The Azores... in the shadow of the volcano

Tuesday August 24, 2010

The name may be most familiar from regular mentions on the weather forecast, but the beautiful and remote Portuguese archipelago of the Azores should, perhaps, be best known for its volcanoes. The nine small islands offer a paradise for nature lovers who can hike among the craters, visit the lava beaches, and maybe even spot a whale or two off shore.

Roughly halfway between Europe and America, the nine small islands that make up the Azores have emerged from the waters of the Atlantic as a result of volcanic eruptions over the centuries. The last activity, which took place in Faial in the Fifties, lasted for over a year and dramatically changed the landscape of the island. When it cooled, the lava spat out by the Capelinhos volcano had left the island a couple of kilometres longer, the old lighthouse was half buried, and hundreds of farmers had no choice but to emigrate after their crops were totally ruined.

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