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Volcanoes of Chile

Around the world more than 300 million people live near active volcanoes at risk from eruptions. Chile has a chain of about 2,000 volcanoes (not all of them active) dotted along the Andes; it has the second largest volcano chain in the world only after Indonesia. Most than half of the earth’s volcanoes are in the Pacific Ocean in an area called the Pacific Ring of Fire.

Pacific Ring of Fire

Chile is located between the South American and the Nazca Tectonic Plates. A river of hot magma causes the plates to slowly shift. Sometimes the plates move away from each other and other times they hit against each other. Volcanoes occur as a result of this underground movement.

Out of the 2,000 volcanoes in Chile, the majority of them are dormant or extinct. Volcanoes that have not erupted for many years are dormant but might become active again. An extinct volcano has not erupted for thousands of years. About 500 volcanoes are potentially active, 36 are currently active and 44 have erupted at least once since 1820. In the last 20 years there have been 15 volcanic eruptions. The most historically active volcanoes in the north of Chile are: Lascar, San Pedro, Guallatiri and Isluga. In the Central region: Tupungatito, San Jose, Azul (Quizapu), Nevados de Chillan, Antuco, Copaihue, Llaima, Villarica Puyehue Cordon Caulle. In the south the most historically active are: Osorno, Cabulco, Hudson and Lautaro. Chaiten in the south last erupted in 2009, its previous eruption was 7420 BC ± 75 years according to the Global Volcanism Program.


Puyehue Cordon Caulle eruption in 2011. Photo: Ivan Alvarado

Most large volcanoes in Chile are stratovolcanoes also called composite volcanoes. They are tall and cone-shaped made up of many layers of hardened lava and volcanic ash. Cinder cones are smaller than stratovolcanoes and are steep and cone-like in shape. In Chile there is also plenty of hydrothermal activity and is found where there is volcanic activity under the Earth’s crust. Geyser is a type of hot spring that erupts regularly, throwing hot water and steam into the air. There are also hot springs and fumaroles.

Llaima and Sierra Nevada Volcanoes

El Tatio Geyser in Antofagasta

List of volcanoes of Chile

Name of VolcanoAltitude in metersAltitude in feetTypeLocationRegionKnown eruptionsDetails
Tacora5980 19,619 StratovolcanoNorthArica y ParinacotaNo recent activityTacora, the northernmost volcano of Chile, is a twin volcano with Chupiquiña to the north and lies near the Peruvian border
Taapaca5860 19,226 StratovolcanoNorthTarapacaMore than 2000 years agoTarapaca was a ceremonial site for the Inca people and it is partially contained within the boundaries of Lauca National Park
Parinacota6348 20,827 StratovolcanoNorth. Border with BoliviaArica y Parinacota290 AD ± 300, 90 AD ± 50, 1100 BC ± 500, 4320 BC ± 1000, 5840 BC ± 50.It is part of the Nevados de Payachata volcanic group, located in Sajama National Park (Bolivia) and Lauca National Park (Chile).
Acotango6052 19,856 Complex VolcanoNorth. Border with BoliviaArica y ParinacotaWithin the past 10,000 yearsThe Acotango Volcano, another of the attractions of the Lauca National Park, is the highest of the Nevados de Quimsachata
Guallatiri6071 19,918 stratovolcanoNorthArica y Parinacota1985, 1960, 1959, 1913, 1908?, 1825 ± 25Guallatiri is one of the most active volcanoes in northern Chile.Minor explosive eruptions have been reported from Guallatiri since the beginning of the 19th century.
Isluga5050 16,568 stratovolcanoNorthTarapaca1960, 1913, 1885, 1878, 1877, 1869, 1868, 1863.The summit contains a 400 m wide crater. In 1878 lava flows destroyed towns.The Isluga Volcano National Park, has important archaeological resources, like height sanctuaries, pukaras, citadels, funeral parlors, Incaican chullpas, which are distributed among the plateau hills.
Puchuldiza4500 14,764 Hydrothermal fieldNorthTarapacaNo recent activityThe volcano shows geothermal activity with hot pools up to 85 deg C, steam vents and geysers.
Irruputuncu5163 16,939 stratovolcanoNorthArica y Parinacota1995The volcano contains two summit craters. Fumarolic activity occurs at the southern crater which is about 300 m in diameter. 
Olca-Paruma5407 17,740 stratovolcanoesNorth. Border with BoliviaAntofagasta1865-67There are three stratovolcanoes in the complex - Volcán Olca, Cerro Michincha, and Volcán Paruma.
Ollague5868 19,252 stratovolcanoNorth. Border with BoliviaAntofagasta1903The volcano displays fumarolic activity, particularly to the south of its summit area.
Cerro del Azufre5846 19,180 StratovolcanoNorthAntofagastaNo recent activityCerro de Azufre volcano contains two summits
San Pedro6163 20,220 StratovolcanoNorthAntofagasta1960, 1938, 1923, 1917, 1916, 1911, 1901Located in the Atacama desert, San Pedro volcano has two peaks. San Pedro is the western summit and San Pablo (6092 m) is in the east.
Paniri5946 19,508 StratovolcanoNorthAntofagastaPossible eruptions in the past 10,000 years.The summit of the volcano contains three craters.
Chao5100 16,732 Lava domeNorthAntofagastaPossible eruptions in the past 10,000 years.Chao lava dome is the largest in the world. It is 14.5-km-long and 350-400 m high.
Cerro del Leon5760 18,898 StratovolcanoNorthAntofagastaPossible eruptions in the past 10,000 years.Chao lava dome separates it from Cerro Paniri, a stratovolcano, and to its east lies Chillahuita, another dacitic lava dome.
Tatio4280 14,042 Hydrothermal fieldNorthAntofagastaPossible eruptions in the past 10,000 years.The hydrothermal filed consists of a chain of volcanoes - Cerro Deslinde, Cerro Volcán, Cerros del Tatio, and Volcán Tatio. It is the world's third largest geyser field and the largest in the southern hemisphere.
Putana5890 19,324 StratovolcanoNorth. Border with BoliviaAntofagasta1972, 1810.Also known as Jorqencal or Machuca. Large deposits of sulphur are found at the volcano.
Sairecabur5971 19,590 StratovolcanoesNorth. Border with BoliviaAntofagastaNo recent activityThe complex includes the mountains Cerro Saciel and Cerro Ojos del Toro, the stratovolcanoes volcán Curiquinca, volcán Escalante or El Apagado and Cerro Colorado.
Licancabur6017 19,741 StratovolcanoNorth. Border with BoliviaAntofagastaNo recent activityThe summit contains the world's highest lake at 5913 m. It is 90 m by 70 m wide. Extensive Inca ruins have been found on the summit.
Purico5703 18,711 Pyroclastic shieldNorthAntofagastaNo recent eruptionsIt consists of several stratovolcanoes -Cerro Toco, Cerro Chascon de Purico and Cerro Aspero. The volcano contains numerous astronomical instruments including, Atacama Large Millimeter Array, Atacama Pathfinder Experiment, Atacama Cosmology Telescope, Atacama Submillimeter Telescope, and NANTEN2 Observatory.
Acamarchi (Cerro Pili)6046 19,836 StratovolcanoNorthAntofagastaNo recent eruptions.Located in Los Flamencos National Reserve, in the Antofagasta Region of Chile. The summit crater contains a lake about 10-15 m in diameter, which is possibly the second highest crater lake in the world.
Lascar5592 18,346 StratovolcanoNorthAntofagasta2006-07, 2005, 2002, 2000, 1994-95Lascar has two cones, the Western is extinct and the eastern is active. Currently the most active volcano of the Central Volcanic Zone of the Andes.
Chiliques5778 18,957 StratovolcanoNorthAntofagasta2002, 8000 BCChiliques contains a 500 m wide crater and lava flows extending 7 km north to Laguna Lejía. The volcano, which has been dormant for at least 10,000 years, is now showing signs of life.
Cordon de Puntas Negras5852 19,199 StratovolcanoNorthAntofagastaNo recent eruptions.Small cones such as Cerros Cenizas, Aguas Calientes, Laguna Escondida, and Chinchilla have well-preserved summit craters which produced short lava flows.
Tujle, Cerro Tucle or Cerro Tugle3550 11,647 MaarNorthAntofagastaNo recent eruptions.The volcano consists of a 60 m deep maar located SE of Salar de Atacama.
Pular6233 20,449 StratovolcanoesNorthAntofagastaPossible eruption in 1990The volcano contains 10 craters and extensive lava flows, it is the second highest peak in the Antofagasta region.
El Negrillar3500 11,483 Pyroclastic conesNorthAntofagastaNo recent eruptions.The volcano consists of cinder cones and lava flows.
La Negrillar4109 13,481 Pyroclastic conesNorthAntofagastaNo recent eruptions.The volcano consists of lava flows over a distance of 16 km.
Socompa6060 19,882 StratovolcanoNorth. Border with ArgentinaAntofagastaNo recent eruptions.It is best known for its large debris avalanche deposit, which is widely accepted as the best-preserved example of this type of deposit in the world, and also notable as the home of the world's most elevated known microbial ecosystems.
Llullaillaco6793 22,287 StratovolcanoNorth. Border with ArgentinaAntofagasta1877, 1868, 1854 Llullaillaco is the world's highest historically active volcano. In 1999 500-year old frozen Inca mummies and artifacts were found buried, so far they are the best preserved mummies ever found.
Escorial5451 17,884 StratovolcanoNorth. Border with ArgentinaAraucaníaNo recent eruptions.The volcano contains a 1 km wide summit crater.
Lastarria5697 18,691 StratovolcanoNorth. Border with ArgentinaAntofagastaNo recent eruptions.The volcano contains five summit craters. A large avalanche deposit is located on the SE flank.
Cordon del Azufre5463 17,923 Complex volcanoNorth. Border with ArgentinaAtacamaNo recent eruptions.The volcano consists of a chain of vents and a 6 km long lava flow from Volcán la Moyra
Bayo5401 17,720 Complex volcanoNorth. Border with ArgentinaAtacamaNo recent eruptions.The border crosses the 400 meter-wide summit crater.
Sierra Nevada6127 20,102 Complex volcanoNorthAraucaníaNo recent eruptions.The volcano contains 12 volcanic vents and lava flows.
Nevado de Incahuasi6620 21,719 StratovolcanoNorth. Border with ArgentinaAtacamaNo recent eruptions.The volcano consists of a 3.5 km wide caldera and two stratovolcanoes.
Nevados Ojos Del Salado6891 22,608 StratovolcanoNorth. Border with ArgentinaAtacama1993?, 700 AD ± 300Nevados Ojos del Salado is the world's highest active volcano.
Copiapo6052 19,856 StratovolcanoNorthAtacamaNo recent eruptions.The volcano is close to Nevado Tres Cruces National Park and Laguna del Negro Francisco
Tupungatito6000 19,685 StratovolcanoCentral. Border with ArgentinaSantiago Metropolitan Region1986, 1980, 1968, 1964, 1961, 1960, 1959, 1958, 1946-47, 1925, 1907, 1901, 1897, 1889-90.Located 80 km east of Santiago. It has 12 craters and a pyroclastic cone.
San Jose5856 19,213 StratovolcanoCentral. Border with ArgentinaSantiago Metropolitan Region1960, 1959, 1895-97, 1889-90, 1881, 1822-38Also known as volcán San José de Maipo. Several volcanoes occur in the group including, Marmolejo, Espíritu Santo, Volcán la Engorda and Volcán Plantat.
Maipo5264 17,270 CalderaCentral. Border with ArgentinaSantiago Metropolitan Region1912, 1905, 1826, 1822Located 108 km SE of Santiago. The volcano contains a 15 x 20 km caldera
Palomo4860 15,945 StratovolcanoCentral.O'HigginsNo recent eruptions.130 km south of Santiago. The volcano formed within double calderas 3 km and 5 km in diameter.
Planchon-Peteroa4107 13,474 calderasCentral. Border with ArgentinaMaule2010, 1998, 1991, 1967, 1962, 1960, 1959, 1938, 1937, 1889-94?, 1878, 1872?, 1869?, 1860, 1842?, 1837, 1835, 1762, 1660The volcano contains several overlapping calderas.
Calabozos3508 11,509 CalderaCentral.BiobíoNo recent eruptions.The volcano contains a 26 x 14 km diameter caldera. The volcano consists of Cerro del Medio in the south of the caldera, and four vents of Descabezado Chico on western caldera rim.
Descabezado Grande3953 12,969 StratovolcanoCentral.Maule1932-33The volcano has a basal diameter of -11 km, a volume of 30 cubic km, and a 1.4-km-wide ice-filled summit crater.
Cerro Azul3788 12,428 StratovolcanoCentral.Maule1967, 1949, 1933-38, 1916-32, 1914, 1913, 1912, 1907, 1906, 1903?, 1846-53?Quizapu is a vent on the northern flank of Cerro Azul, which formed in 1846 during the first historical eruption at Cerro Azul. Quizapu was the source of one of the largest explosive eruptions of the 20th century in 1932, which created a 600-700 m wide 150-m-deep crater and ejected 9.5 cu km of tephra.
Laguna del Maule3092 10,144 StratovolcanoCentral.MauleNo recent eruptions.volcanic complex covers 300 sq km located on the western shore on Lake Maule
Lomas Blancas2268 7,441 StratovolcanoCentral.MauleNo recent eruptions.The volcano contains a 2.3 km wide caldera
Nevados de Chillan3212 10,538 StratovolcanoCentral.Biobío2009, 2003, 1973-86, 1972, 1965, 1946-48, 1945, 1934, 1929.On 21st January 2009, continuous emissions were reported at the volcano. Ash emissions reached 12,000 ft altitude.
Antuco2985 9,793 StratovolcanoCentral.Biobío1869, 1863, 1862, 1861, 1852-53.Located in the National Park Laguna de la Laja.
Copahue2997 9,833 StratovolcanoCentral. Border with ArgentinaBiobío2000, 1992, 1961, 1937, 1867?, 1759?, 1750The volcano contains a 6.5 x 8.5 km wide caldera, and a 2 km long, line of nine craters.
Callaqui3164 10,381 StratovolcanoCentral.Biobío1980, 1937?, 1864?, 1751.Lava flows extend 14 km from the volcano
Lonquimay2865 9,400 StratovolcanoCentral.Araucanía 1988-90, 1940?, 1933, 1887-90, 1853A glacier is located in the summit crater and down the south flank.
Llaima3125 10,253 StratovolcanoCentral.Araucanía 2007-09, 2003, 1998, 1997, 1995, 1994, 1992, 1990, 1984, 1979, 1971-72, 1964, 1955-57, 1949, 1946, 1945, 1944, 1942, 1941, 1938, 1937, 1932-33, 1932, 1930, 1929, 1927, 1922, 1917, 1914, 1912, 1907-08, 1903, 1895-96, 1893-94Llaima is one of the most active volcanoes in Chile. Historical records show that eruptions are usually brief.
Sollipulli2282 7,487 calderaCentral.Araucanía 1240 ± 50, 920 BC ± 75is considered a hazardous volcano despite its smaller size than neighbouting Llaima and Villarrica.
Caburgua Huelemolle995 3,264 Cinder conesCentral.Araucanía 5050 BC ± 1000The volcano consists of four cinder cones
Villarrica2847 9,341 StratovolcanoCentral.Araucanía2010, 2008, 2005, 1985-2001 (lava lake), 1984-85, 1983, 1980, 1977, 1971-72, 1964, 1963, ?1960-61, 1958-59, 1950?, 1948-49, 1938, 1935, 1933, 1929, 1921, 1920-29, 1919?, 1915-18?, 1910?, 1909, 1908, 1907, 1906, 1904, 1897-98?, 1893-94?, 1883, 1879, 1877, 1875-76, 1874, 1869?, 1867-68, 1864, 1859-60, 1853, 1852?, 1837, 1832about 650 km south of Santiago. Villarrica is one of Chile's most active volcanoes, tectonically associated with east-dipping subduction of the Nazca plate
Quetrupillan2360 7,743 calderaCentral.Araucanía1872The volcano contains a 3.5 km wide caldera.
Lanin3774 12,382 StratovolcanoCentral.Araucanía560 AD ± 150 years, 400 AD ± 150, 90 AD ± 300, 80 BC ± 200, 220 BC ± 200, 590 BC ± 200, 6340 BC ± 200, 9240 BC ± 500.historically inactive stratovolcano
Mocho-Choshuenco2422 7,946 StratovolcanoCentral.Los Lagos1937, 1864The volcano contains parasitic craters and scoria cones on the NE and SW flanks.
Carran-Los Venados1114 3,655 pyroclastic conesCentral.Los Rios1979, 1955, 1907The volcano contains group of about 50 basaltic to basaltic-andesite scoria cones, maars, and a small stratovolcano.
Puyehue Cordon Caulle2236 7,336 StratovolcanoCentral.Between Los Rios and Los Lagos2011-12, 1960, 1934, 1929, 1921-22, 1905?, 1893?Puyehue volcano in Chile erupted on Saturday 4th June 2011 after 51 years of inactivity.
Pantoja2112 6,929 StratovolcanoCentral.AraucaníaNo recent eruptions.The volcano is located SSW of Lake Constancia.
Osorno2652 8,701 StratovolcanoSouthLos Lagos1869, 1855, 1851, 1837, 1834-35, 1790-91, 1765, 1719, 1644?, 1640?, 1575?, 1310Osorno is one of the most active volcanoes in southern Chile.
Cayutué-La Vigueria506 1,660 Pyroclastic conesSouthLos LagosThe volcano consists of about 20 basaltic maars and cinder cones. The volcano lies across Liquiñe-Ofqui fault zone.
Calbuco2003 6,572 StratovolcanoSouthLos Lagos1972, 1961, 1929, 1917, 1911-12, 1909, 1907, 1906, 1895, 1893-94.The volcano contains a 400-500 m wide summit crater.
Mt Yate2187 7,175 StratovolcanoSouthLos LagosNo recent eruptions.There are no records of historical volcanic activity at Yate volcano , but there is evidence of minor postglacial explosive eruptions from tephrochronology.
Hornopiren1572 5,157 StratovolcanoSouthLos Lagos1835The volcano is located in Hornopirén National Park. This park has about 3000 hectares of glacier fields.
Apagado1210 3,970 Pyroclastic coneSouthLos LagosNo recent eruptions.It is 50 km SE of Puerto Montt.
Huequi1318 4,324 StratovolcanoSouthLos Lagos1920, 1906-07, 1896, 1893, 1890.800 m wide crater.
Minchinmavida2404 7,887 StratovolcanoSouthLos Lagos1835, 1834, 1742The volcano was mistakingly reported to have erupted in 2008, when neighbouring Chaiten volcano made its first eruption in over 9000 years.
Chaiten962 3,156 CalderaSouthLos Lagos2008-10, 7420 BC ± 75The volcano contains an obsidian lava dome in a 3.5 km wide caldera.
Corcovado2300 7,546 StratovolcanoSouthLos Lagos1834-35The volcano contains cinder cones and glaciers. A series of lakes are located the eastern side of the volcano.
Yanteles2050 6,726 StratovolcanoSouthLos Lagos1835The volcano contains five glacier-capped peaks
Puyuhuapi255837Cinder conesSouthAysénUndated eruptions.The volcano contains cinder cones at the head of Puyuhuapi fjord.
Mentolat1660 5,446 StratovolcanoSouthAysén1710 ± 5, 5010 BC ± 50The volcano consists of ice-filled 6 km wide caldera in the central part of Magdalena Island.
Maca2960 9,711 StratovolcanoSouthAysén410 AD ± 50 yearsMaca is a large stratovolcano located in southernmost part of the South Andean Volcanic Zone, Chile.
Hudson1905 6,250 StratovolcanoSouthAysén2011, 1991, 1971, 1891, 1740 ± 150, 860 AD ± 100, 390 AD ± 150contains a 10 km wide, almost circular caldera is filled with glacial ice, which drains into the Huemules glacier to the north.
Río Murta1600 5,249 Pyroclastic conesSouthAysénNo recent eruptions.The volcano contains lava flows, pillow lavas, lava tubes, subglacial and sublacustral deposits.
Lautaro3380 11,089 StratovolcanoSouthMagallanes1979, 1978, 1972, 1961, 1959, 1945, 1933, 1876.Lautaro volcano is the highest peak of the Southern Patagonian Ice-field.
Viedma1300 4,265 subglacial volcanoSouthMagallanes1988The volcano contains four calderas between 1.5 and 4 km in diameter.
Reclus-StratovolcanoSouthMagallanes1908, 1879, 1869, 1830 BC.The volcano contains a pyroclastic cone with a 1 km wide crater.
Monte Burney1758 5,768 StratovolcanoSouthMagallanes1910, 90 BC ± 100, 800 BC ± 500, 2290 BC ± 100, 3740 BC ± 10, 7140 BC ± 200, 7390 BC ± 200The volcano contains a 6 km wide caldera.
Fueguino150492Lava domesSouthIsla Cook1820, 1712Also known as volcán Cook. The volcano contains lava domes and pyroclastic cones.
San Félix193633Shield volcanoIslandsIsla San FelixNo recent eruptions.San Félix Island is located 800 km west of the coast of Chile. The volcano consists of a lava platform and two tuff cones.
Robinson Crusoe922 3,025 Shield volcanoesIslandsRobinson Crusoe Island1835, 1743Robinson Crusoe island is located 660 km off the west coast of Chile, at the same latitude as Santiago.
Source: Volcano Life



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