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Archive 2012 · Galapagos- #6 Equatorial desert?
  
 
Charlie Shugart
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Galapagos- #6 Equatorial desert?


1- Sitting astride the Equator, the Galapagos are volcanic islands fed by cold sea currents, and have desert-like lower elevations. An unusual combination.
2- An albatross seemingly trying to decide where to build a nest. These very large sea-going wanderers weren't nesting when I was there, but nesting seasons varied because the climate, temperatures and angles of the sun change little along the equator.
(CORRECTION- this is a juvenile frigate. They weren't nesting either, and since they have such tiny feet that they can hardly walk at all, much less climb around on the bushes, I'm unsure why it was there. And frigates are not known for their long-distance flying (like the albatrosses are). They tend to hang out where the boobies fish, and then steal from them while both are flying.)
3- Mocking birds scrounging for whatever fit into their mouths.
4- Green sea turtle. The Galapagos variety is smaller than others, yet at 3-feet long and weighing 400 lbs, they weren't exactly small either.





















Edited on Apr 08, 2012 at 09:42 PM · View previous versions



Apr 08, 2012 at 06:19 PM
arbitrage
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Galapagos- #6 Equatorial desert?


Good shots but the second is a juvenile frigate and not an albatross.


Apr 08, 2012 at 09:27 PM
Charlie Shugart
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Galapagos- #6 Equatorial desert?


arbitrage wrote:
Good shots but the second is a juvenile frigate and not an albatross.


Thanks for the correction. If I had any strengths, identifying juvenile birds in exotic locations probably wouldn't be one of them
Charlie



Apr 08, 2012 at 09:33 PM
surfnron
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Galapagos- #6 Equatorial desert?


It sure does look desolate Charlie. Interesting stuff ~ Ron


Apr 09, 2012 at 01:55 AM
Charlie Shugart
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Galapagos- #6 Equatorial desert?


surfnron wrote:
It sure does look desolate Charlie. Interesting stuff ~ Ron


Thanks, Ron.
Yep, the lower elevations were mostly desert-like. The tour I was on didn't go on any long hikes which would have been necessary to get to the higher elevations where rain was more common, the soil was much more in evidence, and the vegetation was more widespread and varied.
Instead, we maximized the number and variety of islands we visited- which was better for my needs and wishes. Except that we saw no wild Galapagos tortoises They lived mostly at higher elevations (presumably because of the greater food sources).
But we DID see tortoises, which I'll post as the last of this series.
Charlie



Apr 09, 2012 at 03:19 AM
 

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eyelaser
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Galapagos- #6 Equatorial desert?


Amazing how vegetation just grows from rock...guess it just goes to show how fertile lava is. Throw a little seed and some water and poof! Nice series Charlie.
Eric



Apr 09, 2012 at 04:31 AM
kmunroe
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Galapagos- #6 Equatorial desert?


great stuff Charlie.. you always have an interesting post


Apr 09, 2012 at 09:32 AM
Charlie Shugart
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Galapagos- #6 Equatorial desert?


eyelaser wrote:
Amazing how vegetation just grows from rock...guess it just goes to show how fertile lava is. Throw a little seed and some water and poof! Nice series Charlie.
Eric


Thanks Eric and Ken.
Based on the few things I've observed and read about regarding plants growing on lava fields, it seems as though most (all?) lava is made up of minerals that benefit plant growth. The main question is how long it takes the lava to break down enough to be useful for plants to utilize:
Thick, slow-cooling lava takes much longer to become usable than volcanic ash- for example.
Plants took root on Mt St Helens within a year of it exploding and sending ash flows and plumes to cover large sections of land.
But it's more than just lava breaking down into its component minerals.
To have good soil, vegetation also has to be part of the equation.
Plus water to dissolve nutrients and get them into the new plants.
In the case of Mt St Helens after the blowup- all the ingredients were there. Add water and voila! Except for the absence of tall trees, within 10 years of the explosion, the ash fields were jammed with new plant life, including new and small trees by the thousands.
But the Galapagos are different. They came straight up out of the ocean, several miles off the S. American coast. Most likely, for the first few million years there was just the lava and rain. Plant seeds no doubt blew there occasionally, but there was no soil for them for a very long time, so they tried to grow, but probably lived very short lives (at least their death and decay helped build some soil). Eventually a small variety of plant communities got started on the islands. Enough for some plant-eating animals to feed on. But how did the animals get there? Some birds were probably blown off course. Some non-flying animals floated there on clumps of vegetation that washed out to sea. Etc.
Many millions of years later, people happened upon this unique group of islands out in the eastern Pacific. A perfect natural classroom for the likes of Charles Darwin.
And a pretty cool place for you and me to visit also.
Charlie



Apr 09, 2012 at 03:51 PM
Conrad Tan
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Galapagos- #6 Equatorial desert?


Very nice Charlie


Apr 09, 2012 at 04:37 PM





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