San José

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  • Country
  • Volcanic Region
  • Primary Volcano Type
  • Last Known Eruption
  • 33.789°S
  • 69.895°W

  • 6070 m
    19910 ft

  • 357020
  • Latitude
  • Longitude

  • Summit

  • Volcano

The Global Volcanism Program has no activity reports for San José.

The Global Volcanism Program has no Weekly Reports available for San José.

Index of Monthly Reports

Reports are organized chronologically and indexed below by Month/Year (Publication Volume:Number), and include a one-line summary. Click on the index link or scroll down to read the reports.

05/1991 (BGVN 16:05) New fumarole field on upper S flank

Contents of Monthly Reports

All information contained in these reports is preliminary and subject to change.

05/1991 (BGVN 16:05) New fumarole field on upper S flank

A new fumarole field, 150 m below the rim on the S flank . . . was first observed in late February (figures 1 and 2). On 14 May, geologists from the Univ de Chile noted that the new activity was similar to that of earlier fumaroles associated with a small andesitic dome within the central crater.

Figure 1.Sketch of view looking E at the San José complex, 14 May 1991. Vapor rises from within the crater and from the February 1991 fumarole field. Courtesy of O. González-Ferrán.
Figure 2. Sketch map showing the summit region and craters of the San José complex, May 1991. Courtesy of O. González-Ferrán.

Although no earthquakes were detected at the volcano, an increase in seismicity was recorded by the Univ de Chile's seismic network throughout the roughly N-S fault zone that separates the Valle Central and the Cordillera Andina. Four events were recorded in February, 8 in March, 9 in April, and 14 in May, the largest (M 4.0 and M 3.5) on 8 and 11 April, respectively (figure 3).

Figure 3. Sketch showing the location of San José and the epicenters of two large earthquakes, April 1991. Courtesy of O. González-Ferrán.

Information Contacts: O. González-Ferrán, Univ de Chile; P. Acevedo, Univ de la Frontera, Temuco.

Volcán San José lies along the Chile-Argentina border at the southern end of a volcano group that includes the Pleistocene volcanoes of Marmolejo and Espíritu Santo. The glaciated 6070-m-high Marmolejo stratovolcano is truncated by a 4-km-wide caldera, breached to the NW, that has been the source of a massive debris avalanche. San José is a 5856-m-high stratovolcano of Pleistocene-Holocene age with a broad 2 km x 0.5 km summit region containing overlapping and nested craters, pyroclastic cones, and blocky lava flows. Volcán la Engorda and Volcán Plantat, located SW of Marmolejo and NW of San Jose, have also been active during the Holocene. An 8-km-long lava flow traveled to the SW from the 1-km-wide summit crater of Espíritu Santo volcano, which overlaps the southern slope of Marmolejo. Mild phreatomagmatic eruptions were recorded from San José in the 19th and 20th centuries.

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

Start Date Stop Date Eruption Certainty VEI Evidence Activity Area or Unit
1960 Unknown Confirmed 2 Historical Observations
1959 Unknown Confirmed 2 Historical Observations
[ 1941 ] [ Unknown ] Discredited    
[ 1931 ] [ Unknown ] Discredited    
1895 1897 Confirmed 2 Historical Observations
1889 1890 Confirmed 2 Historical Observations
1881 Unknown Confirmed 2 Historical Observations
1838 Unknown Confirmed 1 Historical Observations
1822 Nov 19 1838 Confirmed 2 Historical Observations

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.

San Jose de Maipo | Maipo | Maipu

Feature Name Feature Type Elevation Latitude Longitude
Engorda, Volcán la Stratovolcano 5692 m 33° 46' 0" S 69° 56' 0" W
Espíiritu Santo Stratovolcano
Marmolejo Stratovolcano 6070 m 33° 44' 0" S 69° 52' 34" W
Plantat Cinder cone 5740 m 33° 45' 0" S 69° 55' 0" W
San Jose Stratovolcano 5856 m 33° 47' 21" S 69° 53' 43" W
Volcán San José on the far left horizon rises to the north above ice pinnacles at the Nieves Negras pass on the Chile/Argentina border. The summit of San José is formed by a cluster of six Holocene craters, pyroclastic cones, and blocky lava flows that lie within a series of elongated, 0.5 x 2 km wide nested craters. Mild phreatomagmatic eruptions were recorded at San José in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Photo courtesy of Oscar González-Ferrán (University of Chile).

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.

Casertano L, 1963a. Chilean Continent. Catalog of Active Volcanoes of the World and Solfatara Fields, Rome: IAVCEI, 15: 1-55.

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

Hildreth W, Moorbath S, 1988. Crustal contribution to arc magmatism in the Andes of central Chile. Contr Mineral Petr, 98: 455-489.

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

Moreno H, 1974. Airplane flight over active volcanoes of central-south Chile. Internatl Symp Volc Andean & Antarctic Volc Problems Guidebook, Excur D-3, 56 p.

Moreno H, Naranjo J A, 1991. The southern Andes volcanoes (33°-41° 30' S), Chile. 6th Geol Cong Chile, Excur PC-3, 26 p.

Volcano Types

Pyroclastic cone(s)

Tectonic Setting

Subduction zone
Continental crust (> 25 km)

Rock Types

Andesite / Basaltic Andesite


Within 5 km
Within 10 km
Within 30 km
Within 100 km

Affiliated Databases

Large Eruptions of San José 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.