Geography and landscapes French Polynesia

Geography and landscapes French Polynesia

Scattered over a maritime territory as extensive as Western Europe, the 118 islands of French Polynesia (from the Greek polus and nesos, “many islands”) are grouped into 5 archipelagos.

Society Islands

The Île-Vent (all the others: Huahine, Raiatea, Tahaa, Bora-Bora, Maupiti, etc.). In the shade of eroded volcanic peaks, they surround themselves with the most beautiful lagoons.

Austral Islands

To the south, the Austral Islands, crossed by the Tropic of Capricorn, are mountainous islands, difficult to access. Some only have a reef.

Tuamotu Archipelago

To the north, the Tuamotu archipelago, which extends over 1 km to Gambier Islands (the outermost archipelago of the territory) make up one of the largest groups of atolls in the world. Low and flat, these atolls almost all enclose vast lagoons, like that of Rangiroa, which could contain the island of Tahiti!

Marquesas Islands

- Marquesas Islands, 1 km north of Papeete, form a world apart. Very isolated, the islands are distinguished by wild landscapes, where lofty cliffs flow into tumultuous waves. The place is splendid, but its remoteness makes the trip expensive.

Volcanic origins and activity

The Polynesian islands are all born from volcanic activity at the end of the Tertiary era. On the ocean floor, at a depth of 4 m, lava then flowed through “hot spots”, fixed breaches in the earth's crust. Eruption after eruption, it piled up in the form of lava cushions, a sort of cannonballs formed in contact with cold water, to finally pierce the surface. An island was born.

Trained soon found himself sailors.

The melee of Huahine and especially of Bora-Bora. All the volcanic islands are thus doomed to disappear. To be better reborn.

Because gradually the corals over the ocean are neither more nor less than that: the survivals of old “high islands” disintegrated by time and swallowed up by the ocean. Where the volcano once stood is now the lagoon.

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