Cotopaxi is a volcano located about 50 kilometers south of Quito, Ecuador. At 5,897 meters, it is the second highest in the country—the highest being the Chimborazo Volcano. Cotopaxi has an almost symmetrical cone that rises from a highland plain of 3, 800 meters. Cotopaxi is technically referred to as a stratovolcano. It has a height (topographic prominence) of more than 3,000 meters when measured from its base, which has a width about 23 kilometers. It has one of the few equatorial glaciers in the world, which starts at the height of 5, 000 meters.

There have been more than 50 eruptions of Cotopaxi since 1738. Numerous valleys formed by powerful lahars of 1744, 1768, and 1877. In the 1877 eruption pyroclastic flows descended all sides of the mountain, with lahars traveling more than 100 kilometers into the Pacific Ocean and western Amazon basin. There was a major eruption in 1903 to 1904, which has been recorded as the last eruption, and some minor activity in 1942 as well as 1975. During a war betweeen the Incas and the Spaniards in 1534, the volcano erupted and put an end to the fighting as both fled from the battlefield.


JOURNEYS trips that include Cotopaxi:

Ecuador Highlands Explorer

Avenue of the Volcanoes trip extension


Information based on

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