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Photographer's Note

This is one of many crater lakes in the Azores, deep formations that fill up with rainwater.

The German meteorologist Alfred Wegener formulated the theory of plate tectonics starting in 1912. He claimed that the surface of the earth resembled the cracked shell on an egg with the fractured pieces drifting apart, that these comprised the continents. No one took him seriously, but they should have. In the International Geophysical Year (1957) many of the developed nations of the world carried out physical measurements. It was a British trawler dragging magnetic detectors that mapped out the Atlantic floor. It was discovered that the Atlantic displayed zebra-stripe like parallel stripes of different ages. The stripes closes to the rift were the newest. As the Atlantic ocean separated, the rift was created as new molten earth oozed upward and froze in place. The pieces in the magma were polarized in the direction of the earth's prevailing magnetic field. But the magnetic field of the earth meanders all in time, and sometimes even flips over. (Right now the magnetic north pole is somewhere in Northern Canada.) Islands are frequently created in these mid-ocean rifts. Madeira and the Azores are a product of such action. Resembling the surface of a boiling pot of soup, the land puckers, collapses, creates craters. The same mechanics explains the formation of young islands in the Pacific Ocean — New Zealand, Society Islands (including Tahiti, Moorea, Bora Bora...), Marquesas Islands, Hawaii.

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Additional Photos by Bulent Atalay (batalay) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6712 W: 479 N: 11946] (40521)
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