Cotopaxi is an active stratovolcano in the Andes Mountains, located in the Latacunga canton of Cotopaxi Province, about 50 km (31 mi) south of Quito, and 33 km (21 mi) northeast of the city of Latacunga, Ecuador, in South America.
It is the second highest summit in Ecuador, reaching a height of 5,897 m (19,347 ft). It is one of the world’s highest volcanoes.
Since 1738, Cotopaxi has erupted more than 50 times, resulting in the creation of numerous valleys formed by lahars (mudflows) around the volcano. The last eruption lasted from August 2015 to January 2016. Cotopaxi was officially closed by the authorities to climbing until it reopened on October 7, 2017.
The mountain has a long record of violent eruption. The largest historical eruptions took place in 1744, 1768, 1877, and 1904. The eruption of 1877 was known for its lahars (volcanic mudflows) that traveled more than 60 miles (100 km) to meet the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Amazon River basin to the east. After the most-recent significant eruption, which occurred in 1904, minor eruptions took place in 1940 and 2015.