A Volcanic Adventure on “The Giver”

Figure 1. Sangay Volcano. Aerial photograph by Patricio Ramon
The Sangay Volcano (Photo by Patricio Ramon)

At 5,230 meters above sea-level, Sangay is one of the highest active volcanoes in the world and one of Ecuador’s most eruptive. However, unlike many volcanoes in Ecuador (and around the globe), which are easily approached by road, Sangay is remote and dauntingly inaccessible (getting to its base will require a three-day trek). Approaching the summit is also dangerous because of frequent and unpredictable strombolian eruptions. The goal of our expedition is to map and collect volcanic rock samples of different ages from Sangay. This will require us to circumnavigate the upper slopes of the mountain and to collect erupting lavas and bombs (“zero-age samples”) from the summit area.

Eruptions are frequent on the summit of the Sangay Volcano (Photo by Patricio Ramon)

Sangay Volcano is located in Sangay National Park, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that hosts unique and pristine biological communities which cross a wide range of ecosystems, from high-alpine to sub-tropical and tropical rainforest. Whilst many websites and even books indicate that “Sangay” is Quecha for “Frightener,” according to Marco Crux (see bio below) this is a misnomer for two reasons. First, the indigenous people of this area —> Read More Here


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