The Galapagos Islands are an archipelago of volcanic islands distributed right atop the Equator in the Pacific Ocean, 600 miles directly) west of continental Ecuador, of which they are a part. The Galapagos Islands had no original inhabitants, wildlife is its most notable feature. Named ” (Islands of the Tortoises) in reference to the giant tortoises found there.
The Galápagos Islands is composed of thirteen larger islands and numerous smaller islets and rocks. Five major islands — Isabella, Fernandina, San Cristobal, San Salvador, and Santa Cruz, eight other large islands and over forty islets and smaller rocks with official names.
The island and its surrounding waters form an Ecuadorian province, a national park, and a biological marine reserve, were discovered in 1535 by Tomas de Berlanga, the Spanish Bishop of Panama, when his ship drifted by the islands.
It is an area of great geologic activity ,the islands were formed by the combination of tectonic forces and volcanic eruptions. — the Galapagos Islands are one of the most active oceanic volcanoes in the earth. Fifty-three eruptions have been recorded from eight of the Galapagos volcanoes. The islands are considered relatively new, and together with the Archipelagos of Hawaii and Japan, one of the most active volcanic sites on Earth.
Ongoing seismic and volcanic activity with the extreme isolation of the islands which have remained undisturbed for millions of years, led to the development of unusual animal life, and the evolution of unique species, – such as the land iguana, the giant tortoise and the many types of finch.
The Galapagos Islands were an ecological wonderland of largely endemic wildlife and were one of the sources of inspiration for Charles Darwin’s in revolutionary Theory of Evolution- theory of natural selection- long before the cruise ships arrived in 1835. Darwin studied the local wildlife noted that almost all of the animals and plants here were endemic to the islands, and observations of the adaptation of the flora and fauna of the archipelago. These of course contributed to his famous theory of natural selection ,and were crucial in formulating his theory of evolution and natural selection, putting these special islands on the map for the rest of the world to experience.
The islands became Ecuador’s first national park in 1959, Because of its uniqueness and incredible beauty the Galapagos Archipelago was declared Biosphere Reserve, these now aggressively-protected islands and the surrounding marine reserve were both declared World Heritage sites in 1978. and its breathtaking marine reserve is considered one of the top seven sites in the world for diving.
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