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VolcanoStories Gr&Y

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.

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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.

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

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Our most recent projects

NEW: La Palma Reconstruction Update

La Palma Reconstruction – May 2024

No more in hotels – The last of the affected residents being housed in hotels following the eruption have left. Lava Bombs 2 Showing on La Palma - The documentary Lava Bombs 2, co-produced by GeoTenerife, was shown in the Multicines Milennium Cinema in Los Llanos de Aridane. Reconstruction law approved – The Reconstruction Law for post-eruption recovery of the island has been approved by the Parliament of the Canary Islands.

Urgent events: Coverage and analysis of the protests across the islands

Tens of thousands of Canarian residents protested on the 20th of April to make their concerns heard. The Canary Islands have seen a steep rise in the number of visitors post-pandemic. Over 14 million foreign tourists visited in 2023, more than the total of two much larger territories Brazil (6m) and Australia (7m). That’s a 24% rise in pre-Covid figures. Locals want a new tourism model implemented that incorporates their concerns and protects their biodiverse paradise in the Atlantic. GeoTenerife compiles news resources and social media on this developing story.

Some 4.2 million passengers arrived at the Canary Islands airports in April”

New: Opinion Piece published on VolcanoStories

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. Available en Español and in English.

Plunder for profit

Canarians are taking to the streets on 20 April to protest against a model of tourism that impoverishes them and their islands. This is not a “War on Tourism” - the Canary Islands cannot survive without tourism and they have been warmly welcoming tourists for decades and will continue to do so. But with most of the multi-billion euro profits being drained right off the islands and a third of the local population in danger of poverty and social exclusion despite record-breaking visitor numbers, it’s time for a rethink. Being a “sustainable” tourist destination requires more than a shiny logo. We’ve been working on our Sustainable Tourism research project with local experts and institutions for the last two years to uncover how we

NEW: The Cuna del Alma 'Eco-resort' and the threat it poses to El Puertito

Cuna del Alma is the proposed ‘eco-resort’ promoting ‘sustainable tourism’ to be developed in the Puertito de Adeje area, Tenerife. This small coastal area is one of the few currently untouched natural spaces found in the south of the island. We have worked with local, national, and international experts and institutions to analyse the impacts of the proposed resort.

Our multimedia analysis project includes the following:

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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. Available en Español and in English. 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:

Plunder for profit

Canarians are taking to the streets on 20 April to protest against a model of tourism that impoverishes them and their islands. This is not a “War on Tourism” - the Canary Islands cannot survive without tourism and they have been warmly welcoming tourists for decades and will continue to do so.

A TIME TO LISTEN: If residents are shouting, it’s because they don’t feel heard

Local activists are organising large-scale demonstrations across the Canary Islands on April 20th, to make their concerns heard over the impact of a rampant increase in tourism numbers and large-scale resorts planned in the islands. While the Canary Islands depend heavily on tourism for their income

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

Lava Bombs: The Reconstruction dives into what happens after the most destructive eruption in an island’s history ends. The eruption of the Tajogaite volcano hit international headlines in 2021, but LavaBombs Part 2 reveals the struggle to recover on this small island in the middle of the Atlantic. Through dramatic footage and intimate testimony from politicians, scientists, residents and activists this new documentary digs deep behind the headlines to unpick the successes and failures of the following two years post-eruption.

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.

Coverage and analysis of the protests across the islands

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

Outreach

Interviews

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.

Conferences

We co-organise the annual VulcanaSymposium with the IEO and also attend other 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.

Collaborations

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

Contribute

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