November 18, 2012

0389 PORTUGAL (Azores) - The Capelinhos Eruption

The nine islands which composed the Archipelago of the Azores, situated in the North Atlantic Ocean, at about 1,500 km west of Lisbon, are volcanic, because from a geostructural perspective they are located above an active triple junction between three of the world's large tectonic plates (the North American Plate, the Eurasian Plate and the African Plate). The westernmost islands of the archipelago (Corvo and Flores) are located in the North American Plate, while the remaining islands are located within the boundary that divides the Eurasian and African Plates.

Faial, also known as Fayal and referred to as the Ilha Azul (Blue Island), is one of the nine islands of the Central Group, forming, with its nearest neighbours, Pico and São Jorge, an area commonly known as the Trianglo (Triangle). Its most recent geomorphological feature, composed of a linear series of scoria cones, it's the Capelo Volcanic Complex. The last eruption occurred on September 27, 1957. "It was a submarine eruption intensely observed, documented and studied from its beginning to end. It appeared under ideal conditions and across from an inhabited island, with roads, a lighthouse and private telephones."

At first was formed a small new island off the coast, which quickly disappeared, and during a subsequent eruption appeared a cone and a small isthmus. The volcano, named Capelinhos (the little Capelos, or the little cape), became active again on December 16, 1957; this lasted until May 12, 1958 and connected the islet with Faial, effectively enlarging the island by 2.4 km² and extending the Ponta dos Capelinhos into the western ocean. Even if the eruption of Capelinhos preceded with five years the submarine eruption of the volcano Surtsey, now it is classified as a Surtseyan eruption.

About the stamps

This maxicards is part of a series a two (0.30 EUR - in the picture, and 0.75 EUR), issued on October 25, 2007, with the occasion of 50th Anniversary of the Capelinhos Eruption.

About the stamp on the back, one of the four released by Portugal in 2011 to mark World Veterinary Year, I wrote here.

It should also be noted that the postcard has three postmarks, not only for departure (Vila Nova de Gaia - 25.06.2012) and for arrival (Ploiesti - 04.07.2012), but also another one, intermediate (Moldova - 01.07 .2012). Portugal is located at west of Romania and Moldova to the east, so the postcard made a detour, probably due to a careless postal clerk. This time I don't regret at all his carelessness.

This is a post for Sunday Stamps #97, run by Viridian from Viridian’s Postcard Blog. The theme of this week is Geology and the Earth. Click on the button to visit Viridian’s blog and all the other participants. 

Capelinhos - Wikipedia
Fayal - Global Volcanism Program 

sender: Maria do Ceu Martins (direct swap)
sent from Vila Nova de Gaia (Portugal), on 25.06.2012
photo: Diario de Noticias


  1. I've had an interest in volcanoes ever since my time at university where I was when this one erupted. Great stamp.

  2. That's a beautiful maxicard, and the extra cancellations are interesting.

  3. How exciting it would have been to be there! In a safe place on the nearby island, of course. Volcanoes are fascinating. thank you for joining in today.

  4. wow, impressive maxi-card! well, volcanoes are always impressive :)

  5. Wow! What a stamp that is! Such a beautiful and powerful image.

  6. I have become fascinated with volcanoes lately - never really thought much of them before, for some reason. This is an excellent representation.

  7. I always associate formation of new islands with Iceland so how interesting to hear about the Azores. Great to have lots of clear round postmarks!