Galapagos Islands

The Galapagos Islands float in the Pacific Ocean about 900 kilometers west of Ecuador, and are famous as being the home of 13 species of finch that Darwin studied while on his voyage aboard the Beagle and subsequently wrote about in his The Voyage of the Beagle (which later culminated in his famous and controversial Origin of Species, published in 1859). Before Darwin, these islands were also a popular hideout for pirates from the end of the 16th century into the 18th, where they could find abundant fresh water and meat. For almost a hundred years, from 1793 to 1870, visitors to the Galapagos came searching for whale-blubber oil, which brought the tortoise, fur seals, and sperm whales to near extinction. Finally, in 1978, the islands were declared a Unesco World Heritage site. The Galapagos Islands are a group of 13 major islands, 8 smaller islands, and 40 islets. The major islands shown are (clockwise from top center): Pinta, Marchena, San Cristobal, Espanola, Santa Maria, Isabela, Fernandina, and (in the center) Santiago (top), Baltra (middle), and Santa Cruz (bottom). Not shown are Darwin and Wolf in the upper left corner, and Genovesa (east of Marchena). This true-color Terra MODIS image was acquired on April 16, 2003.
Source: Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC

Por Mapas Owje