Teide National Park in Spain

Teide National Park

Teide National Park

Natura 2000 (Natura 2000) refers to the network of areas in the EU states where the protection of certain species of animals and plants and their habitats is required. This protection is regulated by the so-called Bird Protection Directive (1979) and the Habitats Protection Document (1992). The Community legal provisions list plant and animal species and their habitats which are in particular need of protection because of their rarity and habitat requirements; this applies in particular to endangered species and habitats. On the proposal of member states, the Commission defines specific areas for the protection of these species and habitats. The areas are divided into seven EU biogeographic regions (Alpine, Atlantic, Polar, Continental, Macaronesian, Mediterranean and Pannonian). The network includes protected areas, in which more than 180 species and subspecies of birds are to be conserved, and special nature reserves, in which more than 250 different habitats, more than 200 animal species and more than 430 plant species are to be conserved. Natura 2000 today includes more than 20% of the territory of the European Union. Member States are responsible for protected areas and must ensure the conservation of species and habitats as defined in Community regulations. They still allow economic activity such as agriculture within these areas, but this must be done in a way that protects the species and habitats.

– Natura 2000

European Diploma of Protected Areas, created in 1965, is a diploma awarded by the Council of Europe, for protected natural areas (natural or semi-natural) of exclusively European conservation value. It is awarded for a period of five years and can be renewed.

ISO 14001 is an international standard containing the requirements for the environmental management system to be certified.

Environmental Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS) is a voluntary environmental management tool that was developed in 1993 by the European Commission. It allows organisations to assess, manage and continually improve their environmental performance. The scheme is globally applicable and open to all types of private and public organisations. To register with EMAS, organisations must meet the EU EMAS-regulation requirements. Over 4,600 organisations and over 7,900 EMAS sites are currently registered.

Teide National Park or Las Cañadas (Spanish: Parque Nacional del Teide and Las Cañadas del Teide) is located on the island of Tenerife (Canary Islands, Spain), covering an area of 189.9 square kilometers. It received park status on January 22, 1954. It is considered the largest and oldest National Park in the Canary Islands and the third oldest destination in Spain. Listed as one of the “12 Treasures of Spain” and declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2007, it is a protected area and one of the most visited parks in the whole of Europe. An object of great attention is the volcano Teide, which represents one inseparable park area, with its peak elevation of 3,718 meters above sea level. You can take a fascinating excursion to the peak of the volcano by cable car.

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Las Cañadas was formed by numerous volcanic eruptions, erosions, gravitational slides or landslides that were subjected to atmospheric phenomena over time, creating bizarre shapes and mountain structures, causing a curious fascination to travelers coming here from all over the world. The variety of colors of the rocks, gives us an idea of the centuries-long chronicle of events. The different structures of the volcanic rocks, which vary in the color of the solidified lava, from black tones to light brown, indicate the effects of oxidative atmospheric processes of the iron dissolved in them.

Las Cañadas Park has a long history, dating back to the settlement of the island by the ancient inhabitants, the Guanches. They have carried down to our days the legends and respect for the volcano, presenting it with gifts and praying for its continued tranquility, so that it would not spew lava and give it prosperity.

National Park Teide on the map

Scientific interest

The extraordinary similarity of the geological sites of Teide National Park with the neighboring planet Mars, enables scientific work with robotic mechanisms. The Exomars program of the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Russian state corporation Roscosmos for the exploration of Mars, tested the Bridget spacecraft on the Las Cañadas landscape in order to send it to Mars in the future.

Rocks and minerals

Of the lava rocks here, the mineral found in erupted lava, Olivin, is given close attention. Olivin is a precious stone of yellow-green or to greenish varieties of color. After processing, the mineral is framed in precious metals such as silver or gold and sold in local gift stores. Most of which are located in the north of the island or at the foot of the volcano, at the cable car station.

For a little money you can buy olivine, which is not used in precious jewelry, and make them a souvenir of handicrafts, using them as a gift or a keepsake for memories of the trip. On Tenerife olivine is practically not mined because of the protective zone of the park, mostly brought from the island of Lanzarote.

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Obsidian, a black glass magmatic rock, is also present in the rocks of Teide National Park. In the past it was of great importance to the Guanches, who used it to make spear-sharp instruments, including spearheads. Today, similar to olivine, it is used in jewelry of various kinds.

Rocks and Minerals in Tenerife

The sights of Teide National Park

Teide National Park has many interesting places and sights that will not leave you indifferent after visiting it.

On your way to Teide, you will definitely pass a coniferous forest of canary pine, which is definitely worth knowing about, its magnificent properties and great benefits to the island.

Canary pine is the coniferous endemic of the Canary Islands and the symbol of the island of La Palma. On the island of Tenerife in the municipality of Vilaflor is the largest pine tree (28.165413, -16.636752, ), which reaches a height of 45.12 meters. Its trunk is 3 meters and 12 centimeters in diameter and its longest branch is 9.36 meters. Usually common pine trees are 15-25 meters in height and up to 1 meter in diameter. The length of the needles, on average, is from 20 and reaches up to 30 centimeters.

In general, dense masses of Canary pine are formed at an altitude of 700 to 1200 meters above sea level. As it falls below or rises above these altitudes, its density decreases. This is due to the lack of cloud masses, as it condenses food for itself from clouds saturated with water vapor. The flowering season is from March to May. Shortly thereafter, cones of green color appear, which turn brown after a certain time. A found dried cone can serve as a good keepsake.

The canary pine is very resistant to drought and fire, which has attracted considerable interest in this species. No, it burns well if it is a felled and dried out tree. But if it is alive and did not burn to the ground in a fire, it recovers within a short time, as it did after the fires. One of them occurred in 2012. It is very hardy to poor and dry types of soil, in a normal environment it sometimes grows on almost vertical surfaces of stones. However, it cannot tolerate overwatered and calcareous soil. Although its habitat ranges from 700 to 2,000 meters above sea level, it does not tolerate very low temperatures. Trees get most of their water from fog or clouds, the rest from condensation due to temperature differences during the day. So how does it get its water from the clouds? Seasonal trade winds passing under the influence of strong winds, together with the cloudy masses pass through the long and fluffy needles of pine trees. Filtering through the needle dense mesh, condensation forms on them and with their large accumulation falls on the soil, wetting it, giving a little nutrition to the roots. Only with the help of conifers and deciduous trees, the island gets most of its fresh water.

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Caldera: If you go to Teide volcano, you will soon find yourself passing a forest of canary pines in a large crater, i.e. caldera (caldera is a vast cirque-shaped basin of volcanic origin). It was formed about 150,000 years ago, due to depression of the terrain, collapse of the crater walls, or as a result of a catastrophic eruption. The caldera has an area from west to east of 16 km and from south to north of 9 km (see photo below).

At the moment of the eruption, a strong detonation was heard in the nearby villages of Guia and Chio and Mount Chaorra, adjacent to Teide, was observed ejecting flames and volcanic matter. These eruptions continued, accompanied by a noise that sowed fear throughout the island. After a while, another crater, slightly higher up, opened, thereby weakening the effect of the first, which emitted similar streams of lava. Close to these two eruptions, a third fissure opened, explosions which followed with greater intensity. Eventually, a fourth fissure avoided the swirls of smoke and red-hot rocks.

The “Zapatilla de la Reina” ( 28.210625, -16.656084, ) is a curious rock formation in the shape of a woman’s slipper. Such an interesting structure is a result of erosion and climatic phenomena.

Llano de Ucanca Plain ( 28.211328, -16.635066, ) is an attractive view from all sides. Very rarely, after the melting of ice or abundant snowfall, a lake is formed in the plain. Also from here you can clearly see the rocks – “Roques de Garcia”, where they form a resemblance to the Cathedral of the basalt structures rising 144 meters high. It is here that you get beautiful pictures of the volcano Teide.

Los Azulejos ( 28.218746, -16.627918, ) is a greenish mountain massif composed of phonoliths created by hydrothermal processes.

Sinchado Rock ( 28.224711, -16.631805, ) was formed by successive layers of volcanic material from different periods. The “Sinchado” image appeared on used banknotes in Spain, with a denomination of 1,000 pesetas.

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1000 Pesetas

Moving inland from the track at Roques de García, you will find an observation point that offers a vast view of the Ucanca Plain, where there is frozen lava that once poured over the entire valley.

Tabonal Negro ( 28.257705, -16.610720, ) – beautiful photographs of the Wildpret’s bruise in full bloom, the Chinoque valley and lava flows frozen from the Montaña Blanca mountain formerly known as Tabonal Negro.

Minas de San José ( 28.265742, -16.588366, ) is a large pumice covered area with extraordinary extraterrestrial scenery in yellow tones. It was formed after the eruption of lava structures known as – porous volcanic glass (pumice). Formed by the release of gases during the rapid solidification of acidic and intermediate lavas, the color depends on the content and valence of iron.

During the eruption, the pumice was lifted by the escaping gases into the upper atmosphere, where it was further blown by strong winds over large areas of Teide National Park, creating landscapes that on the lips of travelers sound like Martian or lunar.

The Exomars program tested its robotic mechanisms here, and in 2009 the films “Battle of the Titans” together with the second saga “Wrath of the Titans” were filmed here.

Mount Limón ( 28.313627, -16.501170, ) is a beautiful place with beautiful views of Vulcan Teide on its northern part. The views are especially beautiful in the wintertime, when its southern part has been iced or snowed off after the winter period, while the northern part still has large layers of white, cold planking. At this point, you’ll see a lot of colors and climate diversity in one place, such as: sun, snow, clouds, green canary pine and flowering plants. Below, if there are no thick clouds, you can see the La Orotava Valley, formed by gravitational pulls (landslides) and of course the town of Puerto de La Cruz, where the island’s tourism originated.

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La Tarta ( 28.334330, -16.490258, ) – During the construction of the road, some of the rock was sheared off. Human intervention created a depression that was blown by the winds over time, creating undulating curves of layered volcanic rock in a cake-like shape. Such an unusual multicolored lava cake, where each color represents an era of eruptions, each time layered with different variations in the composition of the rocks. This is a clear example of the chronology of the creation of the central part of the island of Tenerife, thus confirming that Teide is a true stratovolcano.

La Crucita ( 28.345189, -16.481689, ) is a natural terrace where you can admire spectacular views: to the crown of pine trees, to the consequences of the eruption of the volcano “Arafo” in 1705, to the valley of Guimar and, on a sunny day, to the island of Gran Canaria. On hot sunny days, the place is distinctly filled with the scent of the pine forest and its needles.

Chipeque ( 28.373947, -16.463932, ) is one of the best viewpoints from which you can see depending on the weather: thick clouds frozen in one place, vast green forests, astronomical observatory with the stunning volcano Teide.

And below lay the vast expanses of La Orotava Valley, magical views unique to this amazing place, along with the town of Puerto de La Cruz, sometimes hiding under the clouds. Also in the distance do not miss to see on good clear days two dark hills, thus drawing you a single, unified island of La Palma, which is about 140 km away. There are lizards waiting on the edges of the rocks here, peering into your eyes hoping to eat something tasty and giving you a chance to take a picture of them.

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