Galapagos Rift

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  • Country
  • Volcanic Region
  • Primary Volcano Type
  • Last Known Eruption
  • 0.792°N
  • 86.15°W

  • -2430 m
    -7970 ft

  • 334070
  • Latitude
  • Longitude

  • Summit

  • Volcano

The Global Volcanism Program has no activity reports for Galapagos Rift.

The Global Volcanism Program has no Weekly Reports available for Galapagos Rift.

The Global Volcanism Program has no Bulletin Reports available for Galapagos Rift.

Basic Data

Volcano Number

Last Known Eruption



1996 CE

-2430 m / -7970 ft


Volcano Types

Fissure vent(s)

Rock Types

Basalt / Picro-Basalt

Tectonic Setting

Rift zone
Oceanic crust (< 15 km)


Within 5 km
Within 10 km
Within 30 km
Within 100 km

Geological Summary

The E-W-trending Galápagos Rift, an oceanic spreading ridge between the Cocos plate to the north and the Nazca plate to the south, is located north of the Galápagos Islands. A large area of hydrothermal vents along the crest of the ridge ENE of the Galápagos Islands was discovered in 1977. The location listed here is the position of Clambake vent, which was surrounded by very youthful sediment-free flows of basaltic sheet lava. This position is at the northern limit of the location error circle for a 1972 earthquake swarm and only a few km south of a concurrent fish kill (Macdonald & Mudie, 1974) that may have been associated with extrusion of these young flows. Morphology of the flows suggested that they were less than 5 years old (Chadwick and Embley, 1994). The Galápagos Rift at this point consists of a small rift valley 3-4 km wide with walls 200-250 m high. A low axial ridge formed by the youngest sediment-free lava flows rises about 20 m above the valley floor, flanked by older marginal ridges. A 2002 expedition discovered evidence for new lava flows covering markers emplaced in 1990.


The following references have all been used during the compilation of data for this volcano, it is not a comprehensive bibliography.

Chadwick W W Jr, Embley R W, 1994. Lava flows from a mid-1980s submarine eruption of the Cleft segment, Juan de Fuca Ridge. J Geophys Res, 99: 4761-4776.

Corliss J B, Dymond J, Gordon L I, Edmond J M, Von Herzen R P, Ballard R D, Green K, Williams D, Bainbridge A,, 1979. Submarine thermal springs on the Galapagos rift. Science, 203: 1073-1083.

Macdonald K C, Mudie J D, 1974. Microearthquakes on the Galapagos spreading centre and the seismicity of fast-spreading ridges. Geophys J Roy Astron Soc, 36: 245-257.

Shannk T M, Hammond S, Fornari D, Waller R, Ding K, Seyfried W, Butterfield D, Lilley M D, Perfit M, 2002. Time-series exploration and biological, geological, and geochemical characterization of the Rosebud and Calyfield hydrothermal vent fields at 86° W and 89.5° W on the Galapagos Rift (abs). Eos, Trans Amer Geophys Union, 83: 1336.

Eruptive History

Summary of Holocene eruption dates and Volcanic Explosivity Indices (VEI).

Start Date Stop Date Eruption Certainty VEI Evidence Activity Area or Unit
1996 ± 6 years Unknown Confirmed 0 Historical Observations
1972 Jun 29 ± 1 days Unknown Confirmed   Historical Observations Galápagos Rift (Clambake vent area)

This compilation of synonyms and subsidiary features may not be comprehensive. Features are organized into four major categories: Cones, Craters, Domes, and Thermal Features. Synonyms of features appear indented below the primary name. In some cases additional feature type, elevation, or location details are provided.


Feature Name Feature Type Elevation Latitude Longitude
Clambake Thermal
Rose Garden Thermal
Rosebud Thermal

Photo Gallery

Submarine eruptions at mid-ocean ridges produce fresh lava flows like these "pillow" lavas, which form as lava slowly oozes out of a fissure on the sea floor. The E-W-trending Galápagos Rift, an oceanic spreading ridge between the Cocos plate to the north and the Nazca plate to the south, is located north of the Galápagos Islands. A large area of hydrothermal vents along the crest of the ridge ENE of the Galápagos Islands was discovered in 1977, along with evidence of a recent eruption.

Image courtesy of NOAA Ocean Explorer, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

Smithsonian Sample Collections Database

There are no samples for Galapagos Rift in the Smithsonian's NMNH Department of Mineral Sciences Rock and Ore collection.

Affiliated Sites

Large Eruptions of Galapagos Rift Information about large Quaternary eruptions (VEI >= 4) is cataloged in the Large Magnitude Explosive Volcanic Eruptions (LaMEVE) database of the Volcano Global Risk Identification and Analysis Project (VOGRIPA).
WOVOdat WOVOdat is a database of volcanic unrest; instrumentally and visually recorded changes in seismicity, ground deformation, gas emission, and other parameters from their normal baselines. It is sponsored by the World Organization of Volcano Observatories (WOVO) and presently hosted at the Earth Observatory of Singapore.
EarthChem EarthChem develops and maintains databases, software, and services that support the preservation, discovery, access and analysis of geochemical data, and facilitate their integration with the broad array of other available earth science parameters. EarthChem is operated by a joint team of disciplinary scientists, data scientists, data managers and information technology developers who are part of the NSF-funded data facility Integrated Earth Data Applications (IEDA). IEDA is a collaborative effort of EarthChem and the Marine Geoscience Data System (MGDS).
MODVOLC - HIGP MODIS Thermal Alert System Using infrared satellite Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) data, scientists at the Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology, University of Hawai'i, developed an automated system called MODVOLC to map thermal hot-spots in near real time. For each MODIS image, the algorithm automatically scans each 1 km pixel within it to check for high-temperature hot-spots. When one is found the date, time, location, and intensity are recorded. MODIS looks at every square km of the Earth every 48 hours, once during the day and once during the night, and the presence of two MODIS sensors in space allows at least four hot-spot observations every two days. Each day updated global maps are compiled to display the locations of all hot spots detected in the previous 24 hours. There is a drop-down list with volcano names which allow users to 'zoom-in' and examine the distribution of hot-spots at a variety of spatial scales.
MIROVA Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity (MIROVA) is a near real time volcanic hot-spot detection system based on the analysis of MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) data. In particular, MIROVA uses the Middle InfraRed Radiation (MIR), measured over target volcanoes, in order to detect, locate and measure the heat radiation sourced from volcanic activity.