The Galapagos archipelago, situated about 600 miles off the coast of South America, is perhaps one of the world’s most famous volcanically created landmasses. A huge volcanic plume is thought to have created the islands along the tectonic plate boundary where such activity is common. Molten rock spewed from the crevasses in the ocean floor, thanks to the movement of the tectonic plates that form the earth’s crust.
Due to the existence of twelve volcanoes in the Galapagos area, the theory seems to make a lot of sense. Plate tectonics is the system by which the earth’s crust is either created or destroyed at plate boundaries. Either one plate is forced below another, melting and creating enormous pressure that is released periodically in the form of eruptions. Or, when two plates move apart, a plume of lava is released more gradually, forming landmasses known as mid-ocean ridges.
However, the real mystery about the Galapagos Islands formation is that the plume of volcanic activity doesn’t appear to be following the mid-ocean ridge of the Nazca plate. This might explain why the volcanoes are still active in the area but it has left geologists puzzled as to the nature and exact location of the activity under the water.
What scientists studying the area found is that the actual plume is around 155 miles down and 93 miles southeast of Fernandina Island, the location originally suggested for the plume. It is moving at a perpendicular angle to the movement of the plate.
If you look at the Galapagos map before heading on Galapagos tours, you’ll be able to spot Fernandina Island volcano, as well as Sierra Negra and Cerro Azul volcanoes on Isabela. These active volcanoes add to the mystery and mystique of Galapagos tours but now it seems their magic is even more intriguing.
Like so much else on these magical islands, all is not what it seems. The islands seem to hold the key to a never-ending series of enigmas that science is gradually trying to solve, one by one.
If you would like to experience the mystery of the Galapagos Islands for yourself, then Galapagos tours onboard luxury, live-aboard boats allow you to do just that. Bask in the shadow of a mighty Galapagos volcano and wonder in amazement at the sheer force of nature that could have created such an incredible place.
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