Geochemistry & Culture of Azores: Portugal

The nine islands of the Azorean archipelago lie nearly equidistant from North America and Europe, at the intersection of three separate tectonic plates. These islands first appeared on European maps as early as 1351 and were periodically explored and later claimed by Portuguese sailors into the early 15th century with the first settlement established in 1450. The islands could support isolated populations because of their unique geography and geochemistry as volcanic islands in the Atlantic Ocean. Students enrolled in chemistry courses visit sites of interest unique to the Azores. We explore how geochemical forces such as tectonic and volcanic activity have led to the distinctive landscapes, agricultural production systems, and cultural expressions seen in the Azores.

Some areas we may visit include:

  • Sete Cidades: This volcanic area is home to twin lakes, Lagoa Verde and Lagoa Azul, which formed after a massive volcanic eruption. While the two lakes are connected, the different chemical and geologic deposits lead to two distinct colors of the lakes.
  • Chá Gorreana: The Azores have the only tea plantation in Europe due to the soil from millions of years of tectonic and volcanic activity. The plantation runs right to the black sand beaches of the Azores.
  • Furnas: The Azorean hot springs at Furnas are steaming vents in which the locals congregate every day to cook cozinho, an Azorean stew. The area is also home to pure sulfur deposits.
  • Instituto de Investigação em Vulcanologia of the University of Azores. This institute tells the past, present, and future story of this tectonic archipelago.

Whether enrolled for general education or advanced credit, students have an
experience of a lifetime only a four-hour plane ride from Boston. 

Apply to Study Abroad

Register Now  Passport Information




March 10 - March 15, 2024

Registration Deadline

November 27, 2023 


CHEM 105 - International Field Studies in Chemistry & Biochemistry, 3 credits (Prerequisite: permission of instructor)

CHEM 485 - Topics in Chemistry, 3 credits, (Prerequisite: permission of instructor)

IS 360 - International Studies Through Travel, 3 credits

COST: $1,995


Prof. Barry Wescott
Chemistry & Biochemistry


A limited number of scholarships are available. Scholarships will be a minimum of $800 based on the available funds. A minimum GPA requirement is 3.0! Scholarships are awarded on a first-first come first-served basis. The registration portal has a limited timeframe, we suggest you prepare your scholarship essay before starting the application! They are due together.

Click here to see the scholarship prompts.


Contact Information

Zongxiang Mei
International Education Coordinator
Center for International Education
Clarence Carroll Hall
Christine Chaihyung Park
University Assistant, Courses Abroad
Center for International Education