How old is São Miguel?


Today a little bit of geology ! Do you know how old São Miguel island is?

Like all islands of the archipelago of the Azores, São Miguel is a volcanic island.

São Miguel is the biggest island of the Azores, but not all the islands were formed at the same time. After a lot and a lot of eruptions, started from the bottom of the Ocean, some of them arrived to the surface!

Credit map: Geo Elvas


  1. The volcanic complex of Nordeste is the oldest part of São Miguel and is approximately 4 million years old. It is where you can find the highest point of the island, Pico da Vara, 1103 meters high.
  2. The volcanic complex of Povoação is approximately 3 million years old. It is where the first settlement took place.
  3. The volcanic complex of Furnas is approximately 800 thousand years old. The last eruption was in 1630.
  4. The volcanic complex of Sete Cidades is approximately 800 thousand years old.
  5. The volcanic complex of Fogo is approximately 290 thousand years old. The last eruption was in the year of 1563 and the Lake of Fogo is the youngest lake of São Miguel.
  6. The volcanic complex of Picos is approximately 50 thousand years old. This part made the other two parts merge together, to form the complete island of São Miguel that we know today. The last eruption on this complex was in 1652.


São Miguel does not have one «birth date» but a lot of them! It is still an active volcanic island, so at anytime it can erupt again! If you visit the volcanic complex of Furnas, you can appreciate the volcanic activity  at the surface of the planet!

João Gaspar, et al.

About Marylou

Marylou is a Marine Biologist and Master in Oceanography. She is one of our Marine Wildlife Guide and is responsible for Science Education at TERRA AZUL. Originally from France, she studied in Canada and Belgium and loves being out to sea to share her knowledge with you.

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