Ways to find a name for a volcano

Ways to find a name for a volcano

Image of the crater of the Cumbre Vieja volcano. / cover

The La Palma volcano has been nameless for six and a half months. The options to name it are many. The clappers will be the ones to decide

Carmen Delia Aranda

The submarine Tagoro volcano, in El Hierro, was five years without a name. In the end, it was the
Hydrographic Institute of the Navy the one who baptized it and registered it in the nautical charts with that name.

The La Palma volcano has been without a denomination for six and a half months. There is no rush to find a name. The priorities are others; offer solutions to those around
2,500 people who lost their homes in a catastrophe that destroyed 1,676 buildings, 73 kilometers of roads and 370 hectares of crops.

In any case, this time
no institution will impose a name on the volcano which erupted on September 19 at the Cumbre Vieja ridge, near the Cabeza de Vaca road, in the municipality of El Paso. In fact, the idea is that it is the local population closest to the volcano that has the last word.

In this way,
the Department of Citizen Participation of the Cabildo de La Palmawithin the Reviver El Valle Community Intervention project,
studies different formulas to open a process in which society proposes possible names and, after a debate, choose it by sounding out the opinion of palmeros and, especially, of the inhabitants of the Aridane Valley.

There are no written rules for naming a volcano but,
As a general rule, it is named after the place where it erupted, a name is chosen from the saints of the day it erupted, from a nearby hermitage or from the nearest town that it destroyed so that it will last in memory.explains the professor of Physical Geography at the University of La Laguna, Carmen Romero.

The only known case of the naming of a volcano in the Canary Islands is that of Teneguía in 1971. There was a controversy surrounding the name because a journalist suggested calling it Teneguía. The usual thing was to put the name of a saint and the saint of that day was not a very nice name. However, Teneguía was a rock near the crater. The name prospered, "says Carmen.

A few weeks after the start of the La Palma eruption, a Canarian capital wanted to follow in the footsteps of the Tenerife newspaper 'La Tarde' with Teneguía and claim the baptism of the Palma volcano, which
unilaterally assigned the name Tajogaite. The scientific journalist of 'El País' Javier Salas denounced it on Twitter and the social networks echoed this attempt to usurp the right of the palmeros to decide what to call the volcano.

Despite the controversy, the name of Tajogaite is one of the most plausible options, according to Carmen Romero. «
It is a Guanche name and refers to an area close to the emitting center», comments the expert in historical volcanism in the Canary Islands. However, she remembers that there are other possibilities such as the name of the exact point where the eruption began,
The plants, or the one on the way
Cow's headclose to the crater. The option that is completely ruled out is
Old Summit, a wide area that covers the southern half of the island, on whose dorsal there are numerous volcanoes, explains Romero. Another unfeasible possibility is
jedey, since, although the volcano arose near this place, there is already another one with this name. The same goes for the names of
Tacande and
Tehuyawhich give their name to two volcanoes dated around 1440 and 1585, respectively, indicates the volcanologist.

Another option is to choose the name of a
nearby population to the volcano so that it lasts in memory. That's what happened with
Timanfaya, which takes its name from a village devastated by lava from the Lanzarote volcano that erupted in September 1730, says Romero. In this context, the name of
Everything, the town buried by a lava flow on September 26. However, the population was not located in the vicinity of the emission center and there is already a mountain that bears its name.

El Paraíso, El Pampillo or Los Campitos are other nuclei devoured by lava.

The alternatives offered
the saints of September 19 are shocking; Jenaro, Acucio, Arnulfo, Ciríaco or Teodoro. Better luck with the calendar ran the palmeros volcanoes
San Juan (1949) and
San Martin (1646), while the
Saint Anthony (1677) took its name from a nearby hermitage, Romero points out.

In any case, the expert points out that, in general,
toponyms are imposed by use and time.

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