Ecuador: Plume of Gas Rises from Cotopaxi Volcano

Cotopaxi volcano erupting. This stratovolcano is in the Andes Mountains, Ecuador. At an altitude of 5,897 metres, it is one of the world's highest volcanoes. A steam eruption in August 2015 marked a new phase of volcanic activity, triggering 2,100 earthquakes in August alone and emitting around 20,000 tonnes of sulphur dioxide per day. It is estimated that 300,000 people are at risk from the volcano in the provinces of Cotopaxi, Tungurahua, Napo and Pichincha, which includes the captial city Quito. Photographed in November 2015.
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Ecuador’s Cotopaxi volcano has been emitting a plume of gas and vapour which over the weekend reached a height of 1.8km (1.1 miles) above its crater.

Ash from the volcano has fallen south of the capital, Quito, and in surrounding valleys, according to the Ecuadoran Geophysical Institute.

The volcano has been emitting gases since October but the plume rising from it this weekend was unusually high.

Cotopaxi is one of South America’s most active stratovolcanoes.

Ecuador’s Geophysics Institute tweeted a photo taken from a drone of the plume of vapour rising from Cotopaxi’s snow-capped peak.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter
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The plume could be seen from different points in Quito but seismologists said it was mainly made up of gas and only contained low amounts of ash.

Cotopaxi has erupted dozens of times. In August 2015, it spewed large amounts of ash after a period of relative calm lasting for 70 years.

One of the most significant eruptions happened in 1877 when lahars – volcanic mudflows – travelled up to 100km (60 miles) from its crater and destroyed the town of Latacunga.

But even before 1877, Cotopaxi and its eruptions – while feared by those living nearby – were an inspiration for artists such as US landscape painter Frederic Edwin Church.

Frederic Edwin Church's painting of the CotopaxiImage source, Getty Images
Image caption,

Frederic Edwin Church painted the Cotopaxi in the 1860s
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