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.