Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Cotopaxi, a volcano of the Eastern Andes, in the republic of Ecuador, 35 miles S.E. of Quito. It is the loftiest active volcano in the world, being nearly 20,000 feet high, the valley, however, from which it rises being 9,000 feet above sea-level. The upper part is a snow-covered cone of 4,400 feet, the verge of the crater having a parapet of bare rock. Below the snow lies a barren zone, succeeded by a space of moss and lichen, below which come forests. The general signs of volcanic action are smoke, explosions, and nightly glow. When eruptions take place there is but slight flow of lava, but flames, smoke, and clouds of ashes. The melting of the snow sometimes causes floods. There was an eruption in 1533, followed by others at irregular intervals until the great one of 1768, when the ashes were carried 130 miles. There were others in 1851 and in 1854-5-6. In 1803 Humboldt heard the noise at a distance of 160 miles. Humboldt thought the peak could never be scaled, but the top has several times been reached, by Whymper among others.