pt

parcialmente nublado
23°
parcialmente nublado
vento W 20 nós
humidade 83%

Capelinhos Volcano Eruption

In the early hours of September 27th 1957, as the earth started “swinging” incessantly, the watchmen at Costado da Nau, just a few meters above Capelinhos lighthouse, noticed that the sea was rough half a mile off the coast, to the west. Frightened, they left the lighthouse, and warned the lighthouse keepers and the whalers who were already at the port. This time it wasn’t a whale, a sperm whale or any other animal – the ocean was boiling and there was a foul smell. This is how Vítor Hugo Forjaz, Azorean volcanologist, describes the beginning of the Capelinhos eruption.

From the scientific point of view, Capelinhos Volcano is a gem, given that it is the only volcano in the world to have been photographed, filmed, observed, studied and interpreted since it erupted until it became dormant, a period that lasted 13 months.

The impact of this phenomenon was such that both national and foreign journalists, photographers, scientists and volcanologists, among which Haroun Tazieff, came to Faial. The only national TV channel at the time, RTP, aired its first outside broadcast at Capelinhos, and Paris Match and National Geographic Magazine, among others, spread the name of the Azores, Faial Island and Capelinhos Volcano throughout the world.

From the human and social point of view, this amazing natural phenomenon completely changed people’s lives. In addition to causing constant earthquakes for over a year, the volcano expelled sand and ashes that buried farming fields and destroyed the houses in the surroundings with their weight. Entire families lost their possessions and their livelihood. This episode would soon cause a huge population outflow to the United States of America, encouraged by the proposal of then-Senator John Fitzgerald Kennedy: the “1958 Azorean Refugee Act”, authorizing the immigration of all the families affected by the volcano.

About 15.000 people have emigrated, reducing Faial’s population by almost half.

For many it was the turning of a page, the end of a harsh, discouraging life. Emigrating meant discovering a new world, new jobs and a different quality of life. Younger generations have pursued a course of studies and many people came to occupy positions of leadership, whether in the social, academic or political context of their hosting country.

Over 50 years have passed and today Capelinhos Volcano, which gave origin to the youngest “piece” of land in Portugal, is an Azorean ex-libris. Every tourist guide mentions this volcano as a must-visit place, not only because of its impressive landscape, but also because of the cultural and scientific significance of its Information Center.

 

Check "What to see?" - Interpretation Center - Capelinhos Volcano

Check " What to do?" - Walking Trails - Capelo Capelinhos & Volcano Hike