Wednesday, 18 January 2017

An Earthquake and a Rock Fall en Route to the Rugged Teide Volcano, Tenerife

Deep in the heart of the Teide volcano in the north of beautiful Tenerife, on the 6 January, there was a tremor, or a small earthquake. This destabilised rock formations on the sides of the tourist route up to the cable cars which access the volcano.

We had booked our visit a week later, on Friday the 13th January. Yes, really! What were we thinking?

As our coach approached the level of the cable cars, we slid to a halt behind two saloon cars. We saw that the road ahead was blocked by huge fallen boulders. Like the other passengers, my friend and I climbed out of the coach to investigate and also to grab a great photo-opportunity.

The tour guide told us about the earthquake that had happened a week previously, and explained it would take at least 30 minutes for a bulldozer to get to us.

We got close enough to see a severe crack in a rock that jutted over the road, although later, when the removal gang arrived, we were banned from getting too close.

I couldn't help wondering how close the two cars in front of us had come to being crushed beneath the deluge of rocks - how close we ourselves might have come to being squashed to a sorry pulp! Were we minutes away, or an hour away? We didn't know, but, as they say, a miss is as good as a mile. We knew, certainly, that there had been vehicles ahead of us so I think we all had a lucky escape.

In due course when the workmen came with the bulldozer, the clearing operation began. Once we knew we'd be okay, it was exciting, watching the rocks being scooped up and slung over the side of the volcano. I wondered if we would  be allowed to proceed to the cable cars. Fortunately, we were allowed to continue with our plans.

I will post again describing that part of our day, when I became, not a mountaineer, but a volcaneer.

As we prepared to continue our journey, I held my breath as our coach moved under the enormous cracked boulder on its way to the cable cars. I think everyone on that bus must have breathed a sigh of relief.

Perhaps, later, the rock formation might be made safe through a controlled explosion or some other method of preventing the boulders from falling. I certainly hope so.


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