- Title: ECUADOR: Volcano lava spew causes havoc in Galapagos waters
- Date: 18th April 2009
- Summary: SANTA CRUZ, GALAPAGOS, ECUADOR (FILE) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF SEA LIONS
- Embargoed: 3rd May 2009 13:00
- Location: Ecuador
- Country: Ecuador
- Topics: Nature / Environment
- Reuters ID: LVA4QKUCQZEE801PSGVSUCSEA87J
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- Story Text: These dramatic pictures taken from a helicopter show a trail of molten rock pouring from the La Cumbre volcano on the Galapagos Islands on Wednesday (April 15).
The lava shoots up flames in places and is red hot.
It has trailed along an enormous length of the island of Fernandina in the Galapagos archipelago on its way to the sea. The molten rock is heating up ocean waters and threatening various fish and sea lion species, according to national park authorities.
"These are natural processes, obviously uncontrollable and periodical, which means the islands are still located inside of the Pacific's Ring of Fire, or the highly volcanic area. Since the islands have a volcanic origin they continue volcanic activity, especially the youngest, such as Fernandina and Isabela: both emerged from the sea less than a million years ago," former Galapagos National Park director, Marco Altamirano, said.
"Volcano eruptions can factor in to evolution processes, meaning that the eruption of a volcano has always determined the origin of new species, or its extinction," he said.
The volcano last erupted four years ago.
The English naturalist Charles Darwin developed his evolution theory after studying the unique animal populations of the Galapagos Islands - and they have attracted biologists and conservationists ever since.
The islands are scarcely populated, but the United Nations last year said the Galapagos' pristine environment was in danger due to booming tourism and immigration.
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