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Geography and Geology

Lord Howe Island is a remnant of a now-extinct shield volcano, dating back 7 million years. Eleven kilometres (six miles) long and 2km (1 mile) wide at its widest point, the island has been eroded to one-fortieth its original size. Its crescent shape embraces a sheltered lagoon and the southernmost coral reef on the planet.

Twenty-three km (16 miles) to the south, the aptly-named Balls Pyramid rises 550 metres sheer from the sea, forming the world’s tallest sea stack.

Balls Pyramid, Lord Howe and its islets form part of a chain of seamounts that extend north for 1000km (600 miles), and are thought to be the result of the Indo-Australian tectonic plate moving northward over a stationary hotspot. The chain forms part of the under-sea plateau known as the Lord Howe Rise.

The island itself is dominated by the basalt peaks of Mount Lidgbird 777 m (2,549 ft) and Mount Gower 875 m (2,871 ft) at the southern end of the island. They are virtually all that remains of 6.4 million year old lava flows that filled a large volcanic caldera.

From the south, the island slopes more gently towards the north, with beautiful sandy beaches on the eastern and western sides, and a large portion of the island covered in dense forests. Spectacular cliffs buttress the eastern side, which afford dramatic views of the off-shore rocks, islands and along the spine of the island south to Mounts Lidgbird and Gower.