Fuerteventura Geology

Fuerteventura is part of the Canary Islands Archipelago - a group of Volcanic Islands just off the continental shelf of Africa west of Cape Juby. Fuerteventura and the neighbouring island of Lanzarote are the oldest islands in the group.

Present theories suggest the Islands were formed by the combined effects of both a hot-spot moving east to west as the continental plates of South America and Africa continue to diverge and the folding of the Earth's crust by the same process that formed the Atlas mountains in nearby Morocco.

The first submarine stages of the formation of Fuerteventura are estimated by some authors to have been 30 - 35 million years ago, while others suggest that they are much older (70 - 80 Million years).
Most Experts do agree that the first sub-aerial volcanic activity (above the surface of the ocean) took place about 20 million years ago.

Fuerteventura is said to be in it's post erosional or rejuvenation stage where occasional eruptions form lava plains such as the malpaises in the south of the island that interrupt the otherwise heavily eroded volcanic landscape. This post erosional stage contrasts with the youthful western Canary Islands of La Palma and El Hierro which are both still in the Shield Stage.

Apart from the Basalts from the sub-aerial activity, erosion has exposed areas of Basal Complex (that makes up the base of the island) as well as some sedimentary rock which pre-dates the Island at about 100 million years old.

Fuerteventura Geology