La Palma is the youngest of the Canary Islands and, like all the other island of the archipelago it was formed by volcanic eruptions. The island's altitude difference related to its surface is partly enormous and the largest on earth. The Caldera de Taburiente in the north of the island originated from the collapse and abrasion of a lava dome which soared above the ocean in prehistoric time.
In the south of the caldera, a range of hills stretches from the north to the south of the island. It divides La Palma into two parts, the Cumbre Nueva and the Cumbre Vieja, the latter one is geologically seen younger. There is still active volcanism in the southern part of La Palma. The last volcanic eruption was in 1971 in the region of Los Canarios near Fuencaliente. It formed the volcano Teneguía, which is still under scientific observation because it has not gone out yet. In the south, the Cumbre Vieja stretches out below sea level; here one can still find active volcanoes. In the 1990's an investigation was conducted. It states that inside the Cumbre, there is a porous volcanic rock which is moistened by water. In the case that the volcano ever erupts again the western flank will slip and fall into the water. In this scenario, a great sea wave will cross the Atlantic Ocean with 700 km/h and a Tsunami will hit the coast of America with a height of 25 metres.
Some British geologists published this scenario TV, but it is scientifically proven that if it occurs it will only be in about 10 million years.
The range of hills which has a height of up to 2000 metres divides the island into two zones of different meteorological conditions. The trade winds accumulate on the north-east peaks, so the island's lee side in the south-west is mostly drier and cloudless. Influenced by the trade winds, La Palma's typical changing weather conditions occur and generate different vegetation zones. As a result, you can come across a big variation of vegetation on La Palma which usually can only be found spread over a multitude of vegetation zones.
There are a lot of indigenous plants that only grow on this island. Furthermore, there are plants which formerly existed in other regions but now La Palma is the only place where they have not become extinct. Declared as an UNESCO biosphere reservation, a Palma's unique climate conditions and its isolated position have made La Palma's flora special. Thus, its declaration as world biosphere reserve has one the island justice.
Also its wildlife sees rare animals, especially the night-active geckoes, the Grajas (a special subspecies of the red-billed chough) and the Skolopender, a type of millipedes. At the beaches jellyfish and sea urchins sometimes show up, in this case the beach will be marked by coloured flags. A rare butterfly called the Long-tailed Blue can be found upon the peaks of the Taburiente. This Pea Blue is usually well known in the south of Europe and in almost the whole palaeotropical region. The Pieris cheiranthi, the Canary Red Admiral, the Canary Speckled Wood and the Grayling are endemic species as well.