Fayal

Photo of this volcano
  • Country
  • Volcanic Region
  • Primary Volcano Type
  • Last Known Eruption
  • 38.6°N
  • 28.73°W

  • 1043 m
    3421 ft

  • 382010
  • Latitude
  • Longitude

  • Summit
    Elevation

  • Volcano
    Number

The Global Volcanism Program has no activity reports for Fayal.

The Global Volcanism Program has no Weekly Reports available for Fayal.

The Global Volcanism Program has no Bulletin Reports available for Fayal.

Eruptive History


Summary of Holocene eruption dates and Volcanic Explosivity Indices (VEI).


Start Date Stop Date Eruption Certainty VEI Evidence Activity Area or Unit
1957 Sep 27 1958 Oct 24 Confirmed 2 Historical Observations West flank (Capelinhos) and summit
1672 Apr 24 1673 Feb 28 Confirmed 2 Historical Observations West flank

This compilation of synonyms and subsidiary features may not be comprehensive. Features are organized into four major categories: Cones, Craters, Domes, and Thermal Features. Synonyms of features appear indented below the primary name. In some cases additional feature type, elevation, or location details are provided.

Photo Gallery


A column of ash and steam towers above a new submarine vent off the western coast of Fayal Island in early October 1957. The vertical white bar (upper right) provides a 500 m scale. Horizontally traveling base surges form a ring at the base of the eruption column. Explosive eruptions began on September 27, and formed a small island that eventually was joined to the main island, partially burying the Capelinhos lighthouse, which is visible on the center shoreline. Lava effusion was continuous for the last five months of the 13-month-long eruption.

Photo by U.S. Air Force, 1957 (published in Green and Short, 1971).
See title for photo information.
Fayal volcano is capped by a 2-km-wide, 500-m-deep summit caldera, seen from its southern rim. A small pyroclastic cone was constructed on the floor of the caldera. Thick airfall-pumice and pyroclastic-flow deposits related to formation of the caldera blanket the island. This event was followed by construction of fissure-fed lava fields and small volcanoes that formed a peninsula extending to the west. A dramatic submarine eruption at Capelinhos during 1957-58 created a new island that soon merged with the western peninsula.

Photo by Rick Wunderman, 1997 (Smithsonian Institution).
See title for photo information.
The gentle slope along the right-hand horizon is covered by lava flows formed during the 17th century, at the time of the first historical eruption of Fayal volcano. Lava flows during the 1672-73 eruption reached the sea on both the southern and northern coasts. This eruption occurred along a WNW-ESE-trending ridge forming a wedge-shaped peninsula at the western tip of the island. Cabeço Verde (center), seen here from the SE, is one of a chain of pyroclastic cones that were constructed along the axis of the peninsula.

Photo by Rick Wunderman, 1997 (Smithsonian Institution).
See title for photo information.
The eroded pyroclastic cone at the left, now forming the western tip of Fayal Island, was constructed during the 1957-58 Capelinhos eruption. Initially submarine eruptions formed an island that was later joined to the mainland. By the end of the eruption, a 1-km-wide peninsula had been added to Fayal. Vigorous erosion by the sea soon truncated the sides of the new cone, forming the steep south-facing cliffs seen here. Beach erosion in the foreground exposes light-colored ashfall deposits from the 1957-58 eruption.

Photo by Rick Wunderman, 1997 (Smithsonian Institution).
See title for photo information.
Lava flows from vents along the crest of a linear chain of volcanoes, seen here from the NE, reached the sea along both the northern and southern coasts of Fayal Island during a 17th-century eruption. The 1672-73 lava flows reached the northern coast at the headlands immediately left and right of the center of the photo. Cabeço Verde (left center) and Cabeço do Canto (center) are two pyroclastic cones along a linear chain of volcanoes that form a wedge-shaped peninsula on the western tip of Fayal Island.

Photo by Rick Wunderman, 1997 (Smithsonian Institution).
See title for photo information.
The Monte de Guia tuff cone forms a backdrop to the harbor of Jorta (Horta), the largest town on the island of Fayal. The cone was formed by phreatomagmatic eruptions just off the SE tip of the island, and is now connected to Fayal by a low narrow peninsula. Monte de Guia is one of a cluster of cones constructed on the lower SE flank of Fayal. These cones lie at the far eastern end of a fissure system that extends from off the western coast across the flanks of the large Fayal stratovolcano.

Photo by Rick Wunderman, 1997 (Smithsonian Institution).
See title for photo information.
The crater of Monte de Guia tuff cone at the SE tip of Fayal Island has been breached by the sea, forming a circular bay. This view looks out to sea from the NW rim of the tuff cone, which was formed by phreatomagmatic eruptions produced when magma encountered sea water along the coast of the island. A small boat used by divers provides scale off the headland at left center.

Photo by Rick Wunderman, 1997 (Smithsonian Institution).
See title for photo information.
The vegetation-mantled NW wall of the 2-km-wide summit caldera of Fayal volcano rises 500-m above the caldera floor. A small pyroclastic cone constructed on the caldera floor is visible at the lower right. The outer flanks of the caldera are steepest on the NW and SW sides, which flank a wedge-shaped western peninsula that has been the site of all historical eruptions on Fayal.

Photo by Rick Wunderman, 1997 (Smithsonian Institution).
See title for photo information.
Pyroclastic-surge deposits from the 1957 Capelinhos eruption lap up against a lighthouse near the western coast of Fayal Island in the Azores. Pyroclastic surges produced by magma-water interaction during the submarine eruption nearly buried the lower floor of the lighthouse building. The initially submarine eruption began off the western tip of Fayal, forming a small island that eventually was joined to the main island.

Photo by R. V. Fisher, 1979 (University of California Santa Barbara).
See title for photo information.

Smithsonian Sample Collections Database


The following 8 samples associated with this volcano can be found in the Smithsonian's NMNH Department of Mineral Sciences collections. Catalog number links will open a window with more information.

Catalog Number Sample Description
NMNH 109363 Plagioclase basalt
NMNH 116691-13 Bomb
NMNH 116691-14 Bomb
NMNH 116691-16 Bomb
NMNH 117254-112 Lava
NMNH 72951 Basalt
NMNH 72952-1 Basalt
NMNH 72952-2 Basalt

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