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The Comoros consist of four islands and several islets in the western Indian Ocean. They are located at the northern end of the Mozambique Channel between Madagascar and Afrika with each of the islands: Grande Comore, Moheli, Anjouan, and Mayotte having distinct characteristics due to their different ages. Mayotte, the oldest of the islands, is an ancient volcanic island with highly eroded mountains and slow, meandering streams. Grande Comore, the youngest of the islands has a massive, active volcano and recent lava flows. The other two islands are mountainous but have had no recent volcanic activity. The Islands occupy a strategic position in the western Indian Ocean and have played an important role in the history of the area.