Discussion around the La Palma volcano: Scientists advocate using 'lavic delta' instead of 'fajana'

Due to terminological confusion arisen as a result of the still active eruption of the volcano in La Palma, scientists advise using the terms “lavic delta” or “low island” to refer to the new land emerged on the coast by the accumulation of materials of volcanic origin. However, reject the term "fajana" as they consider it an archaism and, in addition, refer specifically to sedimentary, non-volcanic deposits.

In a letter signed by Ramón Casillas Ruíz, Professor of Petrology and Geochemistry at the University of La Laguna, Maximiano Trapero Trapero, Professor of Spanish Philology at the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, and Francisco José Pérez Torrado, Professor of Petrology and Geochemistry, also at the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, the scientists recall that "all our islands have grown thanks to materials of volcanic activity.

This process of lava entering the sea, the formation of lava deltas and the growth of the islands is not new, it has been taking place since the first Canary Island, Fuerteventura, was formed more than 20 million years ago. In other words, on all the islands we have geological remains of this type of structure, but where they can best be seen with their original fan shape at the foot of the cliffs is on the youngest islands of the archipelago: El Hierro and La Palma.

Thus, they insist, correct scientific term To name these fan-shaped surfaces at the foot of the cliffs that are due to the accumulation of lava that has gained ground from the sea, it must be "lavic delta", as well recognized in the scientific literature. On the islands of La Palma and El Hierro, as well as on Tenerife, they are often called "low islands" because they form relatively flat, low-lying sea platforms at the foot of much higher cliffs.

The term "fajana" is a true archaism in the insular speeches and, in geological terms, it refers to a sedimentary deposit on a hillside formed by a mixture of sand-sized grains and gravels, also known as colluvium. Therefore, its formation process is sedimentary, not volcanic. In addition, the term "fajana" was always used for these interior formations.

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