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Cabeço Gordo Caldera on Faial Island, in the Azores

38.5N 28.6W

March 5th, 2010 Category: Volcanoes

Azores Islands - February 19th, 2010

Azores Islands - February 19th, 2010

Faial Island is a Portuguese island of the Central Group (Grupo Central) of the Azores (Açores). The nearest island is Pico Island to the east (visible upon opening the full version of this orthorectified image).

Along with other islands in the Azores archipelago, Faial is of volcanic origin and is close to the tectonic divide between the European and American Plates. Indeed, the island can be considered (from a geophysical perspective) the westernmost point of Europe (the two islands west of Faial, Flores and Corvo, are already on the American plate).

It is an irregular pentagonal-shaped island that occupies an area of approximately 173 km² along a leaky transform fault from the mid-Atlantic Ridge to Hirondella fault. This is the same fault that bisects the remainder of the Central Group islands along a west-northwest to east-southeast orientation.

It is an island composed of a central stratovolcano crater, with relatively geological relief showing little signs of major erosion. The highest point occurs along the southern rim, at the peak of Cabeço Gordo (1,043 m above sea level). The caldera is almost circular, 2000 m perimeter, with a 400 m depth below the summit of Cabeço Gordo (almost 570 m above sea level).

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