QUITO (AP) – The new eruption that began on Friday at the Wolf volcano on Isabela Island, the largest in Galapagos, does not represent a danger to people or endemic species, it was determined in an evaluation by the Emergency Operations Committee (COE).
Monitoring of the natural event, which has been in progress for about 17 hours, ruled out a risk to human health “and, for the moment,” a possible impact on the pink iguanas that inhabit the northern part of the colossus.
The Galapagos Governing Council reported in a statement that the provincial COE session will continue to monitor the phenomenon, especially on the coast and flanks of the volcano, to determine the direction in which the lava is heading.
The Geophysical Institute reported that at 0120 (0620 GMT) on Friday a cloud of gas and ash could be seen that reaches a height of between “3,793 meters above sea level to the northeast and 1,943 meters to the west.”
The volcano, which is reactivated after seven years of relative calm, presents a fissure in the southern area where magma evacuates in the same direction, “towards the interior of the island, for now,” said the Ministry of Environment. . Meanwhile, the columns of smoke and ash are heading towards the north of Isabela, “where there is no human population at risk,” they insisted.
About eight people between park rangers and scientists from the Galapagos National Park and the Conservancy organization were mobilized from the area, as a preventive measure, since “they were on the Wolf volcano carrying out field work with the pink iguanas,” the ministry reported. The team confirmed that the living area of these species is far from the eruption and the impact zone, therefore no additional protection measures have been considered, he added.
Endemic species such as turtles and iguanas settle on the slopes of the volcano, as well as vegetation. The pink iguana is characteristic of the Wolf volcano.
The Galapagos Islands are in constant formation, so one of their main tourist attractions lies in the “volcanic eruptions,” said the Minister of the Environment, Gustavo Manrique who is in the archipelago, the statement cited.
The first images released by the Galapagos National Park and captured by park rangers show plumes of steam and a glowing red on the island, located 1,000 kilometers from the Ecuadorian mainland.
The Wolf volcano – about 1,707 meters high – is located north of Isabela Island and is its highest point. Its last eruption was recorded in 2015.
In 1979 the Galapagos Islands were declared a Natural World Heritage Site, due to its important reserve of animal and plant species, terrestrial and marine, unique in the world.