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The volcanic islands making up the Azores Archipelago rise above sea from a prominent submarine topographic high (the “Azores Plateau”), marked by the 2000-m bathymetric contour. Specifically, the Azores Islands lie at the so-called “Azores Triple Junction” (ATJ), where the Eurasian, North American, and African (or Nubian) tectonic plates meet. In general terms, the ATJ is defined by the Mid-Atlantic Ridge (MAR) separating the North American plate from the other two, and the Azores–Gibraltar fault zone separating the Eurasian and African plates. In addition, the existence of a mantle plume (“hotspot) beneath Azores Plateau has been inferred in many previous investigations. Not surprisingly, because of its distinctive...
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