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  • Country
  • Volcanic Region
  • Primary Volcano Type
  • Last Known Eruption
  • 32.73°N
  • 16.97°W

  • 1862 m
    6107 ft

  • 382120
  • Latitude
  • Longitude

  • Summit

  • Volcano

The Global Volcanism Program has no activity reports for Madeira.

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

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

Basic Data

Volcano Number

Last Known Eruption



4500 BCE

1862 m / 6107 ft


Volcano Types

Pyroclastic cone(s)

Rock Types

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

Tectonic Setting

Oceanic crust (< 15 km)


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

Geological Summary

Madeira Island is the emergent top of a massive shield volcano that rises about 6 km from the floor of the Atlantic Ocean and forms the largest island of the Madeira Archipelago, about 90 km in length. Construction of the volcano along E-W-trending rift zones from the Miocene to about 700,000 years ago was followed by a period of extensive erosion and possible edifice collapse. Two steep-walled amphitheaters open to south in the central part of the island. Late-stage eruptions are scattered throughout the island and lasted until the Holocene, producing scoria cones and intracanyon lava flows mantling rocks of the older eroded edifice. The youngest activity at Madeira lies in the west-central part of the island, and consists of cinder cones in the upper Sao Vicente valley, a series of intracanyon flows, and a tephra layer on top of the Paul da Serra plateau dated at about 6500 years ago.


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

Geldmacher J, Hoernle K A, 2000. The 72 Ma geochemical evolution of the Maderia hotspot (eastern North Atlantic): recycling of Paleozoic (500 Ma) oceanic lithosphere. Earth Planet Sci Lett, 183: 73-92.

Geldmacher J, van den Bogaard P, Hoernle K, Schmincke H-U, 2000. The 40Ar/39Ar age dating of the Madeira Archipelago and hotspot track (eastern North Atlantic). Geochem Geophys Geosyst, 1: 1999GC00018.

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

Klugel A, Walter T R, Schwarz S, Geldmacher J, 2005. Gravitational spreading causes en-echelon diking along a rift zone of Madeira Archipelago: an experimental approach and implications for magma transport. Bull Volc: 68: 37-46.

Mitchell-Thome R C, 1976. Geology of the Middle Atlantic Islands. Berlin: Gebruder Borntraeger, 382 p.

Schwarz S, Klugel A, van den Bogaard P, Geldmacher J, 2005. Internal structure and evolution of a volcanic rift system in the eastern North Atlantic: the Desertas rift zone, Madeira archipelago. J Volc Geotherm Res, 141: 123-135.

Eruptive History

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

Start Date Stop Date Eruption Certainty VEI Evidence Activity Area or Unit
4500 BCE ± 50 years Unknown Confirmed   Radiocarbon (corrected) Paul da Serra

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.




Feature Name Feature Type Elevation Latitude Longitude
Ruivo, Pico Pyroclastic cone 1862 m

Photo Gallery

The 90-km-long island of Madeira is seen in this NASA Landsat image (with north to the top). Construction of the volcano along E-W-trending rift zones was followed by a period of extensive erosion and possible edifice collapse. The capital city of Funchal lies along the SE coast, east of a large caldera that extends to the southern coast. Late-stage eruptions were scattered throughout the island, although the youngest activity took place along the west-central crest of the island, on the Paul da Serra plateau near the cloud near the center of this image.

NASA Landsat7 image (
The rugged summit of Pico Ruvio forms the 1862-m high point of the island of Madeira and is a popular destination for hikers. This eroded scoria-cone complex was erupted during a late stage of Pliocene-to-Pleistocene rift activity along the axis of the Madeira rift. Dense swarms of dikes, some of which are visible in this image, are oriented E-W, parallel to the orientation of the rift.

Photo by Paul Bernhardt.
Funchal, the capital city of Madeira, blankets the SE flanks of the massive shield volcano forming the island. The scenic island, sometimes known as the Pearl of the Atlantic, is the emergent summit of a volcano constructed along an East-West trending rift zone. Following a period of extensive erosion, renewed eruptions produced cinder cones and lava flows that traveled down dissected valleys.

Photo by Paul Bernhardt.

Smithsonian Sample Collections Database

There are no samples for Madeira in the Smithsonian's NMNH Department of Mineral Sciences Rock and Ore collection.

Affiliated Sites

Large Eruptions of Madeira 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.