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Galapagos Islands

4th November, 2023 Geography

Galapagos Islands

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Scientists recently found two new coral reefs and two unexplored seamounts in the Galapagos Islands.


  • It is an archipelago of volcanic islands.
  • Location: The islands are located in the eastern Pacific Ocean, 973 km off the west coast of South America.
  • Distribution: They are distributed on each side of the equator in the Pacific Ocean, surrounding the center of the Western Hemisphere.
  • Country: It belongs to the Republic of Ecuador that lies 926 km to the east.
  • Significance: The islands are known for their large number of endemic species that were studied by Charles Darwin during the second voyage of HMS Beagle.
  • Galapagos Triple Junction: The islands are located at the Galapagos Triple Junction. The Galapagos Triple Junction is a geological area in the eastern Pacific Ocean several hundred miles west of the Galapagos Islands where three tectonic plates - the Cocos Plate, the Nazca Plate and the Pacific Plate - meet.
  • The archipelago is precisely located on the Nazca Plate (a tectonic plate), which is moving east/southeast, diving under the South American Plate at a rate of about 2.5 inches (6.4 cm) per year.
  • Climate: The archipelago is mainly characterized by a mixture of a tropical savanna climate and a semi-arid climate. It also transits into a tropical rainforest climate in the northwest.
  • Highest Point: Mount Azul, at 5,541 feet is the highest point of the Galapagos Islands.
  • Endemic Species: The islands are well known for their distinctive endemic species, including giant tortoises, finches, flightless cormorants, Galápagos lava lizards and marine iguanas, which evolved to adapt to islands' environments.
  • Recognition: In 1978 the islands were designated a UNESCO World Heritage site.
  • Exclusive Species: Galápagos marine iguana is a species of iguana found only on the Galápagos Islands (Ecuador).

Facts about Coral Reef Facts

  • Corals are marine invertebrates (animals without a spine).
  • Each coral is known as a polyp, and hundreds of them dwell together to form a colony, which expands as polyps multiply to make copies of themselves.
  • Corals have a symbiotic association with zooxanthellae, which are single-celled algae.
  • The algae offer food and nutrients to the coral by photosynthesis, which they perform using the sun's light.
  • In turn, the corals provide a home for the algae as well as important nutrients. Corals get their vibrant colour from zooxanthellae.


With reference to Galapagos Islands, consider the following statements:

  1. The islands are located in the Western Pacific Ocean.
  2. It belongs to the Republic of Ecuador.
  3. The archipelago is precisely located on the Nazca Plate.
  4. In 1978 the islands were designated a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Which of the above statements is/are correct?

  1. A) 1 and 2 only
  2. B) 2, 3 and 4 only
  3. C) 1, 2 and 4 only
  4. D) 1, 3 and 4 only

Answer: B