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Ecuador Volcano Cotopaxi Stirs, Triggering State of Emergency, Evacuations

Image: Ecuador Volcano Cotopaxi Stirs, Triggering State of Emergency, Evacuations
The Ecuador volcano Cotopaxi stirred Friday, releasing plumes of smoke and ash into the air and forcing people to wear surgical masks to protect themselves. (Guillermo Granja/Reuters)

By    |   Monday, 17 Aug 2015 09:20 AM

The Ecuador volcano Cotopaxi, located near the country's capital of Quinto, began erupting on Friday, forcing officials to evacuate people from nearby villages while President Rafael Correa issued a state of emergency.

Cotopaxi spewed volcano ash into the air as the country's army moved residents out of harm's way, BBC News reported. Small eruptions threw hot ash more than three miles into the air, which then spread up to 30 miles away.

Correa's emergency declaration allows the president to move government funds around to address problems caused by the volcano. Government officials have banned all mountain climbing at Cotopaxi for the time, according to the BBC.

Reuters reported that Cotopaxi last erupted in 1940, according to the Smithsonian Institution's Global Volcanism Program. CNN reported, though, that its last major eruption occurred in 1877, sending debris more than 62 miles into the air.

"We have come here because we saw that here were could be in a higher location, more or less, to safeguard ourselves, all of us, all of us who are here and we are hoping that the authorities who are in charge of the Risk department give us space," evacuee Arturo Biracucha told the Reuters.

The Daily Mail called Cotopaxi possibly one of the planet's most dangerous volcanoes because its glacial cover could produce fast-moving volcanic rock and mud flows, known as lahares.

Ecuadorian presidential legal secretary Alexis Mera said that officials are expecting more ash explosions and some pyroclastic flows along the volcano's western slopes.

At more than 19,000 feet, Cotopaxi is listed as one of the tallest active volcanoes in the world, according to the website VolcanoDiscovery.com. The volcano has erupted more than 50 times since 1738. Some of the volcanoes lahars have traveled as far as 100 kilometers to the Pacific Ocean and Amazon basin.

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The Ecuador volcano Cotopaxi, located near the country's capital of Quinto, began erupting on Friday, forcing officials to evacuate people from nearby villages while President Rafael Correa issued a state of emergency.
ecuador, volcano, cotopaxi, erupt, ash, evacuation
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2015-20-17
Monday, 17 Aug 2015 09:20 AM
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