Wolf Volcano in Galapagos Islands erupts spewing lava into Pacific Ocean

Wolf Volcano
Image: Galapagos conservation trust

The tallest volcano in the Galapagos Islands has erupted, sending lava into the Pacific Ocean and clouds of ash thousands of metres into the air. The Wolf Volcano, situated on Isabela Island, sent gas and ash around 3,793 metres (12,444ft) above sea level following the eruption, Ecuador’s Geophysical Institute said.

The eruption began just before midnight on Wednesday 5 January and the initial explosion caused rivers of lava to flow down the southern side of the volcano. This facia of the summit is also known as Mount Whiton. While the streams of lava are large and fast-flowing, there is no immediate danger to human life as the populated areas are located on the opposite side of the island.

The institute added that at around 9:35 pm local time a magnitude 2.4 earthquake was recorded, with its epicentre at the volcano. At 11.15 pm, a tremor signal was observed, which it stated was probably associated with the start of the eruption.


It also warned that interaction between fiery lava flows and seawater can cause explosions, so advised people to avoid arriving via sea. This echos advice given during the record-breaking La Palma volcanic eruption that came to a close late last year.

The 1,701 metre (5,580ft) Wolf volcano is one of the numerous active volcanos in the archipelago, which are nearly 1,000km (600 miles) from mainland South America. Isabela Island, where the volcano is situated is the largest in the Galapagos chain.

In the early days of the last Wolf Volcano eruption in 2015, the US government agency said conservation groups feared for the safety of a rare species of pink iguanas, which are only found on Isabela Island, and for the local population of giant tortoises and yellow iguanas.

However, neither species were endangered because the ash and lava flowed, similarly to the most recent eruption, east and southeast while the animals live mostly to the north and west of the summit.

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