Parinacota

Photo of this volcano
Google Earth icon
  Google Earth Placemark
  • Country
  • Volcanic Region
  • Primary Volcano Type
  • Last Known Eruption
  • 18.17°S
  • 69.15°W

  • 6348 m
    20821 ft

  • 355012
  • Latitude
  • Longitude

  • Summit
    Elevation

  • Volcano
    Number

The Global Volcanism Program has no activity reports for Parinacota.

The Global Volcanism Program has no Weekly Reports available for Parinacota.

The Global Volcanism Program has no Bulletin Reports available for Parinacota.

Volcán Parinacota is the southernmost and youngest of a pair of volcanoes forming the Nevados de Payachata volcanic group along the Chile-Bolivia border. The symmetrical, 6348-m-high Parinacota volcano forms a twin volcano with the dominantly Pleistocene, 6222-m-high Pomerape volcano, which towers above a low saddle to the NE. Collapse of Parinacota about 8000 years ago produced a 6 cu km debris avalanche that traveled 22 km to the west and blocked drainages, forming Lake Chungará. Holocene eruptive activity has subsequently reconstructed the Parinacota stratovolcano, which contains a pristine, 300-m-wide summit crater and youthful lava flows on the western flanks. Although no historical eruptions are known from Parinacota, Helium surface-exposure dates have been obtained for eruptions during the past two thousand years both from the main cone and the Ajata group of satellite cones and lava flows on the south and SW flanks.

Summary of Holocene eruption dates and Volcanic Explosivity Indices (VEI).

Start Date Stop Date Eruption Certainty VEI Evidence Activity Area or Unit
0290 ± 300 years Unknown Confirmed 0 Surface Exposure Parinacota 3 edifice
0090 ± 50 years Unknown Confirmed   Anthropology South flank (upper Volcanes de Ajata)
1100 BCE ± 500 years Unknown Confirmed   Surface Exposure South flank (lower Volcanes de Ajata)
4320 BCE ± 1200 years Unknown Confirmed   Surface Exposure South flank (lower Volcanes de Ajata)
5840 BCE ± 50 years Unknown Confirmed   Radiocarbon (uncorrected)

This compilation of synonyms and subsidiary features may not be comprehensive. Features are organized into four major categories: Cones, Craters, Domes, and Thermal Features. Synonyms of features appear indented below the primary name. In some cases additional feature type, elevation, or location details are provided.


Synonyms

Payachata, Nevados de

Cones

Feature Name Feature Type Elevation Latitude Longitude
Ajata, Volcanes de Pyroclastic cone 18° 11' 0" S 69° 10' 0" W
Pomerape Stratovolcano 6222 m 18° 7' 0" S 69° 7' 0" W
Symmetrical Volcán Parinacota rises north of Lake Chungará in the foreground. The lake was formed when collapse of an ancestral Parinacota edifice about 8000 years ago produced a massive 5-6 cu km debris avalanche that dammed a preexisting river. Subsequent eruptions of andesitic aa lava flows and andesitic pumice and scoria flows constructed the modern conical edifice, obscuring the avalanche source scarp. The summit of Parinacota volcano contains a pristine, 300-m-wide crater.

Photo by John Davidson, University of Michigan (courtesy of Hugo Moreno, University of Chile).
The Nevados de Payachata volcanic group in northern Chile, seen here from the west, consists of the symmetrical, 6348-m-high Parinacota volcano (right) and its older twin volcano, Pleistocene 6222-m-high Pomerape volcano (left). The young cone of Parinacota post-dates collapse of an older edifice about 8000 years ago. The most recent activity at Parinacota produced a series of fresh-looking lava flows from satellitic cones on the south and SW flanks.

Photo by Oscar González-Ferrán (University of Chile).
Volcán Pomerape is the northernmost of twin stratovolcanoes forming the Nevados de Payachata along the Chile-Bolivia border. The 6282-m-high Pomerape lies across a saddle from Parinacota volcano, out of view to the right. The glacially dissected Pomerape was constructed above a base of dacitic-rhyolitic lava domes. The dominantly andesitic stratovolcano is capped by dacitic breccias and is of dominantly Pleistocene age.

Photo by Oscar González-Ferrán (University of Chile).
The southern side of conical, glacier-clad Parinacota volcano is seen from south of Laguna Changará, with its twin volcano, Pomerape, visible in the distance behind its right-hand flank. A complex of lighter colored dacitic-rhyolitic lava domes can be seen at the SW flank of Parinacota (middle left). The main cone of Parinacota was constructed during the Holocene primarily by the effusion of andesitic lava flows following collapse of an earlier edifice. The youngest of these flows was dated at between 1300 and 2000 years ago.

Photo by Oscar González-Ferrán (University of Chile).
A dark-colored andesitic volcanic bomb, ejected in a plastic state with a ballistic trajectory, drapes older rhyolitic rocks. The bomb was ejected during the Ajata volcanic eruptions. Helium surface-exposure ages ranging between about 1385 and 6500 years ago were obtained from the three lava flows erupted from the Volcanes de Ajata. Note the ice axe for scale (right-center).

Photo by Oscar González-Ferrán (University of Chile).
This viscous andesitic aa flow was erupted from the Volcanes de Ajata cinder cones along a N-S fracture on the southern flank of Parinacota. Helium-exposure ages of about 5985 and 6500 years ago were obtained from the lowermost and oldest of three lava flows of the Volcanes de Ajata. Snow-capped Acotango, Sajama, and Guallatiri volcanoes form the horizon to the east.

Photo by Oscar González-Ferrán (University of Chile).
The Nevados de Payachata volcanic group, the scenic highlight of Lauca National Park, is seen here from the SW and consists of the symmetrical, 6348-m-high Parinacota volcano (right) and its older twin volcano, Pleistocene 6222-m-high Pomerape volcano (left). Collapse of Parinacota about 8000 years ago produced a 6 cu km debris avalanche that formed the hummocky terrain in the foreground, with the colorful Llareta plant at the lower right. Hummocks in this medial portion of the avalanche deposit are about 50-100 m high.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 2004 (Smithsonian Institution).
Glacier-clad Volcán Parinacota rises to the NE above Laguna Chungará near the Chile-Bolivia border. The lake was formed when collapse of Parinacota about 8000 years ago produced a 6 cu km debris avalanche that traveled 22 km to the west and blocked drainages. Subsequent eruptions constructed the 6348-m-high symmetrical stratovolcano, which towers above late-Pleistocene andesitic-to-rhyolitic lava domes and flows in the middle ground.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 2004 (Smithsonian Institution).
The twin snow-capped volcanoes of the Nevados de Payachata volcanic group dominate this NASA Space Shuttle image (with north to the bottom). A prominent summit crater tops symmetrical Parinacota volcano, constructed to the SW of its eroded Pleistocene twin, Pomerape volcano. Silicic lava flows from Parinacota form lobes extending into Laguna Chungará, which was formed when a major debris avalanche from Parinacota blocked drainages. The hummocky debris-avalanche deposit covers much of the lower right part of the image.

NASA Space Shuttle image ISS009-E-6837, 2004 (http://eol.jsc.nasa.gov/).

The following references have all been used during the compilation of data for this volcano, it is not a comprehensive bibliography. Discussion of another volcano or eruption (sometimes far from the one that is the subject of the manuscript) may produce a citation that is not at all apparent from the title.

Clavero J E, Sparks R J S, Polanco E, Pringle M S, 2004. Evolution of Parinacota volcano, Central Andes, Northern Chile. Rev Geol Chile, 31: 317-347.

Clavero J E, Sparks R S J, Huppert H E, Dade W B, 2002. Geological constraints on the emplacement mechanism of the Parinacota debris avalanche, northern Chile. Bull Volc, 64: 40-54.

Davidson J P, McMillan N J, Moorbath S, Worner G, Harmon R S, Lopez-Escobar L, 1990. The Nevados de Payachata volcanic region (18° S/69° W, N. Chile) II. Evidence for widespread crustal involvement in Andean magmatism. Contr Mineral Petr, 105: 412-432.

de Silva S L, Francis P W, 1991. Volcanoes of the Central Andes. Berlin: Springer-Verlag, 216 p.

Francis P W, Wells G L, 1988. Landsat thematic mapper observations of debris avalanche deposits in the central Andes. Bull Volc, 50: 258-278.

Gonzalez-Ferran O, 1995. Volcanes de Chile. Santiago: Instituto Geografico Militar, 635 p.

Gonzalez-Ferran O, 1974. Arica - Nevados de Payachata. IAVCEI Andean Antarctic Volc Problems Guide Book - Excursion A-1, 3-35.

IAVCEI, 1973-80. Post-Miocene Volcanoes of the World. IAVCEI Data Sheets, Rome: Internatl Assoc Volc Chemistry Earth's Interior..

Katsui Y, Gonzalez-Ferran O, 1968. Geologia del area neovolcanica de los Nevados de Payachata. Chile Univ Inst Geol Pub, 29: 1-161.

Worner G, Hammerschmidt K, Henjes-Kunst F, Lezaun J, Wilke H, 2000. Geochronology (40Ar/39Ar, K-Ar and He-exposure ages) of Cenozoic magmatic rocks from Northern Chile (18-22° S): implications for magmatism and tectonic evolution of the central Andes. Rev Geol Chile, 27: 205-240.

Worner G, Harmon R S, Davidson J, Moorbath S, Turner D L, McMillan N, Nye C, Lopez-Escobar L, Moreno H, 1988. The Nevados de Payachata volcanic region, I: geological, geochemical, and isotopic observations. Bull Volc, 50: 287-303.

Volcano Types

Stratovolcano
Pyroclastic cone(s)
Lava dome(s)

Tectonic Setting

Subduction zone
Continental crust (> 25 km)

Rock Types

Major
Andesite / Basaltic Andesite
Trachyandesite / Basaltic trachy-andesite
Dacite
Rhyolite

Population

Within 5 km
Within 10 km
Within 30 km
Within 100 km
18
123
3,442
63,717

Affiliated Databases

Large Eruptions of Parinacota Information about large Quaternary eruptions (VEI >= 4) is cataloged in the Large Magnitude Explosive Volcanic Eruptions (LaMEVE) database of the Volcano Global Risk Identification and Analysis Project (VOGRIPA).
WOVOdat WOVOdat is a database of volcanic unrest; instrumentally and visually recorded changes in seismicity, ground deformation, gas emission, and other parameters from their normal baselines. It is sponsored by the World Organization of Volcano Observatories (WOVO) and presently hosted at the Earth Observatory of Singapore.
EarthChem EarthChem develops and maintains databases, software, and services that support the preservation, discovery, access and analysis of geochemical data, and facilitate their integration with the broad array of other available earth science parameters. EarthChem is operated by a joint team of disciplinary scientists, data scientists, data managers and information technology developers who are part of the NSF-funded data facility Integrated Earth Data Applications (IEDA). IEDA is a collaborative effort of EarthChem and the Marine Geoscience Data System (MGDS).
Smithsonian Collections Search the Smithsonian's NMNH Department of Mineral Sciences collections database. Go to the "Search Rocks and Ores" tab and use the Volcano Name drop-down to find samples.