Galapagos Islands Volcanos

Galapagos Islands volcanos are considered to be one of the main attractions of this Archipelago. Nothing compares to its beautiful and fantastic landscapes, lush vegetation, unique wildlife and awesome sunsets.


Galapagos Islands Volcanos

galapagos islands volcanos

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The volcanic set up of the Islands can be explained by looking at the theories of Plate Tectonics and the Hot Spot.

The platform where the islands started their volcanic growth lies right on top of the Nazca Plate.

The plate neighbors with the Cocos and Pacific Plates, and moves towards the South American continent, and thus "carries" the Islands on top.

The rate of movement (call it Island speed) is about 7 cm/year. See Some Facts on Galapagos Islands

Underneath certain plates there are concentrations of molten rock, called Hot Spots in Galapagos Geology

These spots allow the liquid rock (magma) to percolate towards the plate filling up all cracks, crevices and in some cases reaching from below the bottom of the ocean, and eventually breaking the surface of the water.

These forces create Islands in the middle of the ocean, just like Iceland, Azores, Canary, and the closest example, Hawaii.

As the plates move in one direction, and over time, a chain of islands will be formed.

These Islands will all be different in terms of age, altitude, and other physical factors like erosion, colonization, etc.

In Galapagos, the Islands to the east are older than those located to the west.

This implies that the Galapagos Hot Spot is right under the western Islands of Isabela and Fernandina. More About Galapagos Volcano Eruptions

As you visit this Archipelago, you will notice how different landscapes are. And more so if you see the opposite Islands from east to west.

These differences should be also related to the amazing wildlife diversity found here. Without different ages, animal and plant colonization would have been a standard process.

The age of the Galapagos varies, and Islands like Espanola (Hood), Santa Fe (Barrington) and Floreana (Charles) belong the group of older Islands with ages that range 4-5 million years.

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Islands within the middle range anywhere between 2-3 million years, like Santiago (James), Santa Cruz (Indefatigable) and Bartolome.

To the west, we find the youngest rocks on both Isabela (Albermarle) and Fernandina (Narborough), these barely reach a million years.

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The latest Galapagos Islands volcanos activity was on Fernandina Island in 2005. Another recent eruption was on Cerro Azul, Isabela Island in 1998.

Constant seismic activity, fumaroles, and an occasional large puff of water vapor, are signs of ongoing volcanic processes.

Recommended Reading

Ecuador & Galapagos (Insight Guides). Click to order from Amazon

Ecuador & Galapagos (Insight Guides)

With 250 photos and tons of great information, this is an essential addition to your pre-Ecuador and -Galapagos reading!

There are better guides if you are only interested in the islands, but for a combination trip taking in Ecuador as well, it's hard to beat.


Birds, Mammals, and Reptiles of the Galapagos Islands. Click to order from Amazon

Birds, Mammals, and Reptiles of the Galapagos Islands

Small enough to fit into your pocket, yet containing comprehensive information and pictures of all the species you will encounter in the islands, this book is a must-have for nature lovers.

Let's face it, Galapagos is largely about the wildlife. This book will NOT disappoint, and you'll have a great memento of your time with the seals, penguins and tortoises!


Galapagos: The Islands That Changed the World. Click to order from Amazon

Galapagos: The Islands That Changed the World

Definitely NOT a tourist's guide, but if you're like me, and find the history and geography of the islands irresistible, then this is a title you ought to invest in.

Stunningly illustrated, and painstakingly researched, those of you who have been there will be enchanted again -- and those of you who have not will begin planning your trip!


Moon Spotlight Galapagos. Click to order from Amazon

Moon Spotlight Galapagos Islands

If you're a seasoned Galapagos regular, then you will probably prefer something weightier.

But for first-timers looking for simple, down-to-earth advice on where to go, what to see and the best shopping and eating on the islands, this is the book for you.

Small, well-priced, and reliable!


Galapagos: Islands Born of Fire. Click to order from Amazon

Galapagos: Islands Born of Fire

The 10th anniversary edition of this photographer's tour of the Galapagos Islands is a stunning book, worthy of anybody's coffee table.

This is a perfect post-trip talking point -- a great way to remember what you've seen, and spread the word amongst your envious friends!


See More About Galapagos

Galapagos Eruption on Fernandina Island

Galapagos Climate

Galapagos Islands Birds

Photos of Galapagos

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If you have questions about the Galapagos Islands Volcanos, You can post them on our Galapagos FAQ Section and if you'd like to request more information about our recommended Galapagos Holiday Specials to explore this Archipelago, You can Contact us here

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