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Ascension Island


Photo: Debbie Helms-Barrett

Shelly Beach, Ascension Island

Ascension Island is located nearly halfway between Africa and South America and just 7° south of the equator. The island is part of the British Overseas Territory of Saint Helena, Ascension and Trista de Cunha Islands. The island is important for military and communications purposes as well as for scientific research. There are few tourist amenities on the island. 

Like many oceanic islands, the land seen above the waterline at Ascension is the emergent summit of a massive stratovolcano. Large parts of the island are old lava fields which are predominantly basaltic. The coastline displays rugged cliffs, sea caves and sea stacks which erode from wave action and wind. 

Ascension's volcanic origin is clearly reflected in the two green/black samples featuring yellow/green olivine and pyroxene grains, both minerals associated with volcanism. The other sand photographs show a very different assemblage of biogenic grains sourced from a more protected, shallow marine ecosystem. 

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