Galapagos geology

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Galapagos Islands Geology


The Galapagos are a group of volcanic islands located above a hot spot near the intersection of the Nazca and Cocos tectonic plates.

The dominant type of volcano found on the islands is the shield volcano, some of which contain huge calderas.

Galapagos geology

Historically recent volcanism has occurred on Alcedo, Cerro Azul, Fernandina, Floreana, Marchena, Pinta, Santiago, Sierra Negra, and Wolf volcano.

Some islands, such as Santa Cruz and San Cristobal, have been active in recent geologic time, yet also show evidence of volcanism occurring as far back as over two million years ago.

Galapagos lava lizard

Galapagos are one of the world’s most active volcanic areas, with over 50 eruptions in the last 200 years. 

The largest island, Isabela, is made up of six volcanoes which have flowed into each other, filling the Pacific gap between them.

Fernandina has erupted on a regular basis, every 4-5 years since 1968, with the last eruption being in 1995 when lava flowed into the sea, also Cerro Azul volcano on Isabella has erupted regularly.

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