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Pico De Fogo, Cape Verde Islands

Pico De Fogo, Cape Verde Islands[1]

Earth's Natural Wonders in Africa

Height of volcano: 9,281 feet (2,829 m)
Diameter of caldera: 5 miles (9 km)
Diameter of base of volcano: 16 miles (25 km)


Fogo is the most volcanically active of all the islands in the Cape Verde, its majestic steaming peak rises from the ocean floor and calls out to be climbed! The highlights of a visit to Fogo include the world heritage town of São Filipe, with its lovely cobbled streets, colourful colonial houses and pretty squares and the slopes of Mt Fogo do Pico with its dramatic landscape, small farms, forests, coffee plantations and orchards. However, the greatest spectacle of all and a sight not to be missed when visiting Cape Verde is the great crater of Chã das Caldeiras with its black volcanic moonscape, monstrously contorted lava flows and great Peak of Fogo do Pico (2829m)! Within the majestic walls of the crater two small villages exist by growing grapes, producing wine and tending to small gardens where a surprising range of exotic fruits grow in the rich volcanic ash.

Pico de Fogo Caldera[3]

Pico de Fogo (caldera)

The Cape Verde Islands are of volanic origin and were uninhabited when portuguese sailors first discovered them in 1456. The archipelago they form lies some 311 miles off the coast of Senegal in West Africa, on an oceanic crust that is between 120 and 140 million years old. Pico volcano on the island of Fogo is the groups only active volcano. Fogo rises out of the Atlantic Ocean in a dramatic cone 9,281 feet high. It is a basaltic volcano, classified as a "hot spot" and forms a geographic cluster with the Azores and the canary Islands.

Although Fogo is one massive volcano cone, its landscape is one of contrst between the dry and arid zones of the south, and the humid and fertile northern zone. Peanuts, beans, coffeee, oranges and tobacco are grown on the north and west sides of the island. There is even a heady, rich red wine produced from grapes growing within the caldera (crater) itself, brought to the island by the French exiles in the early 19th century. Their descendants follow the same winemaking methods, but as wood for barrels is scarce, they use old petrol drums for storage, which gives the wine a bizarre aftertaste. Some of Fogo's best farmland is on the caldera's relatively flat floor, and those who live in this danger zone know some day an eruption may evict them, which is precisely what happened in 1995.

On March 25, weak earthquakes began. On the night of April 2, lava started flowing from the base of the pico cone, within the caldera. Seven vents became active, with fire-fountains, volcanic bombs, and a plume of gas and ash 6,562 feet high. Two lava flows formed, one on top of the other. They were 2.5 miles long and 1,969 feet high, with a temperature of 1, 879 F. The lava smothered a village and destroyed farmland. Fogo reclaimed the caldera.[2]


Mount Fogo

Mount Fogo is the highest peak of Cape Verde, rising to 2,829 metres above sea level. It is an active stratovolcano lying on the island of Fogo. The main cone last erupted in 1675, causing mass emigration from the island, while a subsidiary vent erupted in 1995. The only deadly eruption was in 1847 when earthquakes generated by Mount Fogo claimed several lives.

The mountain's slopes are used to grow coffee, while its lava is used as building material. Near its peak is a caldera, in which sits the Pico do Fogo ash cone. A small village, Chã das Caldeiras, is inside this caldera[4]

Cape Verde Islands

Geography and Climate


The Cape Verde archipelago is located approximately 604 kilometres (375 mi) off the coast of West Africa. It is composed of ten islands (of which nine are inhabited) and eight islets. The islands have a combined size of just over 4,000 square kilometers. The islands are divided into the Barlavento (windward) islands (Santo Antão, São Vicente, Santa Luzia, São Nicolau, Sal, and Boa Vista) and the Sotavento (leeward) islands (Maio, Santiago, Fogo, and Brava). The largest island, both in size and population, is Santiago, where the capital of Praia is located.

Though Cape Verde's islands are all volcanic in origin, they vary widely in terrain. A still-active volcano on the island of Fogo is the highest point on the archipelago (elevation 2,829 meters). Extensive salt flats are found on Sal and Maio. On Santiago, Santo Antão, and São Nicolau, arid slopes give way in places to sugarcane fields or banana plantations spread along the base of towering mountains.

Cape Verde’s climate is milder than that of the African mainland; because the island is surrounded by the sea, temperatures are generally moderate. Average daily high temperatures range from 25 °C (77 °F) in January to 29 °C (84 °F) in September. Cape Verde is part of the Sahelian arid belt and lacks the rainfall levels of West African countries. When it does rain, most of the rainfall occurs between August and October, with frequent brief-but-heavy downpours. A desert is usually defined as terrain which receives less than 250mm of annual rainfall. Cape Verde's total (261 mm) is slightly above this criterion, which makes the area climate semi-desert.

Cape Verde's isolation has resulted in the islands having a large number of endemic species, many of which are endangered by human development. Endemic birds include Alexander's Swift (Apus alexandri), Raso Lark (Alauda razae), Cape Verde Warbler (Acrocephalus brevipennis), and Iago Sparrow (Passer iagoensis), and reptiles include the Cape Verde Giant Gecko (Tarentola gigas).[5]

This is a massive sink hole created by a prior eruption of the volcano on the island of Fogo.


March 11, 2007

The World Wonders .Com-visit 1,000 world wonders at www.theworldwonders.com


28 finalists-7 winners will be announced in 2011



1. Wikimedia Commons-Pico De Fogo-retrieved 6/28/2009
2. 1,001 Natural Wonders You Must See Before You Die 2005-p. 486- Michael Bright-retrieved 6/82/2009
3. Wikimedia Commons-Pico De Fogo Caldera-retrieved 6/28/2009
4. Wikipedia-Mount Fogo-retrieved 6/28/2009
5. Wikipedia-Cape Verde Islands-retrieved 6/28/2009
 Wikipedia  text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License


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