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Under the volcano Mixed volcanic ash and lava flows complicated both the design and construction of piles for the extension of Funchal airport on the Atlantic island of Madeira.

Funchal airport occupies just about the only substantial area of flat land on the Portuguese-owned volcanic island of Madeira, some 700km off the north west African coast. The airport sits on a raised plateau, nearly 60m above the adjacent sea. The existing 1,800m long runway stretches right across this plateau with the ground dropping away alarmingly at either end. By modern standards the runway is short, which restricts the size of aeroplanes that provide the main link with Portugal ...

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