Lava fountains from Fernandina volcano in the Galapagos Islands feed digitate lobes of lava in 1978 that travel across a down-dropped block of the NW caldera bench, about 380 m below the caldera rim. The 1978 eruption began on August 8, when a 6-km-high eruption cloud was visible from distant locations in the archipelago, and apparently ended on August 26. During the course of the eruption lava flows traveled 2 km into the caldera lake, more than 400 m below.
Fernandina volcano displays the classic overturned soupbowl profile of Galapagos volcanoes. Steep upper flanks formed by eruptions of lava flows from circumferential fissures around a summit caldera rim contrast with the broad, low-angle lower flanks and horizontal flows around the summit. Scientists from the Smithsonian Institution, U.S. Geological Survey, and the Charles Darwin Research Station conduct measurements on a pahoehoe lava flow near the SE coast. Vast fields of fresh, unvegetated lava flows cover the volcano's flanks.