Galapagos geography

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Galapagos Islands Geography


The Galapagos are an isolated group of volcanic islands that lie in the Pacific Ocean on the equator about 90° west of Greenwich.

The nearest mainland is Ecuador, some 1000 km to the east, and Costa Rica, almost 1100 km to the northeast. 

Galapagos snorkelling

There are 13 major islands (ranging in area from 14 sq km to 4588 sq km), six small islands (1 sq km to 5 sq km) and scores of islets, of which only some are named.

Española the southernmost island and Tower the northernmost island are spread out over a distance of 132 miles (220 km). The islands are found at the coordinates 1°40'N-1°36'S, 89°16'-92°01'W. In total land area, the islands are 4897 sq. miles (7880 sq. km) and in the total geographical area from Darwin Island to San Cristobal and Española, 28,000 sq. miles (45,000 sq. km).

Galapagos dove

The largest island is Isabela, at 1771 sq. miles (4855 sq. km), while it makes up close to half the land area of the Galapagos, is still less than half the size of the island of Hawaii. Its largest volcano, Wolf volcano has maximum altitude of 5600 ft. (1707 m) making it the highest point in the archipelago.

Most of the islands have two - sometimes three - names. The earliest charts gave the islands both Spanish and English names, and the Ecuadorian government assigned official names in 1892. An island can thus have a Spanish name, an English name and an official name. The official names are used here in most cases; the few exceptions will be indicated.

Galapagos Islands geology
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