Fernandina Island is the third largest, and youngest, island of the Galapagos Islands. Like the others, the island was formed by the Galapagos hotspot. The island is an active shield volcano that has been erupting since April 11, 2009.
On the 14th of February 1825, while anchored in Banks Bay, Captain Benjamin Morrell recorded one of the largest eruptions in Galapagos history at Fernandina Volcano. His ship escaped to safety and his account of the event was preserved.
Fernandina has an area of 642 km (247.9 Miles2)and a height of 1,476 meters , with a summit caldera about 6.5 km (4 Miles) wide. The caldera underwent a collapse in 1968, when parts of the caldera floor dropped 350 meters. A small lake has intermittently occupied the northern caldera floor, most recently in 1988.
Due to its recent volcanic activity, the island does not present much plant life and has a mostly rocky surface. Visitors to Fernandina Island will be taken to see only the outskirts of the crater for safety reasons. Punta Espinoza is a narrow stretch of land where hundreds of marine iguanas gather in large groups on black lava rocks. The famous Flightless Cormorant inhabits this island as well as penguins, pelicans and sea lions. Two types of lava flow can be observed, aa and pahoehoe. Mangrove forests also abound on the island.
April 2009 Eruption
The southern flank of the volcano La Cumbre had a fissure eruption that generated flows, which subsided within hours. This is the youngest and westernmost island of the archipelago. It was named in honor of King Ferdinand of Spain, who sponsored the voyage of Christopher Columbus. Isla Fernandina supports wildlife that could be threatened by the April 2009 burst of volcanic activity, according to rangers at Galapagos National Park. As the island has no human residents, however, no settlements were endangered. Park rangers and a passing tourist boat initially observed the volcano at 10:00 p.m. local time on April 10, 2009. A sparse human population in the western reaches of the Galapagos Islands means that volcanic activity is not always observed or reported as soon as it starts. The seismic station at Puerto Ayora, on the nearby island of Santa Cruz, recorded no earthquakes associated with this eruption.
List of volcanoes in Ecuador
Special Report: Volcano Erupts on Fernandina Island. Charles Darwin Foundation
Benjamin Morell and the Galapagos Eruption of 1825
Eruption on Isla Fernandina NASA Earth Observatory
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Fernandina Island