ÖSYM • osym
Dec. 2, 2018 2 min

The Galápagos are a fascinating group of volcanic islands lying on the equator in the eastern Pacific Ocean, close to South America. They were created by volcanoes that boiled up from the ocean floor less than 10 million years ago. These islands of bare rocks were gradually colonized by plants and animals - some of which have evolved into weird forms that are found nowhere else on Earth. The Galápagos were created by a hot spot of volcanic activity which now lies beneath the most western island of Fernandina. All the islands are being carried east by the gradual movement of the ocean floor. This means that in about 26 million years they will crash into South America. While the young islands of the western Galápagos are still volcanically active, the volcanoes on the eastern islands such as San Cristobal and Española are extinct. There, volcanic rock has formed fertile soils which support lush vegetation, which in turn provides food even for rare creatures such as giant tortoises. The volcanic landscape, exciting wildlife, and scientific importance of the Galápagos have made them a major tourist attraction. Each year, thousands of people travel to the islands, yet, despite this, most of the islands retain the magical quality of a place almost untouched by the contemporary world.

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