The nine major islands of the Azores (the Flores, Corvo, Graciosa, Terceira, Sao Jorge, Pico, Faial, Sao Miguel and Santa Maria) extend in a northwest-southwest direction for more than 370 miles (600 km).
The forested islands are volcanic in origin, and are ringed by long, sandy beaches.
The rifting along the Azores Triple Junction (a point where the North American Plate, Eurasian Plate and African Plate intersects) produces much of the islands volcanic and seismic activity.
Since the 15th century there have been 28 volcanic eruptions within the Azores, with the last occurring off the coast of Faial in 1957.
Measuring from their base at the bottom of the ocean to their peaks, the islands are considered to be some of the tallest mountains on the planet.
The highest point is the Pico Volcano, at 7,713 ft. (2,351 m); the lowest is the Atlantic Ocean (0m).
by Alan Copson
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