June 16, 2018
The La Cumbre volcano, located on Fernandina Island in the western part of the Galapagos archipelago, erupted on the morning of Saturday, June 16, according to rangers with the Galapagos National Park and various naturalist guides who were in the area (by boat) at the time.
La Cumbre is a shield-type volcano about 4,800 feet in elevation. The last reported eruption was nine months ago, on September 4, 2017, on the southwest side. Fernandina is a very young and uninhabited island with no introduced species. Its ecological value is very high because its ecosystems harbor unique species such as land and marine iguanas, snakes, endemic rats, flightless cormorants, penguins, and more.
Because Fernandina is a pristine island, the Galapagos National Park Directorate will only monitor the eruption to document the changes that this natural geological process produces on the ecosystems and their respective ecological and evolutionary processes.
*UPDATE: As of Thursday, June 21, 2018, the Park reported that lava flows from La Cumbre were subsiding and that only columns of smoke could be seen rising from the volcano.
Photo © Sabina Estupiñan, Galapagos Naturalist Guide