Galapagos Chain

22 Dec 2016

At http://phys.org/print401459494.html ... the Galapagos islands are home to some unusual plants and animals that show it must have been isolated from the mainland for a considerable period of time - but for how long? A new study alleges they have cracked it. They can pinpoint when all the biology was set in motion.

The Galapagos islands are situated on what is known as the Nazca plate and this is thought to override a tectonic hot spot. As a result of this volcanic activity beneath the ocean creates sea mounts that grow over time into islands that pop out above the sea level. The various islands are said to have emerged at different times. One after the other over millions of years. One of these islands, it was found, or calculated, blocked the ocean current, 1.6 million years ago. All the evolution on the Galapagos has taken place within that time scale. It seems that for some reason the cool water started to well up along the Galapagos rather than at the mainland and the inference is that volcanism blocked the current and created conditions for today's plants and animals to evolve. One other way to look at it is that the Galapagos were for a period not separated by ocean at all - but that is fantastical.At https://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/12/21/unexplored-ocean-depths-bustling-... ... which is an interesting story provoking some interesting comments. There are vents on the ocean that continue to spew out material, including co2, and life is abundant at the junction of crust and ocean. The temperature is said to reach 365 degrees (even greater than global warming predictions) yet lots of animals appear to thrive. True, not humans - but we don't live in the ocean. Shrimps, crabs, mussels. limpets, lobsters, sea anemones and various forms of worm all thrive at great depth in very hot conditions - and there is a video to play of these creatures. The observation indicates these vents are very long lived and distinct from hot spots. Take a bow for this one. Excellent.