Galapagos’ Highest Volcano Erupts For First Time In More Than 30 Years

The highest volcano in the Galapagos Islands erupted early Monday for the first time in nearly 33 years, the archipelago’s national park service reported.

Isabela Island’s Wolf Volcano sent smoke more than six miles high and glowed orange with lava as it overflowed at 1:30 a.m., CNN reported.

The 5,800-foot volcano poses no threat to people, as it is 70 miles from the nearest human population in Puerto Villamil, the Galapagos National Park Service said in a press release translated by the Galapagos Conservancy.

The park service said there is no threat to the many unique species on the islands, where naturalist Charles Darwin first conceived of evolution in the 19th century.

“The world’s only population of pink land iguanas lives on the northwestern side of the volcano, sharing the habitat with yellow land iguanas and giant tortoises,” the park service said. “This population is not expected to be affected at this time. The situation will be monitored in the area once the eruptive activity has subsided and is safe for Park rangers.”

The most pressing threats to the Galapagos Islands’ ecosystem are not natural phenomena like volcanoes, experts say.

“There are far more human-induced threats to the species of the Galapagos,” Hugo Arnal, the World Wildlife Fund’s director for Ecuador, told ABC News. Those concerns, the network reported, include “invasive species, overfishing, pollution, overpopulation and unsustainable tourism.”

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