Fernandina Island first appeared in 1684. Its Spanish name, Fernandina, was given to honor King Fernando of Spain, who sponsored Christopher Columbus’ trip.
The island is most famous for its continuing series of volcanic eruptions who have been witnessed by its early visitors. The most famous of these is the description of a violent eruption in 1825 by Benjamin Morrell, the captain of the New York-based schooner Tartar.
La Cumbre Volcano is a shield volcano whose summit caldera is approximately 6.5 km wide. During an eruption in 1968, the caldera collapsed, resulting in a 350 m fall. The northern bottom of the caldera has held a small lake, whose size, boundaries and position have periodically altered during eruptions. Recent eruptions have occurred both in the caldera and on the outer slopes of the volcano, with some of them reaching the sea. This, is one of the many eruptions recorded by the Galapagos National Park. All not to worry, the entire population has accustomed to them since there is no impact on mainland.
Fernandina remains the most active and most pristine of the Galapagos volcanoes. The island has a large land iguana population, which nests both on the rim of the caldera and in its depths. Due to the cold, upwelling waters of the subsurface Cromwell Current that hit the archipelago from the west where it is pushed to the surface, the waters surrounding Fernandina and western Isabela are the richest waters in the archipelago. These cold waters also provide prime habitat for both Flightless Cormorants and Galapagos Penguins.