Azores, the seduction of the atlantic islands

The archipelago of the Azores is located in the North Atlantic Ocean, in the biogeographic region of Macaronesia (it also includes Madeira, the Canaries and Cape Verde), is formed by nine islands and 42 islets of volcanic origin, which emerge in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, between the parallels 36 ° 55′-39 ° 43 ‘north latitude and the meridians 24 ° 45′-31 ° 17’ west longitude.

The Azores occupy about 2350 km2 of surface, distancing approximately 3900 km from North America and 1500 km from continental Europe (ca. 4.5 hours by plane from New York and two hours from Lisbon). It is divided in three groups of islands, arranged according to a WNW-ESE alignment with an extension of approximately 600 km: western group (Flores and Corvo islands), central group (islands of Faial, Pico, São Jorge, Graciosa and Terceira) and eastern group (islands of São Miguel and Santa Maria).

A altitude média dos Açores é baixa, situando-se cerca de 50% da sua superfície abaixo dos 300 m e apenas 5% acima dos 800 m. A Graciosa é a ilha mais baixa e a do Pico a mais alta, atingindo o máximo 402 m e 2351 m de altitude, respetivamente. Os pontos mais altos das ilhas do Faial, Terceira, São Jorge e São Miguel, medeiam os 900 m de altitude.

The Azores are located in the so-called “Triple Junction of the Azores”, contact zone of the Eurasian, North American and African tectonic plates. The geological age varies from island to island, according to the authors, with Santa Maria being the oldest (≃ 8.2 million years old, the only Atlantic island with fossil deposits of the Miocene), and the youngest Pico (≃ 300 thousand years ). There are about 27 major volcanic systems in the archipelago, of which 16 are considered active but currently dormant.