What time does the volcano go off ?

“Help, help the sky is falling” so said Chicken Licken in the childrens story. “Volcano fear hits Tenerife” says The Sun, that well known expert on geological affairs, today.Well at least they didn’t refer to Mount Teide as being in Las Americas. And so it begins, another summer of silly stories about the impending eruption of Mount Teide.

Dr Alicia Garcia from the CSIC (Higher Council for Scientific Investigation) has expressed doubts about how Tenerife would cope in the event of a major eruption. Fellow scientist, Juan Carracedo, also from the CSIC, said there was no immediate threat of an eruption.

The Canaries are volcanic islands and there is constant semi volcanic activity, we don’t even notice the hundreds of small tremors that happen every year. Chinyero was the last notable eruption on 18 November 1909, and the feeling that we must be due another is helping to drive the latest scares. We are lucky to have I.T.E.R (the Institute of Technology and Renewable Energy) in Granadilla, as well as the wind turbines, they also have a team of volcanic experts monitoring seismic activity around the islands. They expertise means they are often called to volcanic hot spots around the world to monitor movements.

The last scare season was 6 years ago after a couple of small tremors, I was working for The Western Sun newspaper then and it was hilarious how many people contacted us and the local Canarian press reporting smoke etc coming from Teide. Bar stool experts were in their element, predicting not only the day of an eruption but also the time “a friend of mine told me it’s going to erupt next Tuesday at 3.20 in the afternoon”.

The best false alarm of all was on a clear summer day when the blue sky was interupted by one solitary elongated white cloud that at one point was just above Teide. This caused a major eruption of phone calls to the emergency services about the “plume of smoke” pouring out of the volcano. People felt a bit silly the next day when the TV stations and the daily papers ran photos of the offending cloud in its unfortunate position.

So it’s as you were really, looks like another scorching hot day and not a cloud in sight. Now about those aliens that are due to land in Los Cristianos…