The Glaciation of the Ecuadorian Andes



This pleasing book fills the gap in the knowledge about Pleistocene and recent glaciation between Colombia and Peru. A significant amount of data exists already for Colombia and Venezuela and for Peru, Bolivia, and, particularly, Chile. Hastenrath has now given us a description of glaciers and glaciation underneath the equator in the Andes.

The book begins with brief summaries of the physiography and the atmospheric circulation, which give the general setting of Ecuador. Then follow detailed descriptions of the glaciers and glacial morphology of all the important mountains of the Western and Eastern Cordilleras. These are well illustrated, and a particularly useful feature is the comparison of old photographs and paintings of glaciers with modern photographs, many taken by the author. All illustrate the spectacular retreat of the glaciers in the Ecuadorian Andes during the last century and correlate quite well with observations elsewhere. This retreat is snown quantitatively in Table 4, in terms of decrease in glacier-covered area since the glacial advance of moraine stage III. The area of present-day glaciers is about 10% of the area during that stage (compared with about 1.5% in the Sierra Nevada de Mérida, Venezuela). A series of maps show the glacial morphology of the mountains (unfortunately, some of the maps have been included within the binding, thus losing some information; they could have been reduced somewhat to fit a single page or, if too large, could have been included in the pocket, together with the map of Chimborazo-Carihuairazo).