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Ascension Island lies just to the south of the equator about 700 miles north of St.Helena. The island was discovered in 1501 by Juan da Nova Castella, on his way to India. He called it Conception. He also discovered St. Helena on his return. It was rediscovered in 1503 by Alfonso d'Alberquerque on Ascension Day hence, reputedly, its name. Ascension is in fact a mountain peak which rises 10,000ft from the ocean floor just to the west of the mid-Atlantic Ridge. The island is 88 sq km in area and consists of three different ages of development. The oldest part of the island is considered to be the highest area to the South east rising to 2800 feet at Green Mountain, 2000ft at Weather Post and 1700ft at White Hill. These were thought to have formed from a volcanic explosion through which a dome was formed on the base of basalt. All around the area are smaller similar structures, containing fissures where further flows of basalt have occurred. The Devil's Cauldron is a large volcanic crater several hundred yards across. Red Hill Mountain was formed in the second stage of development and is a purely basalt cone and were somewhat eroded before the third phase began. The most recently formed peaks are Sisters Peak and Perfect crater close to it and they are still almost perfect cones. It is thought the last eruptions occurred some 600 years ago, the upper slopes being soft ash, lava flows spread north to the coast 2 miles away and there is a considerable area of cinders on the lower slopes.
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