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Isabela and Fernandina Islands, the Youngest in the Galápagos Archipelago – March 18th, 2010

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March 18th, 2010 Category: Image of the day, Volcanoes

Galapagos Islands - February 20th, 2010

Galapagos Islands - February 20th, 2010

The Galapagos Islands are an archipelago of volcanic islands distributed around the equator in the Pacific Ocean, 972 km (604 miles) west of continental Ecuador. The islands are geologically young and famed for their vast number of endemic species, which were studied by Charles Darwin during the voyage of the Beagle.

Straddling the equator, islands in the chain are located in both the northern and southern hemisphere with Volcan Wolf and Volcano Ecuador on Isla Isabela being directly on the equator line. Española the southernmost island and Darwin the northernmost island are spread out over a distance of 220 km (137 miles).

The Galápagos Archipelago consists of 7,880 square km (3,042 sq. miles) of land spread over 45,000 square km (28,000 miles) of ocean. The group consists of 15 main islands, 3 smaller islands, and 107 rocks and islets.

The largest of the islands, Isabela, measures 4,640 square km and making up half of the total land area of the Galápagos. Volcán Wolf on Isabela is the highest point with an elevation of 1,707 m (5,600 ft.) above sea level. Isabela occupies the majority of this orthorectified image, with the smaller Fernandina Island visible to the west.

Isabela and Fernandina are the youngest islands. They are still being formed, with the most recent volcanic eruption in April 2009 where lava from the volcanic island Fernandina started flowing both towards the island’s shoreline and into the center caldera.

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