Ecuadorian authorities reported Monday that the highest volcano on the Galapagos Islands erupted after a 33-year snooze.
Environmentalists are concerned that the incident may endanger an already fragile ecosystem and put at risk the only pink iguana population on the planet.
Local authorities announced that Wolf Volcano started to fume and spew lava during this Monday’s early hours. Nevertheless, the upturned-soup-bowl-shaped volcano does not represent a threat to nearby human populations because it is located is a remote area.
Wolf volcano is found on Isabela Island one of the 19 Pacific islands that form Galapagos Islands. This Galapagos Island volcano was named after German biologist Franz Theodor Wolf who had studied extensively the islands so his research currently represents a landmark in the islands’ geology.
The islands, which are located about 1,000 km or 560 miles off the continent, are part of Ecuador. They are inhabited mainly by Spanish-speaking populations with no more than 27,000 inhabitants.
The Galápagos National Park which made the announcement related to volcano Wolf’s awakening was initially concerned that the lava flow may destroy the natural habitat of the rare pink iguanas and Galápagos tortoises that dwell there.
But during the early hours, the lava flow went southeastwardly, so the park hopes that the damage would be kept to a minimum since the iguanas live on the other side of the volcano.
Still, the Geophysics Institute warned that the hot lava may severely affect coastal marine animals when it would reach the sea.
Though the park announced that the fuming volcano posed no threat to tourist flights in the area, the Ecuadorian Environment Ministry urged airlines and other tourist operators to stay cautious. The ministers couldn’t be contacted for comment.
Galapagos’ Wolf Volcano first erupted in 1797, while the last time he became active again was in 1982. Although the Galapagos archipelago is world-renowned for its beautiful and one of a kind flora and fauna, it is also known for its restless volcanic activity.
Galápagos Islands are also world famous for being the main source of inspiration of Darwin’s theory of evolution. In 1835, the researcher visited the islands and was amazed by the stunning varieties of one of the islands’ finches.
The little birds helped him write a draft on the famous theory. Back then, he was puzzled by the different shapes and sizes of the birds’ beaks so he tried to explain that through an evolutionary process triggered by their different food sources.
Image Source: Telegraph
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