Scientists are monitoring increased activity at the Cotopaxi volcano

Jun 3, 2015 | 3 comments

Ecuador’s Geophysical Institute reports that seismic activity and gas emissions at the Cotopaxi volcano have increased in recent weeks. The institute says that 3,000 small earthquakes were recorded at the volcano in May, the most in 15 years.

Cotopaxi, 50 miles south of Quito.

Cotopaxi, 50 miles south of Quito.

The report issued by Institute said that, “The increased number of earthquakes and higher levels of sulfur dioxide emissions, indicate that there is an anomaly occurring in the volcano.” The institute said that the earthquakes are clustered at depths of three and 14 kilometers, all in the area of the volcanic cone.

Although the GI said there are no immediate signs of an eruption, it has increased the frequency of its monitoring procedures. “Cotopaxi is potentially one of the most powerful volcanoes in the world and it warrants our close attention,” the institute’s report said.

Cotopaxi, which is the world’s highest active volcano at 5,911 meters, or 19,400 feet, has devastated areas as far away as 100 miles on several occasions. There have been 50 eruptions in historic times and several of them have sent lava flows to to the Pacific Ocean. Geologists note that Quito is built on the outflow of Cotopaxi eruptions. The volcano is about 30 miles south of Quito.