Volcanoes

This is how volcanic islands like the Galapagos are created

The Galapagos Islands consist of 19 volcanic islands in the Pacific Ocean. And the interior of the earth constantly produces new islands, which are formed by a cocktail of glowing hot fabrics.

The earth is constantly moving. The tectonic plates are shifting, and new islands are emerging from the sea. Every world atlas must therefore be regularly updated.

All these movements are particularly noticeable in volcanic islands such as the Galapagos.

_The Galapagos are known for their rich, unique fauna, although they are relatively arid volcanic islands.

The earth's surface consists of tectonic plates that shift. The Pacific plate moves under the Galapagos Islands with 5 to 9 centimeters per year.

And volcanic activity is greatest around this group of islands. As a result, every now and then a completely new island pops up, a so-called volcanic island, which is formed from materials from the inside of the earth.

The interior of the earth

All kinds of elements occur in the Earth's core, such as uranium, thorium and potassium. If these disintegrate, a lot of energy is released in the form of heat.

The heat in the interior of the earth rises to the earth's crust, as it can be cold in a bunk bed at the bottom and warm at the top.

The rising heat melts the rock it encounters along the way. This is how magma is formed - very gradually, because the closer to the earth's crust, the lower the pressure.

The continental plates start moving due to the currents. They make way for the magma by sliding apart or under each other.

Galapagos is a hotspot

The Galapagos Islands are in the middle of the Pacific plate, and would normally have little trouble with volcanic activity, which mainly takes place around the borders of the plates.

But just like Hawaii and Iceland, the Galapagos Islands are located at a so-called hotspot, where more heat rises under the earth's crust than in other places. The rising heat from the lower part of the Earth's mantle carries liquid magma with it.

The hotspot at Galapagos is so deep that it does not move, but when the Pacific plate moves a few centimeters from west to east every year, the area where magma comes out of the earth's crust also moves.

On the Galapagos Islands you will find the characteristic blue-footed agent.

Over time, magma has been released in various places around Galapagos, forming mountains on the seabed. After a number of eruptions, there is so much solidified magma that it appears on the surface and the Galapagos Islands have a little brother.

>> Go on a journey of discovery in the unique fauna of the Galapagos Islands.

Volcanic islands come and go

With repeated eruptions, lava flows from the volcano on the island, causing it to grow. As long as the hole in the volcano is deep enough, magma comes out and the island gets bigger and bigger.

Island volcanoes don't all look the same. They can take the form of the classical stratovolcano, which protrudes like a cone from the landscape. These mainly occur when two continental plates come together.

With shield volcanoes, the lava flow is thinner and no high cone is formed, but the lava mountain sinks as whipped cream that is not beaten well enough. This gives the volcano a shape that is reminiscent of the shield of the famous giant tortoises in the Galapagos.

An iguana family is lying in the sun on the solidified lava.

Some volcanic islands consist mainly of ash. In that case the sea will wash them away again. But not only islands of ash are perishable. Islands that are made of petrified lava and no longer receive any new material from the inside of the earth will slowly crumble and disappear below sea level.

Video: Galapagos - views of Volcanic islands . . (January 2020).

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