Situated in the North-East Atlantic, the Autonomous Region of the Azores are an archipelago and a transcontinental territory autonomous of the Portuguese Republic, with political and administrative autonomy, integrated into the European Union with the status of outermost region of the EU.
Appearing on triple lithospheric junction euro-Asian, African and American plates, the archipelago is composed with nine main islands and some islets, all of volcanic origin, with the exception of Santa Maria island, where part of it was formed by fossils.
The nine islands are divided into three groups:
- São Miguel and Santa Maria in the Eastern Group;
- Faial, Pico, Graciosa, São Jorge and Terceira in the Central Group;
- Flores and Corvo on the Western Group.
Flores and Corvo are situated on the American plate, being separated from the other islands by the Meso-Atlantic Ridge or Middle-Atlantic Crest. The remaining seven islands, are located in a large complex triangular submarine plateau structure, known as the "Micro-plate of the Azores", with about of 5,800,000 km ².