Where in the World is the Highest Bathtub?
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Where in the World is the Highest Bathtub?

The World's Highest Natural Bathtub can be found in Quilotoa

Quilotoa is a water filled caldera in the Ecuadorian Andes. It is located approximately 13,000ft (4000m) above sea level in the Cotopaxi province. A caldera is a big cauldron-like volcanic feature and is usually formed by a collapse of land after a volcanic eruption. Caldera is the Spanish word for ‘cooking pot’ and the collapse is usually triggered by the mass explosion of magma during the eruption. If enough magma is ejected from the volcano, the emptied magma pit is unable to support the weight of the volcano above it and subsequently caves in.

Quilotoa’s caldera is 2 miles (3 kilometres) long and 820 foot deep. It was formed approximately 800 years ago, following a catastrophic VEI-6 eruption of the Cotopaxi Volcano, which formed pyroclastic flows and lahars that managed to reach the Pacific Ocean. An eruption on the Volcanic Explosivity Index of 6 means that the volcano’s plume of smoke/fire was more than 25km long and more than 10km³ of ejecta volume was thought to have exited the volcano.

The extraordinary emerald green colour of the lake water is due to minerals from the volcano which have dissolved in it. The water itself is stagnant due to the fact that no other water flows in or out from this lake and it has an alkaline consistency. You can also smell the sulphur which has been deposited in the lake from the volcano, although the last eruption was over 850 years ago.

It is possible to hike down from the crater rim to the lakeside in roughly 30 minutes. You can swim in the lake, though at temperatures of around 5° Celsius, only the brave need apply. There is good news however, as hot springs occur on the eastern flank of the volcano. Fumaroles (openings in the earth’s crust which produce steam) can be found on the lake floor and the occasional bubble can be seen on the lake’s surface.

The Cotopaxi Volcano is the highest active volcano in the world at 19,347 ft tall (5897m) and it dominates the countryside in all directions. On clear days the volcano can be seen from distances of 50 kilometres. Quilotoa itself, is a tiny village and it exists mainly to service tourism to the lake.

The mysterious opaque green colour of the lake, coupled with the vista of the snow capped peaks of Iliniza Sur and Cotopaxi will be worth all the hard climbing and toiling you’ll need to do to get there. For the steep return trip up the caldera’s lip you might want to engage the services of a local donkey. Make sure to hire him in advance as once you’re down there, the local town residents take a lot of convincing (yelling) to bring one to you.

So there you have it, the most amazing bath tub with altitude!

Sources: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quilotoa, http://www.blacksheepinn.com/area/local.php, http://www.ecuador.travel/en/ecuador-travel-guide/central-andes/central-andes-destinations-and-attractions/quilotoa-lake.html

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Comments (14)

Wow I never thought I would see a volcano with green water. Thanks for the great info.

Very intresting and informative. Hope to visit this wonderful place....Thanks Ann

Waw! Now taht is stunning scenery!! I imagine the walk is worth that view! Excellent article and great info on the caldera. Really toparticle :D Run out of votes, so buzzing it up :D

wow, what a great place.

It sounds a little bit like my kids' bathwater after a long play session outside - stagnant, green and smelly. Great article Ann and wonderful pics - would love to visit it some day.

You tricked me into believing that you're writing about a bathtub! interesting article about a beautiful lake.

It is so beautiful to look at that at first glance I was thinking how lovely it would be to swim in it. I love the colour. However, you certainly changed that idea for me as I read on, not only because of the temperature, but also because I am allergic to sulphur! It is amazing though!

Thanks for your comments on my articles. I had to return the favor and check out some of yours. When I saw your articles, I couldn't resist clicking on this one! Great information and nicely presented! : )

Voted up. Very interesting article

That's a huge bathtub! Interesting information; well done.

This is so stunning! wow. Great pick :)

Very interesting.

Such an interesting pool to dip into.

Incredible to think of a lake in a place such as that. Great article.