Maps of the eruptive vents on the active shield volcanoes of Fernandina and Isabela islands, Galapagos, made from aerial photographs, display a distinctive pattern that consists of circumferential eruptive fissures around the summit calderas and radial fissures lower on the flanks. On some volcano flanks either circumferential or radial eruptions have been dominant in recent time. The location of circumferential vents outside the calderas is independent of caldera-related normal faults. The eruptive fissures are the surface expression of dike emplacement, and the dike orientations are interpreted to be controlled by the state of stress in the volcano. Very few subaerial volcanoes display a pattern of fissures similar to that of the Galapagos volcanoes. Some seamounts and shield volcanoes on Mars morphologically resemble the Galapagos volcanoes, but more specific evidence is needed to determine if they also share common structure and eruptive style. ?? 1991 Springer-Verlag.