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Cotopaxi

crater, snow and heard

COTOPAXI, ka-to-pl'he or ko-to-paks'i, the most remarkable volcanic mountain of the Andes, in Ecuador, about 60 miles northeast of Chimborazo; lat. 0" 43' S., long. 78 40' W. Its upper portion, a perfect cone 4,400 feet in height and perpetually snow-covered save near the crater, shows conspicuously. This covering of snow conceals from the eye of the observer the inequalities of the ground. No point or mass of rock penetrates the coating of snow and ice, or breaks the exact regularity of the conical figure. The crater is surrounded by a small circular wall, which, when viewed through a telescope, appears like a parapet. Its height above the sea is 19,550 feet. The valley at its foot, however, is itself 9,000 feet above the sea. Remarkable eruptions, spreading de struction over the surrounding plains, took place in 1698, 1738, 1742, 1744, 1766, 1803 and 1877. In 1698 the eruption destroyed the city of Tacunga, with three-fourths of its inhabitants, and other settlements. In 1744 its roarings were heard as far as Honda, on the Magdalena, 600 miles distant. With respect to the explosion

of 1803, Humboldt observes: the port of Guayaquil, 52 leagues distant in a straight line from the crater, we heard day and night the noise of this volcano, like continued discharges of a battery; and we distinguished these tre mendous sounds even on the Pacific Ocean." A similar eruption took place in 1::5. Part of a neighboring village was overwhelmed; and at Guayaquil a sound was heard like the incessant discharges of heavy artillery, shaking the earth and causing doors and windows to rattle. Hum boldt found it difficult to ascend the mountain as far as the limit of perpetual snow, and he pronounced it impossible to reach the summit. It has been ascended, however, at least twice, on the latter occasion by Mr. Whymper in 1880, who remained 24 hours on the top. He reports that more or less smoke and steam are always issuing from the crater. The most recent vio lent eruption occurred in 1903.