Volcano Top Trumps

I can’t believe I’m leaving this country in less than 48 hours! I have really treasured my time here in Ecuador. By my estimate, I have been to 9 volcanoes during my two months’ here. Not bad! Volcanoes are what I came for, saw, and mostly conquered; although Cayambe remained out of my reach on this occasion. My plan on return is to complete the ‘1-2-3’: Chimborazo, Cotopaxi, and Cayambe. We’ll see how I get on!

My farewell-for-now to Ecuador is this portfolio on the volcanoes I’ve visited so far. They’re in order of the time visited between 16/10/15 and 14/12/15. I’ve also added stats particular to each volcano, based on the ‘Top Trumps’ model. Here we go! Explanations and references can be found at the bottom of the page.


Name – COTOPAXI (Quechwa, ‘mouth of the moon’)
Height (m) – 5,897
Strength – 4
Agility – 1
Age – 2015 CE (years after 0 A.D.)
Fighting Skills – Volcano-tectonic, hybrid and long-seismicity events. Powerful lahars.

Wawa Pichincha in background (4,784 m).
Ruku Pichincha (4,969 m)
Name – WAWA PICHINCHA (Quechwa, ‘baby Pichincha’) 
and RUKU PICHINCHA (Quechwa, ‘old man Pichincha’)
Height (m) – 4,784 (Wawa) and 4,696 (Ruku)
Strength – 4
Agility – 2
Age – 2002 CE
Fighting Skills – Explosive activity. Vicinity to Quito provides alarming edge to ashfalls.

Name – CHACANA (?, Related to ‘chacana’ cross?)
Height (m) – 4,643
Strength – 0
Agility – 2
Age – 1773 CE
Fighting Skills – Historical andesitic lava flows.

Name – TUNGURAHUA (Quechwa, ‘throat of fire’)
Height (m) – 5,023
Strength – 4
Agility – 100
Age – 2015 CE
Fighting Skills – Everything. Pyroclastic flows, ash falls, lahars, Strombolian activity, 
explosions, gas, ash, and water vapour emissions.

Name – QUILOTOA (Quechwa, ‘toothed queen’)
Height (m) – 3,914
Strength – 6 (non-historic)
Agility – 0
Age – 1280 CE
Fighting Skills – Plinian eruption of VEI 6 (1280 CE), ‘bottomless’ lake

Name – FUYA-FUYA (Quechwa, ‘cold-cold’)
Height (m) – 4,263
Strength – N/A
Agility – 4
Age – 0.2 Ma
Fighting Skills – Caldera collapse

Name – ILINIZA (Kunza, ‘masculine hill’)
Height (m) – 5,248 (Sur) and 5, 126 (Norte)
Strength – N/A
Agility – 2
Age – >10,000a BP
Fighting Skills – None. Pleistocene activity, intermediate andesitic-to-dacitic composition.

Iliniza Sur (5,248 m)
Iliniza Norte (5, 126 m)

Name – ANTISANA (Quechwa, ‘dark mountain’)
Height (m) – 5,704
Strength – 0
Agility – 1
Age – 1802 CE
Fighting Skills – Viscous historical blocky lava flows (c. 1800 CE).

Name – CAYAMBE (Quitus, ‘youth, origin of life’)
Height (m) – 5,790
Strength – 4
Agility – 2
Age – 1786 CE
Fighting Skills – Holocene explosive eruptions, 4000a BP

Notes: ‘Strength’ is based on eruption with largest VEI in historic activity (defined as since 1534, the year of Quito’s foundation. ‘Age’ is just a number, but is defined here by date of last confirmed eruption. ‘Fighting skills’ defined as volcano-tectonic behaviour particularly associated with that volcano, if there is any.

References: main sources are volcano.si.edu, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andean_Volcanic_Belt, www.volcanodiscovery.com, and www.summitpost.org.
Specifically interesting pages:

All that’s left to say is thank you so much if you have been reading along and supporting the journey. It’s really appreciated, and I love hearing back from people about the content or style, whether complimentary or critical. I love writing as a way to record my travels, and I hope this has encouraged someone to take that next step into adventure, whether that’s starting a journal or planning a next trip.

Entonces, nos vemos en un ratito, Ecuador!

Sun rising north of an erupting Cotopaxi, caught from path up to Iliniza Norte.

2 thoughts on “Volcano Top Trumps

  1. Love this, your final Reasoning with (Ecuadorian) Volcanoes, blog and like the neat Top Trumps style summarising key information. Look forward to reading your next instalment – from Mexico – in the new year – from February.


  2. Yes, it has been a real treat to follow this blog of your Ecuadorean experiences, Ailsa, with all your ups and downs so vividly portrayed in prose, poetry, sketches and photographs. It made me feel as though I was there with you on some of your journeys! Can we have some more, please?!


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