Furnas do Enxofre
Localized in the centre of the island of Terceira, this natural monument covers about 14 hectares and corresponds to a fumarolic field.
This fumarolic field is a manifestation of secondary volcanism with the emission of volcanic gases at various temperatures, some quite high (about 95 °C at the surface and about 130 °C at half a metre deep). The several crevices and fractures emit steam, carbon dioxide and sulfuric gases (among others), which led to the development of a rare ecosystem with microorganisms capable of surviving in extreme environments (extremophiles).
Integrated in an impressing complex of wetlands, it has protected habitats and ecosystems with numerous species of endemic bryophytes, especially the mosses Sphagnum nitidulum and Bazzania azorica. Regarding endemic vascular flora stands out herbaceous species such as Lysimachia azorica, Cardamine caldeirarum and Hedera azorica, in addition to various tree species, such as Azorean Blueberry (Vaccinium cylindraceum), Tree Heath (Erica azorica), Holly (Ilex azorica), Buckthorn (Frangula azorica) and Azorean Laurel (Laurus azorica).
This natural monument integrates the Planalto Central da Terceira (central plateau) Ramsar Site under the Ramsar Convention and constitutes a geosite of the Azores UNESCO Global Geopark.