Sierra Negra

Mon, 2011-07-18 15:52
Sunday
17. July 2011
An hour-long climb over slippery foot paths to the crater’s edge. Sierra Negra is one of the most active of the Galapagos volcanoes; we wait for an hour but nothing happens.

It is one of the five volcanoes that form the island of Isabella. The volcano is one of the most active in the whole Galapagos archipelago; Wikipedia even says it is one of the most volcanically active places on earth.

The last eruption started on 22 October 2005 without any pre-warning. Back then it ejected more than 150 million cubic meters of lava, still visible today as black lava flows in the huge caldera. We discuss the possibility and location of the volcanic hotspot below our feet and wish for a device to look inside the earth.

Later we explore a cave blasted into the fresh magma by volcanic gases. Its pitch black and water is dripping from the ceiling (my poor equipment!). Our torches flicker around and are reflected in the millions of sulphuric, yellowish droplets. Lava has formed stalactite-like droplets on the ceiling, fossils from a long-gone time.

Location

Isla Isabela, Galapagos
Ecuador
0° 51' 5.0724" S, 91° 5' 57.0552" W