Eos, Transactions American Geophysical Union

Synthesizing knowledge of ocean islands



AGU Chapman Conference on the Galápagos as a Laboratory for the Earth Sciences; Puerto Ayora, Galápagos, Ecuador, 25–30 July 2011 An inspiration for Darwin's theory of evolution, the Galápagos Islands and surrounding waters are a natural laboratory for a wide range of Earth science topics. The Galápagos are perfectly situated for geophysical and geochemical investigations of deep-Earth processes at a hot spot, and proximity to a spreading center allows exploration of hot spot-ridge interactions. Several highly active volcanoes show rapid deformation facilitating investigation of melt transport paths and volcanic structure. The islands exhibit a range of ages, eruptive styles, and climatic zones that allow analysis of hydrogeologic and geomorphic processes. The Galápagos Islands are a World Heritage Site and are an ideal setting for developing an integrated biological and geological understanding of ocean island evolution.