31 Galapagos Islands Facts: A Great Place For Wildlife Lovers | Kidadl


31 Galapagos Islands Facts: A Great Place For Wildlife Lovers

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If you're a fan of wildlife, you'll love the Galapagos Islands.

These islands have among the highest biodiversity on Earth and are home to some amazing creatures. The Galapagos Islands constitute a group of volcanic islands located in the Pacific Ocean, with the archipelago being found about 560 mi (900 km) off Ecuador’s coast, near the Equator line.

So, if you want to learn more about these beautiful islands and all that they have to offer, read on!

Geology Of Galapagos Islands

The Galapagos Islands are also known as the Enchanted Isles or Islands of Volcanoes for their location and presence of volcanic landforms.

These islands were formed by a series of undersea volcanic eruptions that took place millions of years ago from west to east. These eruptions were caused when two tectonic plates collided together: the Nazca plate (located underneath the Pacific Ocean) and the South American plate (underneath South America).

This collision pushed up magma dome-like formations, which then erupted into volcanoes and created the Galapagos Islands.

The first of these eruptions, which formed the oldest island in the archipelago, Lizard Island, took place about eight million years ago.

The most recent eruption was that of Fernandina volcano, located on Isabela Island, about 500 years ago. The islands are still volcanically active with five out of 13 islands having permanent volcanic activity.

The first inhabitants of these islands were most probably from South America and arrived by boat or raft as early as 3,000 years ago.

The first Europeans to discover the islands were Spanish sailors led by Francisco de Huelva in 1535. Later, in 1541-1542, another Spanish expedition led by Bartolomé de las Casas landed on San Cristobal Island and enslaved the native people.

The Galapagos Islands were officially claimed by Spain in 1790 and became a province of Ecuador in 1832 after Ecuador’s independence from Gran Colombia.

The archipelago was designated a National Park in 1959, with Charles Darwin’s visit to the islands playing a pivotal role in this designation. The park was then made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978.

Today, more than 250,000 visitors per year go to the Galapagos Islands to enjoy its unique wildlife and landscapes.

Ecology of Galapagos Islands

The Galapagos Islands have a unique ecosystem, which has been studied by many biologists and ecologists.

The Galapagos Islands are located at the equator in the eastern Pacific Ocean, hence they have a year-round tropical climate. There are more than 400 native plants and animals living on the Galapagos Islands including giant tortoises, marine iguanas, sea lions, and fur seals.

The islands are also a stopover point for many migratory birds, as well as home to endemic species like the waved albatross, blue-footed boobies, and Galapagos mockingbirds.

The Galapagos Islands were formed as a by-product of the eruption of six volcanoes, which are still geologically active.

The highlands on the islands are made up of older, harder rock, while the lowlands are made up of younger, softer rock that is more easily eroded. This creates a varied landscape with different elevations, which in turn creates diverse habitats for the animals and plants that live there.

The marine species around the Galapagos Islands are incredibly diverse. There are over 600 species of fish and other wildlife living in the waters around the islands including sharks, sea lions, green sea turtles, rays, and barracudas. The ocean floor is also home to colorful corals and sponge gardens.

The islands also host the only species of marine iguanas, the Galapagos marine iguana, as well as a rare pink species of pink iguanas, which inhabit the area around Wolf volcano. The central islands are also home to the Galapagos penguin, the only species of penguin that lives above the equator.

Most of the endemic species on the Galapagos Islands thrive as there are little to none of their natural predators nearby.

The Galapagos giant tortoise is the longest living species of tortoise in the world, and lives in the Galapagos Islands!

The Climate Of The Galapagos Islands

The climate of the Galapagos Islands is classified as a tropical savanna climate.

The temperature range is relatively small, with an average high of around 86 F (30 C) and an average low of around 74 F (23 C).

The islands generally experience two seasons: a hot, humid rainy season from December to June, and a cooler, drier season from July to November.

There is little seasonal variation in temperature because the islands are located on the equator. However, there is significant variation in rainfall between different parts of the archipelago; the western side tends to be wetter than the eastern side.

The ocean surrounding the Galapagos Islands plays an important role in moderating the climate. It has a significant impact on the islands temperature and precipitation.

The water in this region is generally cool, as it comes from upwellings of colder water forced to rise by prevailing winds.

In addition, the ocean's currents bring cold water northward along the coast of South America before reaching the Galapagos Islands. This allows for cooler temperatures throughout most of the year than would otherwise be expected at these latitudes.

The climate can also vary greatly between different parts of an island depending on factors such as the elevation of the landmasses and their proximity to bodies of water.

On San Cristobal Island, for example, there are two main climatic zones: one that receives more rain and is characterized by cloud forest vegetation, (the higher, western part of the island); and one that receives less rain and is characterized by arid scrubland vegetation (the lower, eastern part of the island).

The island's relatively small size also plays a role in its climate. This can be seen on San Cristobal Island, where temperatures may differ between beaches facing different directions due to varying wind patterns.

In addition, smaller landmasses are more susceptible to changes in weather than larger ones because they have less mass for absorbing or reflecting heat from the atmosphere. Smaller bodies of water such as lagoons may also experience greater temperature fluctuations than larger bodies of water such as oceans.

The climate of the Galapagos Islands is unique and plays an important role in the ecology of its animal life.

The warm, humid environment is ideal for many species of plants and animals, including those that are found nowhere else on Earth. By understanding the climate of the islands, we can better appreciate and protect the amazing wildlife species living there.

Major Islands

There are 13 major islands in the Galapagos archipelago.

There are Baltra, Daphne Major, Española, Floreana, Genovesa, Isabela, Marchena, North Seymour, Pinzón, Pinta, San Cristóbal, Santa Cruz, and South Plaza.

Out of these, the four inhabited islands of the Galapagos are Santa Cruz, Isabela, San Cristobal, and Floreana. Almost 25,000 people live among them.

In addition to the above major islands, there are many smaller ones not listed here which can be seen on a map of the Galapagos Islands.


Why is it called Galapagos?

The islands are named after the Spanish word for 'saddle', named after the shells of the giant tortoises which resembled horse saddles!

What is Galapagos also known as?

The islands are also known as Islas Galápagos, in Spanish.

How old are the Galapagos Islands?

These islands are estimated to be around five million years old.

Who lives in the Galapagos Islands?

The people living in the Galapagos Islands are the Mestizo people, who are thought to be descended from the Native Americans and Spanish.

How many islands are in Galapagos?

There are 13 major islands as well as a number of smaller islands in the Galapagos group of islands.

How big are the Galapagos Islands?

The Galapagos islands cover an area of around 4,977 sq mi (12,890 sq km).

The Kidadl Team is made up of people from different walks of life, from different families and backgrounds, each with unique experiences and nuggets of wisdom to share with you. From lino cutting to surfing to children’s mental health, their hobbies and interests range far and wide. They are passionate about turning your everyday moments into memories and bringing you inspiring ideas to have fun with your family.

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