The first stop on the tour was the caldera lake in the crater. Several of the students took their water samples, and everyone had a chance to look around the boiling pools and see some of the characteristic formations produced by the water chemistry and extremophiles.
|Deposits of sulfur|
|Ferric hydroxide deposits formed by iron oxidising Bacteria |
From the lake, we moved on to the town of Furnas where there are many boilers and mud pots, as well as springs that deliver waters of varying taste (some horribly sulphurous). During a tour of the town, we took more water samples and took notes on the biology of the thermal springs.
|Briefing in Aunty Silvia's foot spa.|
|Looking at extremophile communities near the |
Furnas microbiological observatory.
|Sacks of maize cooking in a thermal pool, and adding |
organic material to water that normally does not contain
it. This has serious consequences for some of the
organisms that live downstream.
|Hillside constructed from silicate deposits produced |
over many, many years by microbial action.
|One of the many pools in Furnas.|
The mineral water springs have different temperatures, water chemistry and
Then it was on to the Furnas Botanic Gardens to look at their collection of endemic plants in preparation for tomorrow's survey of a Laurisilva forest restoration scheme. There was also the opportunity for a quick swim in the thermal pool (and take a few water samples for analysis later in the lab).
|Looking at endemic plants|
|Thermal swimming pool at Furnas Botanic Garden.|
|Azores race of Goldcrest|
Finally, we returned to the university to eat, where a Lesser Yellowlegs (a vagrant American species) was frequenting the ponds in the gardens.