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Catalunya's little-known volcanoes
27 January 2020 @ 13:19

Things have often become explosive in Catalunya. Just as you cross the Pyrénées towards what is now the Costa Brava, you could find out how hot-headed the region was, and how it liked to blow its top.

When thinking about volcanoes in Spain, the Canary Islands tends to be the region which springs to mind – El Hierro has one under the sea just off its coast, which was in constant eruption for about a year and a half and, although it did not cause damage or injury, kept geologists fascinated as they studied its structure and activity. And, of course, there's the Teide National Park – although this is in fact an active volcano, it has not erupted since November 18, 1909, just over 111 years since the previous time, and is not expected to do so again for a long time, if ever. Even if it does, there'll be plenty of time for the tourists exploring it to be moved to safety, and there are no residential areas near enough to be in danger – albeit air travel could well be disrupted over several continents, as was the case with the Icelandic eruptions of Eyjäfjällajökull and Bardárbunga, where the worst of the immediate damage was caused by floods, not lava, as the snow on these mountains melted.

But you probably hadn't realised Catalunya was home to around 50 volcanoes, too.


La Garrocha National Park emerges from earth's crust

The La Garrocha ('La Garrotxa', in catalán) National Park volcanoes are thought to have formed at the end of the Miocene era, around 5.3 million years ago.

A series of fractures started to appear in the westernmost part of what is now the continent of Europe, stretching from the North Sea to the south of mainland Spain and Portugal.

As a result, the magma (hot, molten rock – known as 'lava' once it has broken through the surface) beneath the earth's crust began to rise, taking advantage of the cracks, and creating volcanoes.



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