Monday, 8 October 2012

On this Day: 8th October 1835, Charles Darwin lands on James Island in the Galapagos

The survey ship HMS Beagle, under captain Robert FitzRoy, arrived in the Galápagos Islands on the 15th September 1835 to survey approaches to harbours. The captain and others on board, including his companion, the young naturalist Charles Darwin, made observations on the geology and biology on Chatham, Charles, Albemarle Islands before arriving at James Island on the 8th October 1835 where they remained until leaving on the 20th October to continue the rest of their round-the-world expedition.

Primarily a geologist at the time, Darwin was impressed by the quantity of volcanic craters they saw, later referring to the archipelago as "that land of craters." His study of several volcanic formations over the 5 weeks he stayed in the islands, led to several important geological discoveries, including the first, correct explanation for how volcanic tuff is formed] Darwin noticed the mockingbirds differed between islands, though he thought the birds now known as Darwin's finches were unrelated to each other, and did not bother labelling them by island.

Photo Legacy: Making your memories last forever

Image courtesy of the Smithsonian Institution under The Commons Agreement on Flickr


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