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The Daily Volcano Quote: fire-volcanoes and snow-volcanoes 2 March 2009

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The Spaniards have been in the habit, from the first times of the conquest, of naming every insulated summit volcan, which enters into the region of perpetual snow. The words nevado and volcan are frequently confounded: I have even heard at Quito, the strange expressions volcan de nieve and volcan de fuego. The Cotopaxi, for example, is reputed a fire-volcano, because its periodical eruptions are known, while the Corazon and the Chimborazo are called snow-volcanoes, because the natives suppose that the fire is concealed in them. In the kingdom of Guatimala, and in the Philippine Islands, they call water-volcanoes (volcanes de agua) those which inundate the surrounding country. From these examples, we may see that the word volcan, in Spanish maps, is frequently used in a sense quite different from what is understood by it among the other nations of Europe.

Alexander de Humboldt, Political Essay on the Kingdom of New Spain, translated by J. Black (New York, 1811), vol. I, p. xcv.

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