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Volcanic Explosion Rattles Delicate Galapagos Island Wildlife

April 17, 2009

A volcanic eruption has compromised the wildlife of the ecologically-delicate Galapagos Islands, resulting in the deaths of fish and sea lions over the weekend, officials announced Thursday.

Deceased wildlife floated in the Pacific Ocean waters surrounding the well-known island chain shortly after the Saturday explosion of the La Cumbre volcano, officials said.

Officials said a 30 foot wide lava stream descended into the water after the eruption.

The 4,500 ft tall volcano last erupted four years ago.

Authorities stated firmly that the eruption is a fraction of the Galapagos’ ecosystem and they will not interfere, except to “monitor and document the changes” on the plants and vegetation.

The 13 main islands and 17 islets creating the Galapagos Islands are a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site.

In 2007, UNESCO confirmed that the legendary island chain’s environment was at risk from the large amount of tourism and the introduction of insidious alien species.

The unspoiled setting was where Charles Darwin carried out his notorious research that paved the way for his ground-breaking theory of evolution.

Image Caption: La Cumbre volcano, Fernandina Island, Galapagos. Photographed from the International Space Station. (NASA)

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