In 1835 Charles Darwin, aboard the vessel HMS Beagle, first set foot on the Islands of the Galapagos Archipeligo setting off on what would become the inspiration for the most important innovation in biological sciences either before or since. That visit solidified for Darwin his notion of the evolution of life on Earth, and helped trigger his breakthrough regarding Natural Selection, ultimately culminating in his groundbreaking masterpiece On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection. And although Darwin would never return to these Islands in his lifetime, the Galapagos still hold today a vast importance-both symbolic and scientific-to evolutionary biologists everywhere, and have undergone intense scrutiny and study in the 175 years since his arrival. However it is not simply a biological treasure; indeed the Galapagos Islands are among the best examples of some very important geologic theories and processes. While Darwin and the Beagle's five-week visit marked the first ever scientific study of both the ecology and geology of the Islands, they certainly would not be the last. From the science behind how they were formed in the first place, to the extrodinary evidence they present in favor of Continental Drift, Plate Tectonic Theory and the "Hot Spot" hypothesis the Galapagos hold great geologic value as well.
LOCATION, GENERAL GEOGRAPHY AND HISTORY OF THE GALAPAGOS ISLANDS
This archipelago is situated under the equator, at a distance of between five and six hundred miles from the west coast of South America. It consists of five principal islands, and of several small ones...They are all volcanic: on two, craters have been seen in eruption, and on several of the other islands, streams of lava have a ...
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BAILEY, K.IMBERLEY. (1976). Potassium-Argon Ages from the Galapagos Islands. Science, 192(4238), 465-467.
CHUBB, LAWRENCE. (1933). Geology of Galapagos, Cocos and Easter Islands. Bernice P. Bishop Museum, Bulletin 110
DARWIN, CHARLES. (1844). Volcanic Islands. Retrieved February 24, 2010, from http://www.gutenberg.org/cache/epub/3054/pg3054.html.
KRICHER, JOHN. (2002). Galapagos. Smithsonian Institution
UC BERKELEY. (n.d.). plate tectonics: history of an idea. Retrieved February 25, 2010, from http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/geology/techist.html.
USGS.GOV. (2009). Historical perspective [This Dynamic Earth, USGS]. (n.d.). . Retrieved February 20, 2010, from http://pubs.usgs.gov/gip/dynamic/historical.html.
WHITE, W. (1997). Galapagos Geology. Retrieved February 14, 2010, from http://www.geo.cornell.edu/geology/GalapagosWWW/GalapagosGeology.html.
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