PITON DEL TEIDE, CANARY ISLANDS (continued)
A quick jog from the summit of Piton del Teide brings the summit of the satellite cone called
Pico Viejo into view (top of image). In the saddle between the main cones, there are a
number of viscous domes and thick lava flows such as the one seen here.
Pico Viejo last erupted in 1798, when the lava flows that we see here were erupted on the
south-western flank. Off to the top right of the image, we can see the summit of Piton del
Many of the lava flows from Piton del Teide are very viscous, so that the flanks of the
volcano are very steep. When a fresh lava flow is moving down these steep slopes, it is
quite common for parts of the flow to break off, and roll down hill. As this lava moves, it
picks up additional material in a similar manner to a snowball moving downslope. This
onion-skin structure can be seen if the lava balls break open after they come to rest on
more gentle slopes.
Very large explosive eruptions have been a feature of the prehistoric activity of Piton del
Teide. At numerous road cuts around the volcano, one finds thick pumice layers
(white in this image) interbedded with more locally-derived dark basaltic ash.
The most recent eruption outside the caldera took place in 1704, when this cinder
cone was formed. A large basalt flow was also produced, and many interesting
structures are associated with this flow, including a very large lava channel.
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