Road Geology – Geology tour roads
Traveling through Ecuador has not always been easy. In fact, until the railroad connected Quito and Guayaquil in 1908 both mayor cities worked mainly in isolation with little trade between them as travel would take several days and was extremely difficult.
Today’s rail infrastructure is dedicated mostly to tourism rather than mass transportation, however travel around Ecuador by road is not only an excellent way to experience much of the Geology of the country first hand, but is also highly accessible; with a good road infrastructure in place.
The North to South, and West to East Journeys detailed in the book have been made from the point of view of Geological interest keeping in mind the accessibility of each region and ensuring that someone interested in Geology, Geomorphology or simply the natural beauty of Ecuador can experience a full range of what this country has to offer.
A North South Journey Through The Andes
Traveling north to south, through the Andes along the Pan-American Highway, from the Colombian border to the Peruvian border, this tour covers 1100 km and takes a straight sixteen hours traveling by car.
The route is all paved; however, because it is crossing mountain topography and in most part has only two lane highways, it may take you longer. It definitively should! It is well worth a few days, especially if you stop to look at the highlights mentioned here in all of the different geologic and geomorphologic units.
Geologic and geomorphologic units traversed in this North to South journey include:
- The Massif of Carchi
- The Chota Basin
- The Ibarra Flat
- The Mojanda Domain
- The Guayllabamba Basin
- The Western Flank Of The Guayllabamba Basin
- The Calderon Tilted Flat
- The Quito Plateau At The Foot Of The Pichincha Volcanic Complex
- The Interandean Valley
- The Cotopaxi High (Paramo de Cotopaxi)
- The Sagatoa Domain
- The Ambato Valley
- The Riobamba Plateau
- The Colta Height At 3000 masl
- The Guamote Corridor
- The Palmira Plateau
- The Volcanic Complex Of Tixan
- The Upper Chanchan Valley
- The Rio Cañar Basin
- The Cuenca Basin
- The Cumbe Cliffs
- The Tinajillas Height
- The Oña And Urdaneta Valleys
- The Real Cordillera Basement And Saint Lucas Batholith
- The Loja Basin (the upper Zamora Basin)
- The Catamayo Basin
- The Rio Playas Basin
- The Puyango Basin
A West to East Cruise Across Ecuador.
The airport of Manta, along the Pacific coast, is a 30-minute flight from Quito. Another two hours by vehicle and you arrive to Puerto Lopez and the entrance to Machalilla National Park.
To travel from the Machalilla National Park at the coast, to the Cuyabeno Fauna Reserve in the Oriente, crossing the continental territory of Ecuador, will take one week with short stops at different spots mentioned here.
This trip offers paradisaical unpopulated beaches, archaeological sites, exposes the oldest rocks of the Ecuadorian Real Cordillera and ends in Cuyabeno where time has really stopped and man and nature are living in beautiful simplicity and harmony.
Geological formations and places of interest highlighted include:
- The Machalilla National Park
- The San Lorenzo Block
- The Montecristi Hill
- The Daule Basin
- The Foot Of The Western Andes
- The Macuchi Front
- The Pilalo Formation
- The Apagua Formation
- The Zumbagua Paramo
- The East Flank to Latacunga
- The Baños – Puyo Profile
- The Misahualli River Section
- Narupa – Hollin – Loreto – Coca – Lago Agrio
- Tena – Baeza – Chaco – Reventador – Lumbaqui – Lago Agrio
- Lago Agrio – Tarapoa – Cuyabeno Reserve