As a Geoscience education and sustainable tourism company based in the Canary Islands, with a special interest in responsible science communication, we are in a unique position to document and analyse volcanic activity, readiness,  reconstruction, and sustainable tourism practices. The VolcanoStories project by GeoTenerife is a multi-media project which aims to increase the awareness and understanding of volcanic preparedness, sustainable tourism, and geological research. To fulfil these aims we work with leading local, regional, and national institutions via our unique training programmes GeoIntern, VolcanoCamp, and MarineSciCamp, with students and scholars from around the globe. Our alumni work with us year-round to advance our research projects.

We aim to increase awareness and understanding of the impacts of the 2021 volcanic eruption and reconstruction in La Palma.

Screenshot 2023-12-08 at 14.33.12

We aim to increase awareness and understanding of the impacts of the mass tourism model in the Canary Islands on residents, the environment, and economic stability.

IMG_7614 (1)

We aim to increase the awareness and understanding of volcanic risk, emergency plans, communication, and preparedness in the Canary Islands.


Our most recent work

La Palma November 2023 Reconstruction Update 

1,296 farmers forced to return €3.5 million of mismanaged aid: €3.5 million in aid for loss of income to farmers is going to be returned because it is understood that mismanagement by the previous institution of the funds led to many some receiving more aid than they were shown to have lost. This is because these payments had been made based on estimates of damage, rather than definitive data that were available later.
The government has presented the territorial and urban planning decree: This decree, which has been worked on since the eruption ended, has been presented to the affected platforms and neighbourhood associations. This decree will also be followed by a new agricultural decree, and two more decrees on housing and economic development, which will provide the legal framework for reconstruction of the island going forward.
Puerto Naos and La Bombilla: Another company has been hired to investigate the origin and situation of the gases, and the island President is hoping to fix a date to move forward.

See more of the November 2023 update here. See other reconstruction updates here.

La Palma Cabildo hires another company to help advance bringing residents home to Puerto Naos. El Time, November 15th, 2023.
La Palma Cabildo hires another company to help advance bringing residents home to Puerto Naos. El Time, November 15th, 2023.

IFTenerife was the most devastating fire in the Canary Islands in the last 40 years and the most severe in Spain in 2023. The fire affected nearly 15,000 hectares, burning 7% of the surface of Tenerife, and causing 80.4 million euros of damage. However, as the fire has been burning underground reactivations of the fire will occur. During these reactivations of the forest fire we collect and publish live updates from many different news sources here:

Cuna del Alma ‘Eco-resort’ analysis

Cuna del Alma is a proposed luxury hotel resort located on the beach of La Caleta, near Cuna del Alma. In 2022 the resort project was postponed due to several protected species and archeological engravings being found on the site and a legal battle in the European Parliament due to the project’s potential violations of European environmental laws and regulations.

Thus, we believe it is important that the fauna, flora, historical and geological importance of the area be studied to aid conservation efforts in Tenerife. Our multimedia analysis project includes the following:

  • 3D Model of the proposed site
  • Vegetation and geology of the La Caleta site of scientific interest
  • The marine habitat of Puertito de Adeje
  • GeoIntern report on the area
GeoTenerife (2023) marine habitat of El Puerito, the site of the proposed Cuna del Alma resort

Published articles and Opinion pieces

We aim to use our project to publish short-form articles, which are easy to read, and relevant to residents, especially La Palma’s reconstruction, volcanic readiness, and tourism practices in the Canary Islands. These articles are the opinions of our collaborating experts and staff but are referenced to scientific articles and news articles for you to find out more about the topics if you wish. Click on the title you would like to read to access the free academic paper:

Screenshot 2023-12-04 at 10.28.08

The communication and information process during the La Palma eruption errors, successes, learnings and proposals for improvement

Víctor M. Melo López [1] ; José M. Marrero [1] ; Sharon Backhouse [2] ; Ben Ireland [2]                                [1] Canary Islands Volcanoes Association  [2] GeoTenerife, Published in Cosmologica Number 3, 2023.

After nearly fifty years without showing obvious signs of volcanic activity on the surface, in 2021 there was a new eruption in the area known as Cabeza de Vaca in La Palma (Canary Islands, Spain). The eruption lasted eighty-five days and caused numerous losses due to the extensive area affected by the continuous lava flows and the fall of pyroclasts. The eruption received extensive coverage in the regional, national and global media for weeks after it began, and became one of the most well-recorded eruptions in recent years. Researchers from GeoTenerife and VolcansCanarias analysed the communication work during the eruption of La Palma 2021. Accessible here.

Improving resident volcanic risk perception and preparedness following the 2021 Cumbre Vieja eruption

Written by Rosie Rice, PhD Candidate at Cambridge University and  VolcanoStories Collaborator

Volcanoes have both fascinated us as a species and facilitated our development for millennia; owing to the many benefits of living on volcanic lands, such as fertile soils, building materials, and tourism many communities have chosen to make their home on the flanks of active volcanoes across the world (Brown et al., 2015). However, despite all that they offer us, volcanoes can take everything away, and change our lives in an instant. For those living on volcanic lands, it is crucial to understand the risks associated with living close to a volcano. How individuals think about understanding that risk is called Risk Perception. Read more here.

Lava Bombs: Truths Behind The Volcano

Lava Bombs: Truths Behind The Volcano captures the explosive stories behind the crisis and response to the 2021 Volcán de Tajogaite eruption in Cumbre Vieja on La Palma in the Canary Islands. Lava Bombs reveals the heavy impact of this major disaster, through the voices of the affected people, emergency managers, politicians and scientists, as well as showcasing spectacular imagery captured by witnesses, news crews and drone pilots. Themes of communication, trust and missteps are analysed as we start to look towards lessons learned for future emergencies of all kinds

Winner of the Madrid 2023 Film Festival “Best Cinematography in a documentary” • Release date: 19 September 2022 • See more: www.lavabombsfilm.com

LavaBombs 2 Coming soon!

Urgent Events in the Canary Islands

We aim to collect and publish updates, from trustworthy news sources, regarding urgent events in the Canary Islands, so that residents and tourists alike can use this hub of information during an emergency and act as a record of events after the event has ended.

Tenerife’s 2023 wildfire was the most devastating fire in the Canary Islands in the last 40 years and the most severe in Spain in 2023; The fire affected nearly 15,000 hectares, burning 7% of the surface of Tenerife, and causing 80.4 million euros of damage. The forest fire has caused approximately 12 million euros of damage to the agricultural sector, including 2,500-3,500 hives that were destroyed. In addition, it caused more than 12,000 people to have to be evacuated throughout the course of the fire, 364 farms and 246 buildings were affected. Up to 60 protected species may have been impacted by the forest fire, but the true impact on these species is not yet known.

The volcanic eruption on La Palma was preceded by a seismic swarm starting on September 11th, and by September 19th the volcano, later named Tajogaite, started erupting. Over the following weeks and months, the lava flows continued to advance, encroaching over 900 hectares of land and destroying more than 1,000 buildings. The eruption was accompanied by earthquakes with magnitudes up to 5.1 mbLg, occasionally felt across multiple Canary Islands. 

Our Day-by-Day Eruption Updates from September 11th 2021 – December 25th 2021 includes:

  • Maps of lava flows, earthquakes, and exclusion zones each day
  • Summary of geological data released by IGN
  • Twitter posts made by official Canarian civil service accounts and scientists

Coming soon: La Palma Forest Fire Resources

Following temperatures of 40 degrees Celsius during July 2023, at least 2,000 people across Puntagorda and the neighbouring municipality Tijarafe were evacuated as a forest fire burned in El Pinar de Puntagorda, La Palma. As a result of the fire 12 homes and 4,500 hectares of land were burned.



We are often interviewed by local, national, and international news sources for information about volcanic activity, forest fires, and more in the Canary Islands. We are happy to share our knowledge with as many people as possible.

Resident focus

Alongside our resident-focused science, we run the campaigns FFP2 and SamuLaPalma to support those affected by the La Palma 2021 eruption. Furthermore, we make school visits to encourage volcano science in younger Canarian Residents, and also make our internship programmes accessible to students who live in the Canary Islands to ensure our projects benefit the residents of the Canary Islands.


We attend volcanological conferences, VMSG, IAVCEI, and COV12, to discuss our projects and their results with experts in the field of volcano science, in particular Q&As for our LavaBombs documentary. Our VolcanoStories Content Co-ordinator was invited to present at the Royal Holloway University Lyell Geology Day regarding the Tajogaite Eruption timeline project.


GeoTenerife is committed to fostering valuable collaborations with local, national, and international research institutions, to both conduct valuable geoscience research in the Canary Islands

We are always looking to welcome new collaborations, so if you or your company/research institution is interested in collaborating with us, please get in touch with us via enquiries@geotenerife.com

Our Collaborators include:

  • IGN, Instituto Geográfico Nacional
  • Dr Catalina Arguello, Social Psychologist, Universidad Internacional de La Rioja
  • Dr Katy Chamberlain, Volcanologist, Liverpool University
  • Dr Pablo Gonzalez, Volcano Geophysicist, Spanish National Research Council

and many more valued collaborators.

Sharon Backhouse

VolcanoStories Director

Natalia Puche

VolcanoStories Content Collaborator

Ben Ireland

VolcanoStories Editor

Rosie Rice

VolcanoStories Science Content Collaborator

Ajay Wynne Jones

VolcanoStories Science Content Co-ordinator

Tamsin Backhouse

VolcanoStories Social Media Manager

If you were involved in or affected by the 2021 La Palma eruption in any way, we would love to hear from you about your experiences and thoughts. If you would like to contribute towards this work, please visit our Contribute page


VolcanoStories content is freely available for students, educational establishments and academics – all we ask is that you cite “GeoTenerife’s VolcanoStories”. 

How to Cite us

GeoTenerife’s VolcanoStories content is not to be used for commercial use. Any media or commercial outlet wanting to use any content herein should contact us in writing in the first instance via enquiries@geotenerife.com. For more detail, refer to our Terms of Use.

Terms of use