Cape Verde Islands
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Cape Verde Islands

January 30, 2005

Uninhabited until the mid-1400s, the Cape Verde islands are a volcanic group that stands out against the Atlantic Ocean in this true-color Aqua MODIS image from January 22, 2005. In the upper left corner, Santo Antao is partially covered with a curving tail of low clouds. Sao Vicente and three smaller islands make clear stepping-stones to Sao Nicolau, which has its own spotty cloudcover. In the upper right, the islands of Sal and Boa Vista make up the other major islands in the grouping referred to as the Baralvento (or Windward) islands.

South of these are Sao Tiago, Fogo, Maio, and Brava (from right to left, respectively), which make up the Sotavento (or Leeward) islands. Fogo island's Cano volcano is the only active one left, though it hasn't been regularly active since the 18th century. All of the islands are suffering from persistent drought, as well as from the annual dry winter harmattan winds blowing from Africa (Dakar, Senegal, is just 480 km / 300 mi to the east).

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