Natural and Unnatural History I

I’m traveling in the Galapagos currently.  Hopefully I’m having fun and seeing great birds and other species!  In the meantime here’s a little of what I will hopefully be seeing!

The Galapagos’s Natural and Unnatural History: Geology

The Galapagos are an archipelago of volcanic islands.  Think Hawaii or Japan.  Basically there is a hot spot (a region where magma breaks through the earth) that piles up igneous rock.  These areas if they grow tall enough eventually become volcanic islands.

The Galapagos has 13 large islands, 6 small islands, and 40 small islets.

Why plural?  That’s because the continents are slowly drifting.  So after a good amount of time that created island is no longer over the hotspot and no longer forming.  Instead, there’s a new island forming.

Hot spots come and go as the plates shift.  Spewing is sporadic.  That’s why you don’t get one even large lump of an island.   However, the waters around the island will be shallower due to the spewage that didn’t become islands.

In times of lower sea levels there were fewer, larger islands.  This has wonderfully amazing ramifications for adaptive radiation.

The Galapagos islands began forming about 5-10 million years ago and are continuing to form today, albeit very slowly.  The islands are drifting east growing and eroding with time.

Ariel Galapagos, above and below water.  Photo courtesy of Georgia Regents University, Augusta.

Ariel Galapagos, above and below water.
Photo courtesy of Georgia Regents University, Augusta.

Advertisements

One thought on “Natural and Unnatural History I

  1. Pingback: Natural and Unnatural History II | birdworthy

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s