Photo of this volcano
Google Earth icon
  Google Earth Placemark
  • Country
  • Volcanic Region
  • Primary Volcano Type
  • Last Known Eruption
  • 38.47°N
  • 28.4°W

  • 2351 m
    7711 ft

  • 382020
  • Latitude
  • Longitude

  • Summit

  • Volcano

The Global Volcanism Program has no activity reports for Pico.

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

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

Basic Data

Volcano Number

Last Known Eruption



1720 CE

2351 m / 7711 ft


Volcano Types

Fissure vent
Pyroclastic cone(s)

Rock Types

Basalt / Picro-Basalt
Trachybasalt / Tephrite Basanite
Trachyandesite / Basaltic trachy-andesite

Tectonic Setting

Rift zone
Oceanic crust (< 15 km)


Within 5 km
Within 10 km
Within 30 km
Within 100 km

Geological Summary

A prominent 2351-m-high stratovolcano occupying the western end of Pico Island is the highest volcano in the Azores. Pico volcano lies west of on an older linear volcano with numerous flank cones that forms most of the 48-km-long island. The conical, dominantly basaltic Pico volcano was constructed over the Montanha volcanic complex on the eastern side of the island and is capped by a 500-m-wide summit crater that is overtopped by a small steep-sided cone. Historical eruptions have been restricted to the flanks of Pico volcano and to the SE-trending rift zone, the Sao Roque Piedade volcanic complex, which is dotted by pyroclastic cones. An eruption during 1562-64 from the SE rift zone produced lava flows that reached the northern coast. An eruption from a nearby vent issued lava flows that traveled into the sea on the southern side of the island. A flank eruption from Pico in 1718 fed lava flows that reached both coasts.


The following references have all been used during the compilation of data for this volcano, it is not a comprehensive bibliography.

Franca Z T M, Tassinari C C G, Cruz J V, Aparicio A Y, Arana V, Rodrigues B N, 2006. Petrology, geochemistry and Sr--Nd--Pb isotopes of the volcanic rocks from Pico Islan--Azores (Portugal). J Volc Geotherm Res: 156: 71-89.

IAVCEI, 1973-80. Post-Miocene Volcanoes of the World. IAVCEI Data Sheets, Rome: Internatl Assoc Volc Chemistry Earth's Interior..

Machado F, 1982. Excursion guide for field trip V3, Islands of Fayal and Pico. Proc Internatl Symp Activity Oceanic Volc, Archipelago Univ Azores, 3: 343-349.

Neumann van Padang M, Richards A F, Machado F, Bravo T, Baker P E, Le Maitre R W, 1967. Atlantic Ocean. Catalog of Active Volcanoes of the World and Solfatara Fields, Rome: IAVCEI, 21: 1-128.

Nunes J C, Camacho A, Franca Z, Montesinos F G, Alves M, Vieira R, Velez E, Ortiz E, 2006. Gravity anomalies and crustal signature of volcano-tectonic structures of Pico Island (Azores). J Volc Geotherm Res: 156: 55-70.

Zbyszewski G, Ribeiro Ferreira C, Veiga Ferreira O da, Torre de Assuncao C, 1963. Geological map of Ilha do Pico (Azores). Servicos Geologicos Portugal, two 1:50,000 scale maps with 25 and 21 p texts (in Portuguese).

Eruptive History

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

Start Date Stop Date Eruption Certainty VEI Evidence Activity Area or Unit
[ 1963 Dec 15 (in or before) ] [ Unknown ] Uncertain 0   Off NW coast
1720 Jul 10 1720 Dec (?) Confirmed 2 Historical Observations SE flank (400 m)
1718 Feb 1 1718 Dec 15 ± 5 days Confirmed 2 Historical Observations SE flank (200 m), NW flank (1200 m)
1562 Sep 21 (?) 1564 (?) Confirmed 2 Historical Observations East flank (800 m)

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.


Pico, Pico do


Feature Name Feature Type Elevation Latitude Longitude
Bocas de Fogo Vent
Montanha Stratovolcano
Topo Shield volcano


Feature Name Feature Type Elevation Latitude Longitude
Sao Roque Peidade Fissure vent

Photo Gallery

Pico stratovolcano occupying the western end of Pico Island rises across a strait SE of neighboring Fayal Island (foreground). Pico is superimposed on an older linear volcano with numerous flank cones that forms most of the eastern side of the 48-km-long island. The conical Pico volcano is capped by a 500-m-wide summit crater that is overtopped by a small steep-sided cone visible at the left side of the summit. Historical eruptions have been restricted to the flanks of Pico volcano itself and to the SE-trending rift zone.

Photo by Rick Wunderman, 1997 (Smithsonian Institution).
Pico volcano, the highest in the Azores, is located across a narrow 6-km-wide channel SE of Fayal Island. From this direction, the 2351-m-high stratovolcano appears to be a symmetrical cone, but it lies at the far western end of an elongated chain of flank cones that forms a roughly 800-m-high ridge extending ESE across Pico Island. Permanent fumaroles are located near a small cone filling the summit crater, but all historical eruptions have occurred from flank vents.

Photo by Rick Wunderman, 1997 (Smithsonian Institution).

Smithsonian Sample Collections Database

The following 1 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 116691-15 Ankaramite

Affiliated Sites

Large Eruptions of Pico Information about large Quaternary eruptions (VEI >= 4) is cataloged in the Large Magnitude Explosive Volcanic Eruptions (LaMEVE) database of the Volcano Global Risk Identification and Analysis Project (VOGRIPA).
WOVOdat WOVOdat is a database of volcanic unrest; instrumentally and visually recorded changes in seismicity, ground deformation, gas emission, and other parameters from their normal baselines. It is sponsored by the World Organization of Volcano Observatories (WOVO) and presently hosted at the Earth Observatory of Singapore.
EarthChem EarthChem develops and maintains databases, software, and services that support the preservation, discovery, access and analysis of geochemical data, and facilitate their integration with the broad array of other available earth science parameters. EarthChem is operated by a joint team of disciplinary scientists, data scientists, data managers and information technology developers who are part of the NSF-funded data facility Integrated Earth Data Applications (IEDA). IEDA is a collaborative effort of EarthChem and the Marine Geoscience Data System (MGDS).
MODVOLC - HIGP MODIS Thermal Alert System Using infrared satellite Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) data, scientists at the Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology, University of Hawai'i, developed an automated system called MODVOLC to map thermal hot-spots in near real time. For each MODIS image, the algorithm automatically scans each 1 km pixel within it to check for high-temperature hot-spots. When one is found the date, time, location, and intensity are recorded. MODIS looks at every square km of the Earth every 48 hours, once during the day and once during the night, and the presence of two MODIS sensors in space allows at least four hot-spot observations every two days. Each day updated global maps are compiled to display the locations of all hot spots detected in the previous 24 hours. There is a drop-down list with volcano names which allow users to 'zoom-in' and examine the distribution of hot-spots at a variety of spatial scales.
MIROVA Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity (MIROVA) is a near real time volcanic hot-spot detection system based on the analysis of MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) data. In particular, MIROVA uses the Middle InfraRed Radiation (MIR), measured over target volcanoes, in order to detect, locate and measure the heat radiation sourced from volcanic activity.