The Galapagos Islands are an archipelago of volcanic islands located around the equator in the Pacific Ocean. The islands are located on the Nazca Plate, which is an active tectonic plate shifting underneath the South American Plate. An active mantle plume has caused each island to form as the Nazca Plate has shifted. The most recent active eruption of the volcanic islands took place in May 2015 at Wolf Volcano on the western island of Isabela. The Galapagos Islands geology has played an integral role in the evolution of living things. Understanding the Galapagos Islands geology can help you to gain a great appreciation for the beauty and unique features that each of the islands has to offer during your vacation.
Discover why a Galapagos luxury cruise is one of the best ways to explore the islands, and learn how to get the most from your Galapagos vacation.
For centuries upon centuries, the Galapagos Islands were left to the sole forces of nature: fed by the multiple marine currents that sweep past their shores, contorted by the ENSO climatic fluctuations and warmed by the strong rays of the equatorial sun. With little competition and predation on these isolated islands, plants and animals were able to evolve as they pleased based on the reality of the archipelago, resulting in particularly unique evolutionary traits. From the goofy blue-footed boobies to the tiny Galapagos penguin and renowned Darwin finch, these adaptations are beautifully represented in the many species of Galapagos birds. Furthermore, their highly ritualized mating dances, spectacular diving skills and adorable, fluffy chicks provide a wide range of unforgettable photo opportunities.
When is the best time to visit the archipelago? Read this Galapagos month-by-month guide before you decide the date of your trip.
On September 8, 2016 we caught a glimpse of the Galapagos Islands as never seen before. San Francisco Park in Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz Island staged the worldwide premier of the most recent Galapagos Documentary on National Geographic Foundation’s, “Galapagos, Islands of Evolution.” The 45-minute documentary highlights the rich and spectacularly unique biodiversity that inhabits the Galapagos Islands, placing particular emphasis on the marine life that has made the Wolf and Darwin islands renowned worldwide.
Blue-footed boobies are large sea birds (with a five-foot wingspan and measuring 70-90 cm in length) that are most recognizable by their stunning sky-blue feet. They can be observed breeding along the coast of Southern California and down the western coast of America to Peru, but are most commonly known to inhabit the Galapagos Islands. Galapagos Blue-footed boobies are one of the most iconic species in the archipelago, and are celebrated for their spectacularly precise plunge-diving and their highly-ritualized (and somewhat comical) mating dances that optimistic males display for onlooking females. However, while they are the most renowned booby birds and the most frequently seen, this is the smallest population of the booby family and, sadly, there numbers are decreasing.
Taking the title for the hottest year on record, 2016 has seen a wide range of climatic disasters, from severe droughts to torrential rains. While this is partly due to the rising effect of climate change, it is also influenced by El Niño, which opened the year. Yet, as we awe at record-breaking heat during a typically frigid Canadian winter and share concern for the millions displaced by flooding, we overlook the effect on the Galapagos Islands as its delicate ecosystem is thrown off balance. Learn about the climate change and el Niño in Galapagos.
The first settlers in the Galapagos that arrived to the islands played an intense game of fate and luck. Surviving under the hot equatorial sun without food or fresh water for up to weeks at a time was certainly not for everyone. However, when they got to the islands, neither was there a five-star hotel waiting. The introduction of life to these barren volcanic islands was a slow and extremely complex process, as it didn’t just have to arrive, but also find the appropriate habitat to survive and reproduce in a land made from molten lava and ash.
Crystal-clear turquoise water frames white, peaceful beaches where sea lions lay smiling among deep black volcanic rocks and colorful sally light-foot crabs, all warmed by the last rays of a setting sun as it dances across the water towards the horizon. The pure light, undisturbed nature and spectacular colors make the Galapagos Islands a paradise for any eager photographer. Learn some tips to take the best photographs in Galapagos.