Cotopaxi Volcano
Ecuador, Latacunga

Cotopaxi Volcano is located in Ecuador, in the Cotopaxi National Park, 60 km south of Quito. Cotopaxi is Ecuador's second largest mountain peak, one of the most active and highest active volcanoes in the world. The height of the volcano is 5897 meters above sea level, it has an almost perfect conical shape, the width of its base is 23 kilometers, the diameter of the crater is 800 meters, and the depth is 334 meters. The top of Kotopakhi is covered with glaciers, the snow cap begins at an altitude of 5000 meters above sea level, the slopes are formed by frozen lava flows with deep furrows, "dug" lahars - mud lava, consisting of a mixture of water, volcanic ash, pumice and rocks. Lahar flow is deadly, because it has a high speed of movement, in texture, viscosity and density it resembles concrete, it is able to tear down any obstacle in its path. The first recorded volcanic eruption occurred in 1534, after which Kotopakhi "raged" 87 times. The most powerful and destructive eruptions occurred in 1742, 1744, 1768, 1877, 1880 and 1904. As a result of the eruption of 1768, the city of Latacunga was completely destroyed. In 1877, mudflows reached the shores of the Pacific Ocean and Western Amazon, traces of volcanic activity were later found at a distance of about 100 kilometers from the epicenter of the eruption. In 1880, Cotopaxi threw a lava fire column 6 kilometers high, volcanic ash covered a vast territory, scientists have recorded a rare phenomenon - the effect of the "green" sun. In 2015, a new phase of Cotopaxi's activity began, the volcano emits ash and steam, the level of sulfur dioxide emissions reaches 20,000 tons per day, and the government of Ecuador announced an intermediate (yellow) hazard level in August 2015. The first European to attempt to climb a mountain was Alexander von Humboldt. His ascent took place in 1802, however, he was able to rise only to 4,500 meters above sea level. In 1858, Moritz Wagner tried to reach the summit, but to no avail. Finally, on November 28, 1872, the peak of Cotopaxis was conquered - the German geologist Wilhelm Reiss and the Colombian Angel Escobar climbed. Despite the fact that the Cotopaxi volcano is considered one of the most dangerous and treacherous volcanoes in the world, thousands of climbers from all over the world come to Ecuador to conquer its peak. Climbing is allowed only accompanied by professional guides and mountain guides, climbing at night - with sunrise, due to thawing of glaciers, the danger of snow avalanches sharply increases. So, in 1996, an avalanche covered a climbing camp and dozens of tourists, 13 people could not be saved. Due to the activity of the volcano, from August 2015 climbing to Kotopakhi is temporarily prohibited.