Fayal, Azores

Location: 38.6N, 28.7W
Elevation: 3,421 feet (1,043 m)

This Space Shuttle image shows the islands of Fayal (left) and Pico (right). Fayal (about 20 km long) is a single basaltic stratovolcano, also called Fayal. There have been two historic eruptions. A six month Strombolian eruption in 1672 produced lava flows and small cones on the western part of the island. In 1957, a Vulcanian eruption began just off the western shore of Fayal, shooting jets of cinder and water 3,000 feet (1,000 m) above sea level. The eruption formed an island of cinder. By May of 1958 the eruption became less intense and a spatter cone formed on the cinder cone. Erupted cinders and lava flows connected the new volcanic island to Fayal, making it nearly a kilometer longer. The 1957 eruption is named Capelinhos. A National Geographic article wonderfully documents the eruption and the problems faced by villagers as ash covered their cornfields and homes.

The 2 km wide summit caldera was formed by the eruption of trachytic pumice. The eruption date is unknown but probably was sometime during the last few thousand years.

Fayal is also spelled Faial.

Chuck Wood

Sources of Information:

Neumann van Padang, M., Richards, A.F., Machado, F., Bravo, T., Baker, E., Le Maitre, W., 1967, Part XXI, Atlantic Ocean: Catalogue of the active volcanoes of the world, International Association of Volcanology, Rome, Italy, 128 p.

Scarth, A., 1994, Capelinhos, 29 September 1957 in Volcanoes, p. 106-110. Texas A& M Univ. Press.

Scofield, J., 1958, A new volcano bursts from the Atlantic. National Geographic, vol. 113, p. 735-757 (June, 1958).

Simkin, T., and Siebert, L., 1994, Volcanoes of the World: Geoscience Press, Tucson, Arizona, 349 p.

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