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Updated: Mar 4

La Palma's Cumbre Vieja volcano eruption of 2021


The eruption of Tajogaite occurred in the end of 2021. It is a fissure-fed monogenetic—a volcanic vent which is active only once—cinder (scoria) cone, characterized by Strombolian activity with lava-fountaining episodes (paroxysms) as well as phreatomagmatic pulses, with one large final explosion of Vulcanian type. It is located on the Canary Island of La Palma, Spain, at the northwestern end of the subaerial section of the Cumbre Vieja volcanic ridge, of which it is just one of many vents. The eruption took place in a forested area called Hoya de Tajogaite, which is located in Cabezavaca (a.k.a. Cabeza de Vaca "cow head"), and belongs to the section of Las Manchas of El Paso municipality.

The eruption of Tajogaite has surpassed all previous subhistorical and historical eruptions on La Palma in terms of quantity of expelled materials, duration, and intensity: It expelled 215×10⁶ m³ of volcanic material (almost as much as all the previous other 6 historical eruptions of La Palma combined); covered an area of 1,237.3 ha with lava fields, lasted for a total of 85 days and 8 hours; attained a volcanic explosivity index (VEI) of 3; and produced 9,090 earthquakes.

Subhistorical eruptions on La Palma are represented by a single event:

Historical eruptions on La Palma occurred as follows:

  • Tehuya, Tahuya, Tihuya, Roques de Jedey or Los Campanarios: VEI 2, 1585, 24×10⁶ m³, 400 ha, 84 days.

  • San Martín, Tigalate or Tagalate: VEI 2, 1646, 26×10⁶ m³, 610 ha, 82 days.

  • San Antonio: VEI 2, 1677-78, 66×10⁶ m³, 446 ha, 66 days.

  • El Charco or Montaña Lajiones: VEI 2, 1712, 41×10⁶ m³, 535 ha, 56 days.

  • San Juan (western vent of Llano del Banco and eastern craters of Nambroque, Hoyo Negro and Duraznerothe latter two jointly known as Las Deseadas): VEI 2, 1949, 51×10⁶ m³, 392 ha, 47 days.

  • Teneguía: VEI 2, 1971, 31×10⁶ m³, 317 ha, 24 days.

  • Tajogaite: VEI 3, 2021, 215×10⁶ m³, 1,237.3 ha, 85 days and 8 hours (Sept. 19 14:11 UTC—Dec. 13 22:21 UTC).

tajogaite cabeza de vaca cabezavaca montaña rajada cumbre vieja la palma erupciones históricas historical eruptions eruption volcano
Subhistorical and historical eruptions on La Palma.

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