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Thursday, July 10, 2008

Where does los gigantes get its name?

Los Gigantes Cliffs

To answer this reader's question, the town gets its name, Los Gigantes, which means The Giants, from these, the Acantilados de los Gigantes - the giant cliffs - which plunge into the sea from the Teno Mountains. These basaltic rock formations, characterized by their sheer vertical walls, oscillate between 300 and over 600 meters in height. The Teno area is an ancient volcanic mass, one of the oldest parts of the island, geologically, which the processes of erosion have modelled to its current landscape, forming these giant cliffs on the coast. In the time of the guanches, the cliffs were known as the Wall of Hell and, you can imagine why, when their dark volcanic lava makes it practically impossible to penetrate into the interior of the island, with only some gorges opening to the sea. Also, curiously, these cliffs don't continue below sea level. The depth of the sea here is bearly 30 meters, which makes it difficult  to access.

Here are the same cliffs, seen from Punta Teno (Teno Point) to the north:

Daniel Gaínza (Tenerife) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons