Thinking of Darwin and giant turtles now?
Well, the land itself – a volcanic archipelago – is alive, too.
Per the accompanying text for that NASA Earth Observatory flyover, Straddling the equator approximately 1000 kilometers to the west of the South American mainland, the Galapagos Islands lie within the heart of the equatorial current system. Rising from the sea floor, the volcanic islands of the Galapagos are set on top of a large submarine platform. The main portion of the Galapagos platform is relatively flat and less than 1000 meters in depth. The steepest slopes are found along the western and southern flanks of the platform with a gradual slope towards the east. The interactions of the Galapagos and the oceanic currents create vastly different environmental regimes which not only isolates one part of the Archipelago from the other but allows penguins to live along the equator on the western part of the Archipelago [because of the cold Humboldt or Peru ocean current, shown in blue…Barb] and tropical corals around the islands to the north. The islands are relatively new in geologic terms with the youngest islands in the west still exhibiting periodic eruptions from their massive volcanic craters.
The Galapagos Islands are dramatic from the ground …
… or from a boat, at night, about a quarter-mile offshore (the military tries to evacuate tortoises and other animals at risk when there is an eruption):
Geology (in plain English, with links to individual volcanoes and more information)
Categories: Sunday morning volcano