Genesis: Final Point

2004, Nature  -  53 min Leave a Comment
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From time to time a sea current brings death to the Galapagos Islands. El Nino, a meteorological phenomenon which is becoming notorious all over the world, heats up the waters on the Pacific coast and causes terrible death and destruction to animal species. But Galapagos is not dying. The arrival of El Nino is just a part of the ancient cycle of death and rebirth, a reminder of its genesis and a repetition on an infinitely smaller scale of how life colonized these islands and transformed them into an Earthly paradise.

A boiling and burning material from the center of the Earth bubbles up on the surface... iron, sulfur and silicon at over 1,000 degrees centigrade. Something like this must have been the origin of the Galapagos Islands, but with one difference... the birth of the Galapagos Island occurred underwater.

At first glance the landscape could not seem more desolate, a handful of a burnt out islets, almost a 1,000 kilometers away from the nearest coast. It seems impossible that life could reach this land of volcanoes and yet from the very moment that they've appeared on the surface, five million years ago, the Galapagos started to prepare themselves to house life forms. Erosion was probably the first step.

Winds and water currents broke up the volcanic rock in a gradual process in which enough level of soil was formed for seeds to germinate. The wind and the water joined forces in this job. Not that they only eroded the rock to create soil but they also brought real specialists from the continent that accelerated the process. Algae, spit out on the rock, were forming sediments and eventually soil.

All the living creatures that inhabit Galapagos Islands had to cross thousands of kilometers of sea without fresh water and exposed to the equatorial sun to reach these new desert islands.