Timanfaya is a volcanic zone on Lanzarote in The Canary Islands.Lanzarote like Tenerife owes its landscape entirely to volcanic activity. Unlike Tenerife there is no monumental peak such as Teide but there is the spectacular Timanfaya National Park. Timanfaya National Park is home to Lanzarotes most recent volcanic landscapes. In September 1730 a fissure eruption started which was to last for 6 years and bury 11 villages. 200 sq km of land was covered and the lava poured into the sea along 20km of coastline.
The Geology Bit
Lanzarote like Tenerife owes its landscape entirely to volcanic activity. Unlike Tenerife there is no monumental peak such as Teide but there is the spectacular Timanfaya National Park. The volcanoes started to from 150-180ma years ago when the Atlantic Ocean formed.However their origin is up for discussion. They lie away from an active plate boundary so it is thought that an intermittant supply of lava comes from a hot spot or mantle plume. Extension in the crust may let the magma rise to the surface but supply may cease if extension happening. This may account for the longer periods of inactivity.
What to see and How to see it?
The Montanas del Fuego complex within the National park is where most people head to to experience Timanfaya. You pay an admission fee a the park entrance which covers the guided bus tour.A paved road leads across lava fields to a sloping car park. From here you can take the bus tour with commentary in English, German and Spanish around the volcanic landscape 9.00-5.45 everyday last tour 5pm. You can't drive round yourself or get out and walk about so this is pretty much the only way to see the landscape. Two "hot holes" in the ground near the restaurant show how hot the ground here is by setting fire to branches and erupting steam. The restuarant cooks meat on the naturally hot rocks and provides a fantastic panorama of the park. Off course being Lanzarote it will be windy outside! Taking a walking tour is another good way to explore the island and get deep into the rugged countryside.
Timanfayas visitor centre is on the northern limit of the park on the road to Mancha Blanca . Its pretty good on the geology and volcanoes plus it has sections on wildlife. Toilets here.Lanzarote Links
Global Volcanism project