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PSt01 - Praia

Praia do Porto Santo  ©Virgílio Gomes

Geosite ID: PSt01

Name: Praia

Thematic category: Geomorfology, Sedimentology and Paleontology

Geographical location on orthophotomap - PSt01

Municipality: Porto Santo

Civil parish: Porto Santo

Location area: 10-1000 ha

Coordinates(1):33°03'27.7"N 16°20'04.9"W

Altitude: 7 m

Accessibility: Easy

Distance to nearest paved road: 70 m

Conditions of observation: Good

(1) Coordinates of the geosite and / or the best viewpoint


Brief description

Stretching for around 9km, Porto Santo beach is mainly formed by calcareous sand that resulted from the fragmentation of shells, corals and calcareous algae which give it its characteristic yellow colour. Small quantities of dark grains can also be found, which originate from volcanic rocks. The sands result from the erosion of Aeolianites (calcareous sandstones) that occur in the central west region of the island. These deposits cover around 1/3 of the island’s surface and reach a depth of over 40 m at Fonte da Areia. Erosive processes associated with rain and surface runoff towards the south coast of the island are responsible for transporting the sand to the beach.
The sand rests on a rocky base known as lajedo (slab).
Given its physical and chemical properties, the sand has been used in psammotherapy (sand baths) for the treatment of bone and muscular conditions.

Relevant notes

Visiting a site of geological interest is the sole responsibility of the user.
The user must take precautions when visiting the site, taking into account the conditions of the terrain, weather conditions and other hazards, so that they do not create situations that put themselves or others at risk.
The user must respect private property. Access to private areas requires prior authorization from the owners.
The user must respect natural heritage, keeping it intact. The impact of your actions should be minimal.


How to Cite

FERREIRA, M. R. (2014). Património Geológico da Ilha do Porto Santo e Ilhéus Adjacentes (Madeira): Inventariação, Avaliação e Valorização como Contributo para a Geoconservação. Dissertação de Mestrado em Vulcanologia e Riscos Geológicos. Departamento de Geociências da Universidade dos Açores. In:

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