The Galápagos Islands From Space – Universe Today

The Galápagos Islands maintain an honored place in science historical past. I usually marvel, if Charles Darwin may have seen this volcanic archipelago from this vantage level – a satellite tv for pc – how may need that aided or modified his analysis on evolution?

This image is from ESA’s Copernicus Sentinel-2 mission, which consists of two satellites which every carry a high-resolution digicam, able to taking footage of Earth’s floor in 13 spectral bands. The mission is principally used to trace modifications in the way in which land is getting used and to watch the well being of the Earth’s vegetation.

The Galápagos Islands are greatest identified for his or her numerous array of plant and animal species, lots of that are endemic — that means they don’t seem to be discovered anyplace else on the planet. These embody species corresponding to the enormous Galapagos tortoise, the marine iguana, the flightless cormorant and the Galapagos penguin – the one species of penguin that lives north of the equator.

Darwin noticed these species through the voyage of the HMS Beagle in 1835 and impressed his principle of evolution by pure choice. The complete archipelago of 13 main islands and a number of other islets had been named as nationwide park in 1959 by the government of Ecuador.  The Galápagos Islands are positioned about 1,000 km (620 miles) west of Ecuador within the Ocean.

On this picture, captured on September 23, 2020, round volcanic cones may be seen atop the islands. At the ESA website, you can zoom in to see this image at a high, full 10 m resolution.

Right here’s one other view of the islands, from the Envisat satellite. The picture was obtained by combining three completely different gathered on completely different dates throughout 2008 and 2009 by the satellite tv for pc’s Aperture Radar (ASAR).  

The Galápagos Islands from the Envisat satellite tv for pc. Credit score: ESA.

The colours within the picture end result from variations within the floor that occurred between acquisitions. Along with mapping modifications on the land floor, radar information will also be used to find out sea floor parameters like wind pace, wind path and wave peak. Completely different wave sorts and wind speeds are seen within the picture as ripples on the water floor.

The Galápagos Islands cowl roughly 60,000 sq km (23,166 sq miles) of ocean. Repeated volcanic eruptions and ongoing seismic exercise shaped the rugged mountain panorama of the islands.

The biggest island is called Isabela, and is formed like a seahorse. It’s about 132 km (82 miles) in size, and was created by a number of giant volcanoes merging right into a single land mass. The 5 volcanoes seen on the island are (from north to ): Wolf Volcano, Darwin Volcano, Alcedo Volcano, Sierra Negra Volcano and Cerro Azul Volcano. Two of the island’s volcanoes, Ecuador and Wolf, lie straight on the Equator. Wolf is the best peak within the Galápagos Islands, at 1,707 m (5,600 ft), and the final time it erupted was in 2015.

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