February 27, 2010 / 3:17 PM / 10 years ago

People on Ecuador's Galapagos moved to high ground

QUITO (Reuters) - Residents and tourists on Ecuador’s Galapagos islands moved to high ground on Saturday after a massive earthquake in Chile generated tsunami warnings along South America’s Pacific coast.

Witnesses on the islands said that waves in the area were unusually strong, but the government of Ecuador lifted a tsunami warning that had been issued for the Galapagos.

“As a preventive measure, there has been an evacuation (of people to high ground),” Edwin Pinto, an official at Ecuador’s Oceanographic Institute, told reporters.

The evacuees were expected to remain away from low areas of the islands through Saturday afternoon, officials said.

The volcanic archipelago, about 600 miles (972 km) west of the Ecuadorean coast, is home to scores of endemic species that closely depend on one another for survival. They helped inspire Charles Darwin to develop his theory of evolution some 175 years ago.

Reporting by Alexandra Valencia, editing by Vicki Allen

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