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History Environment and Description Located in one of the most active volcanic regions on earth the Galapagos are located on the Nazca Plate close to its junction with the Cocos Plate As are of the spreading of the sea floor the movement of the plates in relation to each other along the Galapagos Rift and the East Pacific Rise the islands are moving south and eastward at a rate of more than 7 cmyr which may not seem fast but would over a million years or so amount to 70 km of movement The evidence that the plate on which the islands sit is moving eastward is that the oldest islands are in the eastern part of the Archipelago There is also volcanic activity where the western island is now In fact it is on these Western Islands where all the recent volcanic activity has occurred while the Eastern Islands are the oldest The Hot Spot Theory states that in certain places around the earth there are more or less stationary areas of intense heat in the mantle These hot spots cause the crust to melt in certain places and give rise to volcanoes The Galapagos and Hawaiian Islands have mild volcanic eruptions where volcanic material comes out gently to form large lava flows rather than explosions The result is that the major Galapagos volcanoes tend to have smooth shield Which were formed by explosive eruptions The Galapagos archipelago consists of thirteen major islands six minor islands and 40 some smaller rock formations and reefs spread out over 17000 square miles of ocean This cluster of Islands located on the equator are situated 600 miles
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