Fernandina is the third largest of the Galápagos Islands and first appeared on maps (under the name of Narborough Island) in 1684. It sits in the middle of the hot spot that created the Galápagos Islands and is most famous for its continuing series of volcanic eruptions; most recently the eruptions of May 2005 and April 2009. Punta Espinoza is a narrow ledge of lava and sand that extends from the base of the volcano to the sea.
As lava travels down the volcano sides, the surface of the flow will cool much more rapidly. The surface of the flow forms two different types of lava called, ‘aa’ and ‘pahoehoe’. ‘Aa’ lava has a rough, jagged surface due to the gas explosions tearing apart the external crust. ‘Pahoehoe’ lava has a smooth, ropy surface, as the gases have yet to escape. Underneath the surface skin the hot molten lava continues to flow, pushing forward and wrinkling the skin, producing the rope like appearance. Walking trails lead visitors across ‘pahoehoe’ lava to the edge of a large ‘aa’ lava flow.