The full name of this little island in the Tenerife province of the Canary Islands is San Miguel De La Palma, but because it is so scenically beautiful it is affectionately known as La Isla Bonita. That's right, the one from the Madonna song.

La Palma has an area of just over 700 square kilometres and a population of around 80,000 people. It juts over 2000 metres out of the sea, and the northern part is dominated by a large volcanic erosion crater called the Caldera de Taburiente. Two ridges, the Cumbre Vieja and Cumbre Nueva, which in effect form two separate volcanoes, run south, dividing the island. The capital is Santa Cruz de La Palma, with a population of 18,000, and the island is of particular interest to astronomers because of the observatory at Roque de los Muchachos, the highest point at 2426 metres.

La Palma hit the news a few months ago because of recent research indicating that the entire western side of the island is in danger of collapsing into the ocean along the line of one of the ridges when the next eruption occurs. This could be in one years time or a hundred years time, but could have devastating consequences. For further information see Cumbre Vieja.

Curious fact: Though Vieja means 'Old' and Nueva means 'New' in Spanish, the Cumbre Nueva is older than the Cumbre Vieja.

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