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Africa Natural Wonders
Ascension Island
Pico De Fogo
Pico De Teide
Los Roques De Garcia
Lunar Landscape
Los Organos
Arico Gorge
Alegranza
Cabo Girao
Caldeirao Verde
iSimangaliso Wetland Park
 Blyde River Canyon
Augrabies Falls
Kosi Bay
Oribi Gorge
Great Rift Valley
Lake Chad
Drakensburg
Cape Point
Cango Caves
Mount Nimba
Table Mountain
Tswaing Crater

 

 

 

Ascension Island
Ascension Island-North east Bay
Mid-Atlantic Ridge
 
Earth's Natural Wonders in Africa
 
 
Area of Ascension Island: 34 square miles (88 sq km)
Notable feature: green turtles 3 feet (1 m) long
Nearest land (island if St. Helena) 1,200 miles (1,931 km)
 
Ascension Island-North East Bay[1]
   

 

Ascension Island is an isolated island of volcanic origin in the South Atlantic Ocean, around 1,600 kilometres (994 mi) from the coast of Africa, and 2,250 kilometres (1,398 mi) from the coast of South America. It is a dependency of the British overseas territory of Saint Helena, which is 1,287 kilometres (800 mi) to the southeast. The Island is named after the day of its recorded discovery, Ascension Day.

The island is the location of Wideawake Airfield, which is a joint facility of the Royal Air Force and the United States Air Force. The island was used extensively by the British military during the Falklands War. Ascension Island hosts one of five ground antennas (others are on Kwajalein, Diego Garcia, Colorado Springs and Hawaii) that assist in the operation of the Global Positioning System (GPS) navigational system.

Ascension Island does not have its own flag or coat of arms. The Union Flag and Royal coat of arms of the United Kingdom are used instead.[2]


Part of the volcanically active Mid-Atlantic Ridge, Ascension Island is actually a mountain peak that rises 10,000 feet (3,048 meters) from the Atlantic floor.
Ascension Island- Two Sister's Mt from English Bay road
The Mid-Atlantic Ridge is a weakness in the Earth's crust, as the plates of Africa and Europe pull away from the plates of North and South America, molten rock pushes up from below and eventually breaks through the surface of the sea. These rocky outcrops start life as barren islands but with time turn into fertile lands. Ascension island forms one of the volcanic islands that line the Mid-Atlantic Ridge.
Ascension Island- Two Sister's Mt from English Bay road[1]  


Evidence of its violent birth dots the landscape, from pyroclastic deposits, trachyte lava flows and domes, scoria cones, and mafic lava flows.
Despite its barren volcanic landscape, the island is full of life and boasts an abundance of flora and fauna. One of its unusal visitors is the green sea turtle. These docile reptiles usually feed along Brazil's shoreline, but when the time comes to breed they swim out to sea and head for the shores of Ascension island. After traveling for miles across tha Atlantic ocean, the turtles haul themselves onto the beach to deposit their eggs. How they finf their way in the featureless ocean is a mystery, but there is some speculation about why they make the journey.
Ascension Island-PanAm Beach
 
Ascension Island-PanAm Beach[1]




At one time Africa and South America were closer together, but as they separated a string of volcanoes broke the surface across the widening ocean. As the volcano stopped erupting and cooled, the turtles used its beches as nesting sites, safe from mainland predators. Deprived of fresh lava, each volcanic island was eroded by the sea, until it eventually vanished below the ocean. At this point the turtles migrated to the next available island, and gradually the traveling distance became greater. Today they make this epic journey to Ascension Island.

 

Geography

The main island has an area of approximately 91 km2. A volcanic peak rising from just west of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, much of the island is a wasteland of lava flows and cinder cones; no fewer than forty-four distinct craters have been identified.

While the island was barren with few plants as recently as 1843, Ascension Island's Green Mountain is now one of the few large-scale planned forests, and is gradually growing with each year. Its highest point is at 2,817 feet (859 m).

Off the east coast of Ascension is the tiny island of Boatswain Bird Island. It is a haven for sea birds, to get away from the rats, cats and people that came to Ascension Island from Europe and Africa. Following a successful campaign headed by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, the main island was in 2006 declared free of feral cats, and sea birds are now once again nesting on Ascension Island.

Ascension's climate is tropical, with temperatures at the coast ranging from about 68 to 88 degrees Fahrenheit (20–31 °C), and about 10 degrees Fahrenheit (5 to 6 degrees Celsius) cooler at the highest point. Rain showers may occur at any time during the year, but tend to be heavier between January and April.[2]


Ascension Island is also home to an amazing array of bird life including red-footed booby, sooty tern, brown noddy, red-billed tropic bird, and Indian myna. Green sea turtles, shark, wahoo, and barracuda also swim the areas surrounding the island
Ascension was first discovered in 1501 by Juan da Nova Castella, but the discovery apparently went unrecorded, and the island was re-discovered on Ascension Day 1503 by Alfonso d'Albuquerque. Subsequently Ascension was little visited; it was too dry and barren to be of any use to the East Indies fleets. Ascension became strategically significant with the exile of Napoleon to St. Helena; the British were concerned that it could be used in any attempt to rescue Napoleon. Thus a small British naval garrison was established on the island in October 1815. By Napoleon's death in 1821 Ascension had become a victualling station and sanitarium for ships engaged in suppression of the slave trade from the West African coast. In 1823 the garrison was taken over by the Royal Marines and the island remained a naval possession (HMS Ascension, "a Sloop of War of the smaller class") until 1922 when Ascension became a dependency of St. Helena.[3]

 

 

 

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References
 
1.Flickr-Ascension Island-Creative Commons Attribution License-retrieved 6/27/2009
2. Wikipedia-Ascension Island--retrieved 6/27/2009
3.  1,001 Natural Wonders You Must See Before You Die 2005-p. 484- Michael Bright-retrieved 6/22/2009
 Wikipedia  text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

 

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