Friday 9 February 2024

Galapagos journals Day 10

Dear diary,

Today we did our first tour on Isabela and it was amazing and unlike anything else we've done so far. We drove up to the biggest active volcano on the island called Sierra Negra. The volcano last erupted in 2018, so only a few years ago. Sierra Negra wasn't just any volcano, it was huge! The caldera is around 10kms diameter and, apparently, it is one of the world's largest craters. But the difference is that it isn't a cone volcano which are usually tall and deep. It is a shield volcano, which is a type of volcano named for its low slopes, a bit like a shield lying on the ground.  

We descended into the caldera where you could actually see the huge iron ore and sulphur rocks. We were able to see how much iron embodied the rock, and observe the metallic rust in the cracks of the boulders. 

We also visited the sulphur mines, an area inside the crater called Minas de Azufre, a very large fumarolic area. This is where sulphur gases escape out into the air. The smell was overpowering but in some places the sulphur had set like bright yellow crystals on the rocks. The bright yellow colour of the sulphur stood out so clearly against the black volcanic rock - it was very impressive. 

I have to say though that going up the crater was much harder than going down. I am not sure whether it was because I was feeling tired or there was something about the smell of the sulphur. 

In the afternoon, we went back to the beach and, while jumping over the waves, we saw...I hope you are seating down for this...four penguins fishing! Yes, you read this right. There were penguins fishing and swimming happily in the waves just off the beach. Wow!

Tomorrow, we are going for another tour so another early morning start.

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