Galapagos Rift

Galapagos Rift, Equador is a volcanic hotspot located in the East Pacific Ocean that resulted in the formation of the Galapagos Islands and Malpelso, Carnegie, Cocos all which are aseismic ridge systems lying on two tectonic plates. The rift is found on the on the Nazca Plate close to the Cocos plate and the Pacific plate forming the Galapagos Triple Junction. The Galapagos Rift, Equador, is about 20 million years old. It has a very complex tectonic setting. Evidence seems to suggest that the rift is as a result of one massive meltdown rather than many periods of dormancy and activity. The case in Hawaii is different and is as a result of many eruptions and dormancy.

The Carnegie Ridge lies on the Nazca plate and is 373 miles long and 186 miles wide. The Malpelo Ridge, which measures 186 miles long is believed to have originally been part of the Carnegie Ridge. The Cocos Ridge is 620 miles long and lies on the Cocos plate. The Cocos Islands are about 2 million years old and are therefore as a result of subsequent eruptions.

The islands close to the Galapagos Rift, Equador, had no original inhabitants and were only discovered in 1535 when a Spanish citizen and Bishop of Panama shop drifted to the islands. They then marked their appearance in maps in the late 16th century and were referred to as the Island of the tortoises. The islands were a perfect hide-out for pirates and buccaneers. They then served as a base for whalers for some time because they had unlimited fresh water resources as well as a supply of fresh meat. The Islands became Ecuador’s first national park in the year 1959 and have been afforded the status of World Heritage Site. Travel to these islands is strictly controlled by the government of Ecuador.