Fernandina Volcano | John Seach


(Volcan Cumbres)

Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

0.37 S, 91.55 W
summit elevation 1495 m
shield volcano

Fernandina is the most active volcano in the Galapagos Islands. It has erupted 24 times since 1813. The volcano is located on top of the Galapagos hotspot, at the western end of the island chain.

The caldera floor at Fernandina is steep and almost inaccessible. Iguanas, sea lions, penguins and bullfinches live on Fernandina.

2009 Eruption
A new eruption began at Fernandina volcano on 10th April 2009 at 2200 hr. The seismic station at Puerto Ayora did not record any earthquakes associated with the eruption. The eruption was observed by rangers from Galapagos National Park, and a tourist boat in the early hours of Saturday morning (local time). An eruption column with low ash content was visible on satellite images extending 300 km west of the volcano. Satellite images show several hotspots at Fernandina volcano, which may indicate lava flows. Personnel from the Galapagos National Park on Isabela Island are making a flight over the volcano, to ascertain more precisely the location of the eruption centre, and assess the extent of the lava flows and their likely impact
fauna and flora of the area. The last eruption of Fernandina volcano occurred in 2005, when lava flows originated from a fissure on the south-eastern flank of the volcano and descend without reaching the sea.

2005 Eruption
The 1995 eruption occurred from a radial rift on the southwest flank of the volcano.
Activity gegan on Thursday 12th May 2005 with the emission of a four mile high column of ash. The majority of eruptions of Fernandina Volcano have been confined to the caldera although in 2005 and 1995 there were flank eruptions. Initially a hotspot was visible on satellite images, and the eruption was confirmed after a flyover by light aircraft, as well as observations by National Park personnel who were working in the area. The activity was located along a fissure on the western side of the volcano. There were no observed precursors to the eruption. A seismic station installed in 1996 was not working at the time of the eruption. 

1995 Eruption
Between January and April 1995 an eruption occurred on the SW flank of Fernandina. Minor activity occurred in the summit calderas, but the bulk of the activity occurred on the mid to lower flanks. The eruption began during the evening of 25th January 1995. Two vents opened at elevations of 1,000 m and 750 m above sea level. A third vent opened at 230 m elevation, and produced almost all of the lava of the eruption. Lava flowed 4 km to the coast by the morning of 27th January. Channelized lava flows continued to enter the ocean until 8th April.

1968 Eruption
The 1968 eruption of Fernandina resulted in about 300 m of caldera collapse. The volume of the collapse was over 100 times greater than the volume of lava erupted
during the event.

Fernandina Volcano Eruptions

2009, 2005, 1995, 1991, 1988, 1984, 1981, 1978, 1977, 1973, 1972, 1968, 1968, 1961, 1958, 1937, 1927, 1926, 1888, 1846, 1825, 1819, 1817, 1814, 1813