alongside the Vilaflor - Chio road.
Future eruptions may include pyroclastic flows and surges similar to those that occurred at Mount Pelée, Merapi, Mount Vesuvius, Etna, Soufrière Hills, Mount Unzen, etc. During 2003, there was an increase in seismic activity at the volcano. Such activity may be indicative of magma rising into the edifice, but is not always a precursor to an eruption.Teide is considered to be unstable and has a distinctive bulge on its northern flank. This bulge is not believed to be associated with an influx of magma, but the result of a slow northwards collapse of the edifice. Seismic evidence suggests that Teide may be constructed over the headwall scarp of the infilled Icod Valley, a massive landslide valley formed by edifice failure in a similar manner to that of the Güímar and Orotava Valleys. The summit of the volcano has a number of small active fumaroles emitting sulfur dioxide and other gases including low levels of hydrogen sulfide.
The first known ascent of Mount Teide by a European was in 1646 or 1650 by the Englishmen Philips Ward, John Webber, John Cowling, Thomas Bridges, George Cove and a friend named Clappham. In 1715 the English traveler J. Edens and his party made the ascent and reported their observations in the journal of the Royal Society in London.After the Enlightenment, most of the expeditions that went to East Africa and the Pacific had Teide as one of the most rewarding targets. The expedition of Lord George Macartney, George Staunton and John Barrow in 1792 was about to end in tragedy, as a major snowstorm and rain swept over them, could not reach the peak of the mountain, not really reached beyond Montaña Blanca (Mountain White).
With Romanticism, Teide exhibited a set of natural beauty so distinctive that it became a hot spot for centuries above.The German adventurer Hans Heinrich Joseph Meyer visited Teide in 1894, during an expedition to Kilimanjaro to observe ice conditions of the volcano. After the climb to Teide, Meyer compared with it to Kilimanjaro, calling them "two kings, one rising in the ocean and the other in the desert and steppes".Between June and July 2008, the Guatemalan climber Jaime Viñals in a special issue "bonded" Mount Ararat (Turkey) with the Teide, in an ascent to each of these two peaks in a span of less than a month. Conquering the first summit of Ararat on June 24 and immediately after coming to Tenerife to climb Mount Teide crowning on 8 July. With the conquest of these summits, peaks was 21 achieved the international list of "50 most prominent summits in the world".
Flora And Fauna
The lava flows on the flanks of Teide weather to a very thin, but nutrient and mineral rich soil that supports a diverse number of plant species. Vascular flora consists of 168 plant species, 33 of which are endemic to Tenerife.Forests of Canary Island Pine (Pinus canariensis) occur from 1,000–2,100 metres (3,300–6,900 ft), covering the middle slopes of the volcano, and having an alpine timberline 1,000 m (3,300 ft) lower than that of continental mountains of similar latitude. At higher altitudes, the Las Cañadas caldera provides sufficient shelter for more fragile species such as the Canary Island cedar (Juniperus cedrus), and the Canary Island pine (Pinus canariensis) to grow.
The Teide National Park has several endemic plant species including the Teide white broom (Spartocytisus supranubius) (Fabaceae), which has white flowers; a shrubby crucifer Descurainia bourgaeana with yellow flowers, the Canary Island wallflower (Erysimum scoparium) (Brassicaceae), which has violet flowers; and the Teide bugloss (Echium wildpretii) (Boraginaceae), whose red flowers form a pyramid up to 3 m (9.8 ft) in height.The Teide Daisy (Argyranthemum teneriffae) can be found at altitudes close to 3,600 m (11,800 ft) above sea level. The Teide Violet (Viola cheiranthifolia) can be found right up to the summit of the volcano, making it the highest flowering plant in Spain.
The similarity between environmental conditions and geological formations between Teide National Park and the planet Mars make it a volcanic reference point for studies related to the red planet.
The analogies between the red planet and parts of Tenerife make the island the ideal place for testing instruments that will travel to Mars and reveal past or present life on Mars. In 2010 a research team tested the Raman instrument at Las Cañadas del Teide, which will be sent in the next expedition to Mars ESA-NASA ExoMars in 2016-2018.In 2011 a team of United Kingdom researchers visited the park in June to test a method for finding life on Mars and finding places to test new robotic vehicles in 2012.
The volcano and its surroundings, including the whole of the Las Cañadas caldera, are protected in a national park, the Parque Nacional del Teide. Access is by a public road running across the caldera from northeast to southwest. The public bus service TITSA runs a once per day return service to Teide from both Puerto de la Cruz and Playa de las Americas. A parador (hotel) is also within the National Park along with a small chapel. The Teleférico cable car goes from the roadside at 2,356 m (7,730 ft) most of the way to the summit, reaching 3,555 m (11,663 ft). Each car carries 38 passengers (34 in high wind) and takes 8 minutes to reach the summit. In peak season, queues can exceed two hours.
Access to the summit itself is restricted; a free permit (obtainable from the Park office in Santa Cruz, Calle Emilio Calzadilla, 5 - 4th floor) is required to climb the last 200 m (660 ft). Numbers are normally restricted to 150 per day.Due to the altitude, oxygen levels are lower than at sea level. This can cause people with heart or pulmonary conditions to become light headed, dizzy, develop mountain sickness and in extreme cases unconsciousness. The only treatment is to return to lower altitudes and acclimatise.