The people who access the Centre through Jameos del Agua, first of all come across two introductory rooms where they are given information about the location and characteristics of Casa de Los Volcanes.
In the 1st room there are two Jesús Soto murals that portray the unique vision the artist has of transcendental geological events: “The genesis of the atmosphere and life in the evolution of the planet” and “Continents adrift according to the Tectonic Plate Theory”.
In the 2nd room, visitors are reminded that the islands were formed by volcanic materials piling up over the years, mainly underwater. There are also photographs by Ildefonso Aguilar, the genesis and evolution of an island like Lanzarote, and its colonisation by human beings, and finally the settlements and human activity completing the cycle.
Temporary exhibition rooms
Next, there is a wide gallery open on one side to Jameos del Agua with garden areas, and on the other side the coast can be seen through large windows. This is a diaphanous room and at the same time easy to divide when temporary exhibitions take place.
There is a large César Manrique mural presiding the gallery overlooking Jameo del Agua. The large windows overlooking the sea are surrounded by other Jesús Soto murals, “Convection currents generated in the planet” and “The opening and expansion of the oceans”.
The idea of the creators of this Centre is to reduce the information found in books and other type of museums, interpretation centres, and nature rooms, to a minimum, hence the lack of advertising posters explaining volcanic processes, or showing volcanic rocks displaying names and descriptions. However, under the large windows in the temporary exhibition room, there is a selection of Canarian rocks, especially those that cannot be found in Lanzarote.
Through the tunnel to the “hall of mirrors” –created by Jesús Soto- you reach the informational area of the Centre. This aims to send visitors a series of messages and give them a series of impressions in order to help them become familiar with some aspects of volcanism in general, specifically in the Canary Islands, as the islands comprise an active volcanic area where volcanic eruptions will continue to take place, although we should not be alarmed by this.
Volcanoes have always been present, and in fact they were the ones to create the Canary Islands millions of years ago; we are the ones who arrived later and have learnt to live with Canarian volcanoes, and it is we that must accept and understand them.
The volcanology room is presided by a large Soto mural, and there is visual information available regarding the following points:
- Location of historic eruptions in groups, sorted by different eras.
- Possible eruptions in the 21st Century.
- Significant earthquakes. Seismic areas.
- Mid-oceanic dorsal.
- Arches of islands. Pacific Ring of Fire.
- Hot spots and the corresponding arrangement of the islands and underwater volcanoes
- Continental rifts
- Observatories and permanent facilities to watch over the eruptions.
- Natural Areas-Heritage of Humanity.
On a screen next to the mural, you may select the summarised information you wish regarding several topics.
There are other two Jesús Soto murals that draw the attention of visitors to the corresponding interactive screens informing visitors about “Geology in the Canary Islands” and about the “Volcanic risk in the Canary Islands”. In these panels, each island is treated individually, including a brief description of their most important elements, from a global to a specific volcanological perspective, as well as using a volcanic risk analysis for each of them.
The variety of Canarian volcanism allows the screen to show the most outstanding aspects of the islands’ geology, showing the different volcanic structures: basalt platform, craters, stratovolcanoes, fields and volcano arrangements, domo, pitons, etc.
The volcanic risk screen also shows the permanent scientific tools used, or that can be used, in the Canary Islands to watch volcanoes (follow-up of eruptions and detecting phenomena such as volcanic seism, deformations of the land, electromagnetic anomalies, gravity variations, unbalance of the chemical composition of gases and volcanic emanations).
Another part of the room is taken by a cabinet displaying the tools that receive the data obtained by thirty sensors part of the research team (seismograph, gravimeter, clinometer, extensometer, oceanographer, thermometer) installed at the Geodynamics Station in Cueva de Los Verdes.
Visitors can see, for example, a registered seismograph provoked by an earthquake happening anywhere in the planet, or identify others that have taken place shortly before. Visitors can also observe the graphic signal of the oceanic or terrestrial waves and watch any possible existing anomalies. In addition, although communication is not direct, in that cabinet there is information regarding any modification taking place at 610 ºC registered by thermocouple installed 12 m deep in the Timanfaya National Park.
From the back of the temporary exhibition gallery, there is an external corridor that leads to the top floor where there are offices, workshops and other services, such as the library. The top floor has been laid out to hold an environmental theme, by installing some informational panels in different rooms. The common thread in the permanent exhibition in this section of Casa de Los Volcanes is the environmental management on the islands, making special mention to sustainable development. Furthermore, everything related to Reserves of the Biosphere is highlighted, especially its functions and structures in Lanzarote.
Both rooms open up to a panoramic terrace that aims to fully merge the environment with the interpretation of the Centre. The landscape is varied from there, and you can see from the coast to the summit of Famara, and Volcán de La Corona, farming land, coastal towns, ravines, karst formations… the island’s ecosystem overall.
The volcanology room leads to a classroom. There is direct access to the classroom from the outside when there are specific activities on, like courses and conferences.