Geography, La Palma, Canary Islands, Spain


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Geography

La Palma is a volcanic island and you can see evidence of this almost everywhere you look. The island is a fascinating blend of volcanic rock and lush green vegetation, surrounded by the roaring Atlantic Ocean. The last volcanic eruption was in 1971. The island is quite small; only 50km long and 25km wide.

La Palma is dominated by a massive erosion crater in the north called Caldera. Many people initially think it's a volcano but it's not. It is however, made of volcanic rock and has very steeply sloping sides, so you'd be forgiven for thinking so.

Over the years, the south-west part of Caldera has gradually collapsed. It has created a huge ravine that runs all the way down to the coast at Tazacorte.

In the north of La Palma, there are some spectacular cliffs, where the coast drops dramatically down to the shores. This makes walking treacherous and access to the coast difficult. There are some beautiful isolated coves in this area, but many of them can only be accessed by sea. The coastal landscape is quite similar in the southeast.

The island is divided in two by a huge mountain ridge that stretches from Caldera in the north all the way to southernmost point in the island. This central ridge is known as the 'Cumbre'.

The landscape is incredibly green and fertile. There are many different varieties of tree here, including; the tall canary pine and tree-heather which you will find at the higher altitudes and the cultivated citrus, chestnut, avocado, almond and banana trees at lower altitudes.

On the coast, La Palmas's cliffs are mostly made up of volcanic rock. The sand on the beaches is actually black volcanic sand. Bananas are big business here; you'll see plantations everywhere along the coast.

When it rains here, it rains - really rains! As a result of this, La Palma has grown a small tropical rainforest. It's located in the northeast of the island. The rain is intense but never lasts long and occurs mainly in winter or at higher altitudes.

So, it's volcanos, tropical rainforests, lush green vegetation, volcanic beaches, wildlife, massive cliffs, scary ravines and violent seas. Where else can you find this!

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