Tenerife Volcano Fears
April 24, 2009 Leave a comment
An online edition of the Sun newspaper ran a brief story yesterday putting fear in the minds of tourist visiting Tenerife; “BRITS off to Tenerife are being warned of the danger of a massive volcano eruption”.
The report follows a controversial statement from a scientist expressing concern about the Island’s vulnerability to a volcanic eruption. There are claims that the Island does not have an evacuation plan.
The President of Tenerife recently called a press conference after a scientist from the CSIC Higher Council for Scientific Investigation had spoken of concerns about the Island’s vulnerability to a volcanic eruption. There had been some controversy because another scientist from the same organisation has said there is no risk.
The President said that the difference of opinions reinforced the need for a Volcanic Institute on the Canary Islands. During the press conference the President admitted that there could be a volcanic eruption during the next 50 years, he said that is to be expected on a volcanic island.
The last eruption in Tenerife on Mount Teide was El Chinero in 1909 and statistically, eruptions have occurred around every hundred years. The statistical time line would suggest an eruption is due around now but there is no immediate evidence to support the statement made by the Sun newspaper.
Furthermore, previous eruptions during the past 500 hundred years have been insignificant and without any serious level of casualty. The Sun newspaper uses the term “massive volcano eruption” which is hardly likely based on past history.
It is true that around 1.5 million tourists visit the Island every year, not all of them British though, as the Sun suggests. With regard to the claim that the Island does not have an evacuation plan, the numbers of visiting tourists annually is around equal to the population, but they they are not all here at one time. If everyone came for a two week visit there would be less than 60,000 visitors at one time. It is therefore difficult to see how the number of tourists would complicate an evacuation.
Normally volcanic activity is not without some warning and the topography of the Island, together with lava flow prediction would afford sufficient shelter for an evacuation to be planned. Seismic activity on the Island is constantly monitored and that would probably provide some early warning.
This is only my opinion as a Tenerife Estate Agent but I personally think the risk to tourists and residents is minimal and the Sun newspaper would be better off reporting the many reasons why tourists should visit this beautiful Island, volcano watching?