Ascension Island
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Ascension Island

December 26, 2003
In the southern Atlantic Ocean roughly midway between central South America and central Africa, sits Ascension Island. A small, rocky, volcanic outcrop covered in many places by lava flows and cinder cones of dormant volcanoes, the island sits just west of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. In this amazingly detailed image from the Ikonos satellite on February 24, 2003, marbled-looking lava flows can be seen dominating the northwest coast. The rugged island is barren in many places, and has no indigenous human population. Instead the residents of the island are there because of Ascension’s main industry: communications. The island has a long history as a communications hub for telephone and radio communications and as a base for satellite tracking stations, including a NASA station built in the 1960s that no longer operates.

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