Volcano in Galapagos Islands
Volcano in Galapagos Islands Reuters

The Wolf volcano on the northern tip of Isabela Island, the largest of the Galapagos Islands, erupted on Monday in a massive plume of lava and smoke, raising fears that it may threaten the unique ecosystem and rare wildlife on the island.

The volcano hasn't erupted for a full 33 years, although it is located around 1,000 kilometers (621 miles) off the coast of Ecuador, sitting in one of the most volcanically active areas in the entire world.

"The eruption generated a very large column of smoke that rose more than 10 kilometers (six miles) into the air, and later drifted toward the south-west part of the volcano," Sandro Vaca of Ecuador's Geophysics Institute told AFP​.

No danger is posed to human residents of the island according to experts quoted by BBC. The volcano is situated 115 kilometers (70 miles) from Puerto Villamil, the only center of human residence on the tropic island.

However there is some concern the volcano could affect the ecosystem of the islands, which famously inspired Charles Darwin's theory of evolution.

The island is home to the only population of pink iguanas in the entire world, but the Galapagos National park said in a statement that the rare animals do not appear to be in direct danger.

According to the park the lava is flowing to the south-west, while the iguanas, "which share the habitat with yellow iguanas and giant Chelonoidis becki tortoises, are situated on the north-west flank, which raises hopes that they will not be affected."

The Galapagos Islands comprise 13 islands and 17 islets. UNESCO has declared the archipelago a World Heritage Site, warning the ecosystem danger is threatened by increasing tourism and the introduction of non-native species.