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  • Chile
  • South America
  • Stratovolcano
  • Unknown - Unrest / Pleistocene
  • Country
  • Volcanic Region
  • Primary Volcano Type
  • Last Known Eruption
  • 21.22°S
  • 68.47°W

  • 6176 m
    20257 ft

  • 355823
  • Latitude
  • Longitude

  • Summit

  • Volcano

The Global Volcanism Program has no activity reports for Aucanquilcha.

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

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

Geological Background

The world's highest permanent human habitation is situated below a sulfur mine at the summit region of Cerro Aucanquilcha, one the largest volcanoes of northern Chile. Several distinct cones are located along a 10-km-long, E-W-trending ridge that forms the broad summit of the 6176-m-high stratovolcano. A Pleistocene debris-avalanche deposit is a prominent feature on the lower NW flank. Extensive Pleistocene glacial moraines surround the volcano, but postglacial lava flows overlie these moraines on the upper southern flanks (de Silva and Francis, 1991). Wörner et al. (2000) obtained surprisingly old Potassium-Argon dates of from 400,000 to 780,000 years on the youngest flows of the volcano on the NE and SW flanks, and eruptive activity appears to have ended during the late Pleistocene. Aucanquilcha presently displays fumarolic activity.

The Global Volcanism Program is not aware of any Holocene eruptions from Aucanquilcha. If this volcano has had large eruptions (VEI >= 4) prior to 10,000 years ago, information might be found on the Aucanquilcha page in the LaMEVE (Large Magnitude Explosive Volcanic Eruptions) database, a part of the Volcano Global Risk Identification and Analysis Project (VOGRIPA).

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.


Feature Name Feature Type Elevation Latitude Longitude
Cerro Cumbre Negra Dome 5670 m
Summit 5867 Dome

Photo Gallery

The 10-km-long, E-W-trending ridge that forms the broad summit of 6176-m-high Aucanquilcha stratovolcano consists of several overlapping volcanic edifices. This view overlooks the southern flank of Aucanquilcha from Puquois. The world's highest mine and permanent human habitation is located at the summit region of Aucanquilcha. No historical eruptions are known from Cerro Aucanquilcha, but postglacial lava flows overlie moraines on the upper southern flanks.

Photo by Erik Klemetti, 2000 (Oregon State University).


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.

de Silva S L, 2007. . (pers. comm.).

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.

Katsui Y (ed), 1971. List of the World Active Volcanoes. Volc Soc Japan draft ms, (limited circulation), 160 p.

Klemetti E W, Grunder A L, 2008. Volcanic evolution of Volcan Aucanquilcha: a long-lived dacite volcano in the Central Andes of northern Chile. Bull Volc, 70: 633-650.

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.

Volcano Types

Lava dome(s)

Tectonic Setting

Subduction zone
Continental crust (> 25 km)

Affiliated Databases

Large Eruptions of Aucanquilcha 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.