Photo Friday: Ecuadorian Photographer Highlights Country’s Glaciers

Photographer David Villacrés’ Twitter feed is teeming with various types of landscape photographs— from city streets to starry night skies and enormous volcanoes. For the Ecuador-based Villacrés, his home country is his muse. “All you need is Ecuador” is a frequent hashtag on his posts. Primarily a nature photographer, he often photographs the Ecuadorian Andes, which is home to the country’s glaciers.

Given Ecuador’s proximity to the equator, it might surprise some that the country’s highest peaks are home to ice caps and small outlet glaciers. Ecuadorian glaciers can be found on the Cordillera Occidental and the Cordillera Oriental, two mountain chains in the Andes that reach as high as nearly 20,000 ft. Glaciers situated among these mountain chains occur on both non-volcanic and volcanic peaks. The glacierized volcanic peaks include the Cotopaxi Volcano, which erupted as recently as August 2015; an eruption that lasted nearly six months. Cotopaxi is listed as one of the highest active volcanoes in the world. However, it is edged out by Chimborazo for the title of Ecuador’s highest volcano. Like Cotopaxi, the Chimborazo Volcano is also glacier-clad, but much less active in recent millennia. This month, Villacrés posted an image of three volcanoes from different Ecuadorian provinces, including the Chimborazo Volcano.

Glaciers play a fairly significant role in Ecuadorian life and culture. Meltwater from glaciers in the Ecuadorian Andes feed rivers that sustain communities living nearby. The mountains, volcanoes and glaciers are also a draw for tourists. However, these natural resources are rapidly shrinking. Due to volcanism and climate change, glaciers in Ecuador are disappearing, leaving less freshwater for humans and agriculture.

Cotopaxi volcano. Read more about glacier-covered volcanoes on GlacierHub and be sure to check out David Villacrés’ Twitter for more images of Ecuador’s natural beauty.

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