Cocos Island Facts
- First of all, it must be pointed out that the truly amazing Cocos Island remains remarkable for several different reasons. For starters, this fabulous location represents a small but impressive island with a most unusual origin. That’s because the stunning wonder of geology formed due to the occurrence of both volcanic and tectonic activities.
- Secondly, however, the feature actually constitutes the only emergent island of what scientists name the Cocos Plate. This represents one of the earth’s minor tectonic plates, of which many exist. Furthermore, the most recent scientific testing established the age of the oldest rocks on the island to be in the approximate range of 1.91-2.44 million years.
- The first known sighting of the island occurred in the year 1526. The credit for the discovery went to the Spanish navigator Juan de Cabezas. In modern times, the nation it forms a small part of designated the entirety of the island as a National Park. As a result, the island has no permanent inhabitants, except for a small group of park rangers.
Cocos Island Physical Description
Most notably, the magnificent Cocos Island boast a composition consisting primarily of basalt. This, in turn, formed from cooling lava. In addition, the terrain of the site remains quite mountainous and highly irregular. It does boast a mountain whose height measures roughly 1,888 ft (576 m), named Cerro Iglesias.
In spite of its largely mountainous character, flatter areas measuring between 656-853 ft. (200-260 m) in elevation do occur. These mainly appear in the central part of the island, however. These areas perhaps represent a transitional stage of the geomorphological cycle of V-shaped valleys.
Four bays also appear here. Three of them in the north side, named Wafer, Chatham, and Weston. Cocos Island also has a large number of short rivers and streams that drain the abundant rainfall into these. Due to a large range of roughly 300-foot (91.4 m) high cliffs that ring much of the island, the easiest point of entry is at Chatham Bay.
Cocos Island Climate
The largest rivers on the island bear the names of Genio and the Pittier. These drain into Wafer Bay. The mountainous landscape and the tropical climate combine to create more than 200 waterfalls throughout the island.
The island’s soils mainly consist of entisols. These remain highly acidic and could be easily eroded by the island’s high rainfall on the steep slopes if it was not for the dense forest coverage. Root systems, therefore, remain very critical in protecting from erosion.
Cocos Island is famous for the cloudiness and precipitation that appears constant throughout the year. This makes the climate humid and tropical with an average annual temperature of 74.5 fahrenheit. (26.6 C). It also has an average annual rainfall of more than 275 in (699 cm).
Cocos Island Location, Flora, and Fauna
The marvelous Cocos Island sits roughly 340 mi (550 km) from the Pacific shore of Costa Rica, in South America. With an area measuring about 9.2 sq mi (23.8 sq km) and a perimeter of roughly 14.4 mi (23.3 km), this island has an almost rectangular in shape
Amazingly, a number of oceanic currents from the central Pacific Ocean converge on the island. These also, understandably, have an important influence on the weather. As a result, Cocos Island is home to dense and exuberant tropical moist forests.
It does, in fact, constitute the only oceanic island in the eastern Pacific region with such rainforests and their characteristic types of flora and fauna. Further, the cloud forests at higher elevations also remain unique in the eastern .
Finally, evidence indicates that the island never formed part of a continent. Therefore, the flora and fauna arrived via long-distance dispersal from North America and South America. Cocos Island has, therefore, a high proportion of unique endemic species.