Thursday, August 4, 2011

Above the clouds of El Teide

The third largest volcano on earth (according to some sources, but not to others - it depends on how you go about measuring volcanoes) is found off West Africa, on Tenerife.

To see the majestic peak of this volcano, El Teide, one must traverse a height of about two kilometres of pine forest, dominated by the endemic Canarian pine Pinus canariensis C.Sm. This pine has developed an extraordinary way of utilizing the water available in the mist enveloping these forests - its leaves are tall and thin, allowing condensation of water droplets on their large surface area. This water trickles down, dropping into the soil and providing roots with much-needed hydration.

Pinus canariensis C.Sm., 2.5km up east El Teide

In some places, violent storms some years back have ripped the trees down, the trunks of which together with the flowing clouds produce an eerie atmosphere reminiscent of any horror film worth its salt:

wind-battered pine forest, c. 2km up east El Teide

After the ascent of about another kilometre one can see the forest spread below and a wide swathe of cloud enveloping it:

About 3km up El Teide, the volcano in the background
Coming up next: some local flora.

1 comment:

  1. A very beautyful picture of Teide!
    I have been there, and the north of the island was so beautyful! Our hotel was in the north. (Many years ago now.)
    Take care! Catharina


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