Columns on Santa Maria Island

July 10, 2014


Photographer: Francisco Sousa
Summary Authors: Francisco Sousa; Jackie Phillips

The photo above shows a 65 ft (20 m) high waterfall located near the mouth of the Maloas river on Santa Maria Island (one of the Azores Islands), Portugal. The stream valley is lined with basaltic lava rock formed in columns, each nearly 3 ft (0.9 m) wide. Known as columnar joints, these features were created through the rapid cooling and contracting of molten rock. Note that this landscape of cut columns not unlike that of the Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland. Santa Maria is 1 of 9 volcanic islands located 850 mi (1,360 km) west of the Portuguese mainland. Photo taken on June 5, 2014.

Photo details: Camera Model: Canon EOS 600D; Lens: EF-S18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 III; Focal Length: 18mm;
Aperture: f/8.0; Exposure Time: 0.017 s (1/60); ISO equiv: 100.