Where are the Galapagos Islands?

You might be wondering where the Galapagos Islands are. They are in a very special place in the world, which makes the islands so special and different from anywhere else on earth.

1. The Galapagos Islands are in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

The Galapagos Islands are part of the continent of South America and part of the country of Ecuador. But, the closest land is more than 600 miles away. This is important because the currents of the ocean, which is the way warm and cold water in the ocean move around, bring different animals and plants to the islands. We will talk more about the Galapagos ocean currents and wildlife later.

2. The Galapagos Islands are on the equator.

You may have learned the equator is an imaginary line that we draw around the middle of the earth on maps. Some of the Galapagos Islands are north of the equator and some are south of it. I will be crossing the line when I am on the ship! The sun hits the equator in the same way every day. So, the weather in the Galapagos Islands is pretty warm all year. They do not have winter there.

3. Each of the islands is different from the others.

In Galapagos, there are 19 islands together. Some are big and some are small. They are also different ages. The oldest island is more than 4 million years old. The youngest island is less than 1 million years old. This is because they were made from underwater volcanoes erupting at different times. Some of the islands are still active - one just erupted this summer! These are called hot spots. We will talk more about hot spots soon.

The Galapagos Islands have a special place in the world!  Photo by Alison Travis

The special location and weather means very special plants and animals live on the islands. This is why scientists like to study there and people like to visit there. The islands are very remote, which means far away from other places and people. The land and water is also cleaner than other places. There is no other place like the Galapagos Islands!

 

Source: Geomorphology of the Galapagos
Source: BBC documentary, Galapagos: the Islands that Changed the World