According to the Geophysical Institute (I) of the National Polytechnic School, the Galapagos' La Cumbre volcano – located on Fernandina island – erupted Saturday.
The eruption took place between 11:00 a.m. and 11:15 a.m. (Galapagos time) and was preceded by a series of nine earthquakes ranging from 2.5-magnitude to 4.1-magnitude. La Cumbre volcano measures 1,476-meter high and occupies almost the entire island. The eruption occurred on the northeastern sector of the volcano.
Lava flows and a gas column spanning about two to three kilometers high have been a feature of the eruption. Reports are that a flow has already reached the sea.
“There are some species that could be affected, however, being a flow (of lava) that is in only one direction, on only one side of the island, the possible impacts that there would be would not have a significant impact on biodiversity,” director of the Galapagos National Park (PNG), Jorge Carrion, assured.
The statement disclosed that there are no human settlements in that area of the archipelago where the eruption took place, adding that there has been no evidence of ash emission, so far.
However, Terrestrial and marine iguanas, endemic rodents, snakes, penguins and finches can be found on Fernandina, which is the youngest island of the archipelago.
"This is a natural process with which the species that inhabit that island have lived together throughout their lives and it would be wrong for us to intervene in these processes," Carrion told AFP, explaining that there were no plans to evacuate the animals.
The Galapagos, known for its unique flora and fauna, is part of the planet's biosphere reserve and is one of the most delicate ecosystems in the world.
The archipelago is a declared Natural World Heritage Site.