Galapagos » Islands » Pinta Island

Pinta Island

Galapagos giant tortoise

Pinta is an elongate shield rising from a northwest trending submarine ridge. The summit, at 850 m elevation, has a small collapse pit, but no caldera is present. The elongated island of Pinta is the northernmost of the active Galapagos volcanoes.

Many of the lavas erupted during the shield stage have very abundant large white crystals of plagioclase. While plagioclase is common in basaltic lavas, the remarkable abundance and size of these crystals is extremely unusual.

Rocks such as these have been given the name "abingtonite" after the island. Abingtonites are occasionally found elsewhere in the Galapagos, particularly on neighboring northern islands.

Plagioclase is often lighter than basaltic magmas from which they crystallize. The formation of abingtonites most likely involves the concentration of plagioclase in the tops of magma chambers through floatation.

Pinta's most famous inhabitant was Lonesome George. Due to whaling ships and buccaneers, many tortoise populations were destroyed.

The introduction of goats on Pinta was probably the straw that broke the camel's back leaving one Pinta tortoise in this world. Lonesome George is the last Pinta tortoise.

For years, scientists hoped to find him a mate, but George is destined to life as a bachelor, and when he goes, so does his race.

You can now visit Lonely George at the Charles Darwin Research station on Santa Cruz Island.

The land area of Pinta Island (60 square kilometres) is protected and the island receives few visitors except scientists.



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