Thursday, May 5, 2016

Cotopaxi -active!

On the morning of our second full day around Cotopaxi National Park, we were treated to glorious views of the volcano. I snapped quite a few photos, playing with my camera setting and exposure. After we left Secret Garden and got back to a news outlet a couple of days later, we learned that Cotopaxi had been moderately active with steam eruptions.  I'm very glad I took so many pictures, because when I zoomed in on the pictures I had taken that morning, I realized I had been witnessing activity at the crater!!   How ironic is it that a professional geologist trying to be an amateur photographer doesn't realize what she is looking at?  In my defense, there was no Internet news to alert us to the activity. Nor did the staff at Secret Garden seem to know of the activity, or maybe they didn't want us to know.

Look closely at the "cloud" on the right side of the crater in this series of photos I took between 7:38 and 7:44 a.m. on Feb 19.












The steam cloud is small, but definitely more lively than normal clouds.  Reports were of occasional lahars (mudflows) on the mountain from ash and steam melting snow. The pictures clearly show ash on top of the snow on the right hand side of the top of the mountain.

So that's my second witnessing of an active volcano (the first being Kilauea in 1997, which was, to this day, one of the coolest things I've seen).  You don't see that in Utah! At least not in this epoch.

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