Many peaks are volcanic or snow-covered; these include Ring of Fire—the long horseshoe-shaped seismically active belt of earthquake epicentres, volcanoes, and tectonic plate boundaries that fringes the Pacific basin—it has experienced several significant and deadly earthquakes.
of the Sierra, and flow either west to the Pacific coast or east to the Amazon River.
The latter may be used for crops with appropriate technology, such as shifting cultivation or agroforestry (crops and useful trees managed together), but some agronomists suggest that they are better utilized for timber and other renewable tropical forest products.
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The first scientific expedition to measure the circumference of the Earth, led by Charles-Marie de La Condamine of France, was based in Ecuador; and research in Ecuador by the renowned naturalists Alexander von Humboldt of Prussia and Charles Darwin of England helped establish basic theories of modern geography, ecology, and evolutionary biology. Much of what is now Ecuador came to be included in the Inca empire, the largest political unit of pre-Columbian America.
Panama hats (straw hats so named because they were shipped to Panama in the mid-18th century and bought by traveling gold seekers and because they were worn by Panama Canal work crews in the early 19th century) and agricultural products, notably cacao (the source of cocoa beans), bananas, and flowers.
Ecuador is unusual among Latin American countries in having two major centres of population and commerce, the vibrant port city of Guayaquil acting as a counterbalance to the capital, Quito, located in the Andean highlands in the north-central part of the country. Situated on the Equator, from which its name derives, it borders Colombia to the north, Peru to the east and the south, and the Pacific Ocean to the west.
See Local travel The FCO advise against all but essential travel to: The security situation in the province of Esmeraldas can change very quickly.However, the soils are typically underlain by a yellow hardpan, locally called , which is often exposed on eroded steeper slopes.The eroded topsoil accumulates on lower slopes and especially on flats, which form the most desirable locations for agriculture.Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article.
Join Britannica's Publishing Partner Program and our community of experts to gain a global audience for your work! Ecuador is one of the most environmentally diverse countries in the world, and it has contributed notably to the environmental sciences.
The Costa is composed of lowlands that extend eastward from the Pacific Ocean to the western edge of the Andes and rise from sea level to an elevation of 1,650 feet (500 metres).