This Galapagos eruption took place in one of the youngest and most active volcanoes of our planet, it allowed us to see its great force some weeks ago.
The Fernandina Galapagos Island volcano started erupting in the early morning of Friday, May 13th, 2005.
Even from as far as Baltra Island you could see a huge column of clouds which seemed too high for this time of the year.
Hours later, the patrol plane from the Marine Reserve flew over one of the most incredible natural shows of fire: a volcanic eruption.
On Fernandina Island its volcano was once again active, after a period of relative calmness, since April 1995.
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This Galapagos eruption report describes more about this colossal volcano and its latest volcanic activity:
Is an eruption dangerous?
By all means. All eruptions are dangerous.
Nevertheless, there are eruptions less dangerous than others, like those of island volcanoes. These are not too explosive.
What happens with plant and animal wildlife of the Island?
Nothing survives the force of a lava flow. The main reason is the high temperature (it can be as hot as 2,000°C).
Eruptions are normal processes in island biology. They are inevitable and hard to predict when they will occur.
Is it good to have eruptions?
Certainly. Eruptions should be looked like a "cleaning evolutionary mechanism". Although, nothing survives, this new land allows natural replacement of species (i.e.: climax versus pioneers).
It is at this level where natural selection acts on those who survive and those who arrive.
Why are there so many clouds when the lava reaches the water?
The abrupt temperature change cools off lava almost immediately, but the high temperature of the lava evaporates sea water at super sonic speeds.
These clouds are 90% water vapor, and 10% volcanic gas.
For example, the M/V Santa Cruz saw the flows at 04h00 on Saturday May 14th and the Yacht Isabela II saw very little activity on Sunday evening, May 15th.
The main fissure has ceased all volcanic activity. As the lava continues to slowly move under the already formed crust, some may break out and it would seem that eruption continues.
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This can probably be seen for the next two weeks. Due to the massiveness of Fernandina, and the location of where the ship may be, these localized bursts will be invisible to the naked eye.
When will the next Galapagos eruption be?
We wish we knew. It is impossible to determine exactly when it will happen. Island volcanoes give very little warnings. Plus, these are very fast events. The Galapagos volcanoes, however, have eruptions every 6 years.
Any volcano can become reactivated. Galapagos Islands volcanoes examples of activity (without permanent eruptions) include, Sierra Negra, Alcedo, Cerro Azul, Roca Redonda, and in Ecuador we include the volcanoes of: Pichincha, Cotopaxi, Antisana, Cotacachi, Sangay, Sumaco, among others.
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