Guagua Pichincha 

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A muddy walk in the crater bottom of the volcano


The pre signs of the great eruption in autumn 1999, with addidtional images from January 2006.   

in deutsch

At the 10th of January 1999 Bernhard Bauer, Gerhard Neumaier and I reached the top of the Pinchincha (4854 m) which was not a real hard trip because the refugio was situated on 4600 m altitude and reachable with four-wheeled cars. At this time the volcano had a rhythm of two mud-eruptions per day. In the early morning we could hear one blast at 3.40


Summit area of Gagua Pinchincha


Inside the crater. On the bottom the new vent from 2000

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Mud covered plants. Every 24h an eruption took place!

After reaching the upper rim we climbed down 600 altimeters to the bottom of the crater. On the first picture which was taken on the rim of the main crater, you can see plants covered centimeters with mud, what means that the height of the eruption was enor-mous. In the background you can see the new? bocca.

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Pictures 3,4,5 are showing Bernhard Bauer and me walking through the 20cm deep fresh mud at the crater-bottom. Around us, we discovered ejected rocks up to 1 meter which were forming craters of three and more meters.

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On the next photo you can see the the vent of the Gagua Pinchincha( 5,6 ). The bocca was apprx. 50 meter deep and had a diameter of 70 m and was situated on the bottom of the main crater. Inside the bocca, a steady activity of fumaroles took place.

Of course we had very, very mixed feelings at this place, because no one could promised us that the activity will start again in the next minutes. And after discovering the craters beside, everyone could made up his mind that there would be less chances to survive the next volcano-attack.

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After visiting the main fumarole which was located 150 meters in northern direction from the bocca and blowing under a loud hissing sound a gas-steam-mix out ( 7 ), we decided, to leave the crater faster as usual, because from one moment to the other we got the trousers finally..........


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2002  photos by T. Boeckel  last modification 18.1.2002