Just back from the delightful island of Lanzarote (I am the tiny speck at the top of the volcanic crater.) This caldera is quite green, but much of the island is covered in jagged, barren solidified lava.
It was produced by six years of volcanic eruptions from 1730 to 1736. Nowadays the volcanoes are classified as dormant, but at Timanfaya National Park enough heat rises from the ground to start a fire, boil water, or cook chicken.
A priest who saw the eruptions begin in 1730 described the scene: ‘an enormous mountain emerged from the ground with flames coming from its summit. It continued burning for 19 days.’ Fortunately no one was killed, but a number of villages were buried as much of the most fertile part of the island was covered in lava, while dead fish were washed up on the beaches.
The eruptions created over 100 new volcanoes, and there were further but smaller eruptions in 1824.
(Picture by Anne Clements http://www.anneclements.com)