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Each year approximately 60,000 tourists visit the Galápagos archipelago. The Charles Darwin Research Station (CDRS) in Puerto Ayora welcomes these tourists with information on active research projects conducted by scientists from around the world. Presently, the CDRS does not have an exhibit that highlights research related to the geology of the Galápagos Archipelago. For this reason, a team of scientists and students are developing an interactive exhibit that will allow Earth scientists to present the results of their research in a format that is appealing to both vacationers and to other scientists.

Our exhibit, Volcanic Galápagos, will be one of five interactive displays that are being created for the revitalization of the Charles Darwin Research Station visitors center. The focus of our project is to educate visitors to the Charles Darwin Research Station about the local geology and ongoing research related to the geological formation and evolution of the Galápagos Archipelago. While our efforts will focus on the geology of this unique archipelago, we are planning our efforts so that they will complement other exhibits focussing on topics ranging from the marine environment to species conservation.

We envision two main components to the Volcanic Galápagos exhibit. The first is a real-time display of seismic data recorded by seismic stations within the Galápagos, including maps of significant earthquakes. This part of our project will allow visitors to see how seismic data is used to monitor and understand volcanic and tectonic processes. The second component of our exhibit will be a web-based interpretive tour of geological features found in the Galápagos region. The interactive web site will cover subjects that include the tectonics, geomorphology, volcanism, and seismicity of the Galápagos hotspot and nearby Galápagos spreading center.  Visitors will learn about key concepts related to formation of ocean islands and be able to compare the Galápagos with other ocean island chains, such as the Hawaiian islands and Iceland. The interactive web site will be developed using the VRV-ET tool (for Virtual Research Vessel as an Educational Tool). 

We are currently in the design stages and welcome all inquiries and comments. The completion date, including installation, is forecasted for March 2002.

Please Send Feedback to:

For other reasons contact:
  • Dr. Emilie E. E. Hooft Toomey
    Research Associate
    Department of Geological Sciences
    University of Oregon
    (541) 346-5576

  • Douglas R. Toomey
    Associate Professor
    Department of Geological Sciences
    University of Oregon
    (541) 346-5576
  • Janice E. Cuny
    Associate Professor
    Department of Computer and Information Science
    University of Oregon
    (541) 346-4154
The following are external links to sites and information related to this project.

Oceanography and the Galapagos Islands
Online student presentations created for Geol 307, a course in oceanography at the University of Oregon.

Oman Ophiolite Web Site
This is an earlier site created to display the research, people, and explorations of a group of geologists who traveled to Oman.