Sometimes nature, without any interference from humans, can destroy itself. That’s exactly what could be happening in Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands, as a volcano perched atop one of the remote islands erupted in the early hours of Monday.
The ash and lava flows could mean the end of a unique species of pink iguana.
The 1.1 mile high Wolf volcano is located on Isabela Island, home to a rich array of flora and fauna typical of the island chain that inspired Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution following his visit in 1835.
“The Wolf volcano is not located near a populated area. There is not risk for the human population. This is the only population of pink iguanas in the world,” Galapagos National Park said in a tweet.
The park posted pictures that showed lava pouring down the sides of the Wolf volcano, the highest point in the island chain, while a dark plume of smoke and ash estimated to be 6.4 miles high, billowed above.
Wolf hasn’t seen an eruption in 33 years, according to the park.
For the moment the lava is flowing down the volcano’s southern side while the iguanas, an endangered species, live on the opposite side, the Environment Ministry said in a statement, adding it expected the animals to escape harm if the current eruption continues as it has been.
The lava flow could still harm marine life as it enters the ocean, the Geophysics Institute said separately. While much of the islands are safe from the immediate eruption, the institute feared damage caused by the ash cloud, which could bury whole villages and vast swaths of animal habitat.
The eruption follows seismic activity in April from another volcano on Isabela Island, the archipelago’s biggest, which yellow iguanas and giant turtles also call home.
The eruption in Ecuador follows eruptions in Chile, another South American country located on what is called the Pacific Ring of Fire.Stay Connected