The Teide volcano is the most characteristic feature of the landscape.This great mountain which today dominates the whole island and from the summit of which all the islands can be seen, arose about 600,000 years ago after violent eruptions which covered almost the whole island of Tenerife. The landscape which is seen today is quite different from that which existed before the formation of the Teide because lava covered the eroded surface of the island until it turned into the enormous mountain which it is today.
Of that island which arose out of the ocean 7 million years ago and which due to its antiquity should seem more like Gran Canaria or La Gomera – comparatively more eroded- only the highlands of Teno and Anaga remain in the northwest and northeast of the island respectively. These two regions together with others of lesser importance give an idea of what Tenerife was like and the magnitude of the volcanic process. The mixed nature of Tenerife, a product of its particular geological history, give the island an exceptional landscape. The incredible heights and unique volcanic formation of all the centre of the island enhance the sharp relief of Teno and Anaga which, due to their different positions are also of two quite different landscapes: one desert-like, the other wooded. One should consider both the geological and climatic diversity.
The oceanic humidity is prevented from passing to the south of the island by the high mountains of Tenerife so that it remains without rainfall. Both north and south are conditioned in this way by their climate with two different types of vegetation, one leafy in the north with tropical growths, flowers and woodland and the other arid with native plants of great variety.
Visiting Tenerife and travelling over its 2,057 square kilometres is to delight in one of the worlds most unique landscapes where one of the most beautiful volcanoes on earth complements exotic vegetation and stunning views.
Proceeding from the coast to the impressive heights of the Teide climbing above the clouds contemplating the grandeur of Los Gigantes cliffs,exploring the dense Anaga woods of laurisilva, strolling through the pine woods in the centre or just contemplating the beauty of the Orotava valley are singular experiences which need no more effort than to travel a little way.
How the Teide was formed
The Teide volcanic cone is about 600,000 years old. Its origin may be found in a cycle of eruptions that covered two thirds of the island causing a volcanic formation which reached a height of 5,000 metres.
Later this formation caved in on itself forming what is today the volcanic depression of Las Cañadas crater A crack in the north border of the crater gave way to continuous emissions of lava. Like the rest of the great volcanoes of the world (Fujiyama, Etna) the Teide is a strata volcano formed by layers of lava and pyroclasts which accummulate progressively. Although the last eruption occurred in 1798, today features of its activity can still be seen in the sulphurous emissions and in the high temperatures at the peak.