Although Rucu (meaning “old” in Quichua) is extinct, Guagua (“baby”) has experienced renewed volcanic activity in the last few years, after more than three centuries of near silence. It has long been on yellow alert, warning of ongoing seismic activity and the possibility of an eruption. Should that occur, Quito would more than likely escape the lava flow, but not the dispersion of ash. The volcano’s last notable eruption, on October 5, 1999, produced an eighteen-kilometre-high column of ash and vapour that leered over the city in a giant mushroom cloud. Despite this display, experts don’t consider Quito to be in imminent danger.

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