Isla Tortuga

Photo of this volcano
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  • Country
  • Volcanic Region
  • Primary Volcano Type
  • Last Known Eruption
  • 27.43°N
  • 111.88°W

  • 210 m
    689 ft

  • 341011
  • Latitude
  • Longitude

  • Summit

  • Volcano

The Global Volcanism Program has no activity reports for Isla Tortuga.

The Global Volcanism Program has no Weekly Reports available for Isla Tortuga.

The Global Volcanism Program has no Bulletin Reports available for Isla Tortuga.

Basic Data

Volcano Number

Last Known Eruption



Unknown - Evidence Credible

210 m / 689 ft


Volcano Types

Pyroclastic cone(s)
Tuff ring(s)

Rock Types

Basalt / Picro-Basalt
Andesite / Basaltic Andesite

Tectonic Setting

Rift zone
Continental crust (> 25 km)


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

Geological Summary

A youthful shield volcano forms Isla Tortuga, which lies in the Gulf of California 40 km off the Baja coast. A circular, 1-km-wide caldera, west of the center of the oval, 4-km-long island, truncates the small shield volcano, which reaches only about 210 m above sea level. Circumferential faults cut the rim of the >100-m-deep caldera, which is floored by a solidified lava lake and contains youthful-looking spatter cones. The shield volcano was constructed during two north-migrating periods of activity that began with submarine eruptions and included formation of a circular tuff-ring complex enclosing the caldera. The sides of a small volcanic horst in the center of the caldera display lava flows overlying a 2-m-thick halite bed, formed when sea water filled the caldera, creating an evaporite basin. Recent lava flows cover most of the flanks of the volcano, and fumarolic activity has continued into historical time.


The following references have all been used during the compilation of data for this volcano, it is not a comprehensive bibliography.

Batiza R, 1978. Geology, petrology, and geochemistry of Isla Tortuga, a recently formed tholeiitic island in the Gulf of California. Geol Soc Amer Bull, 89: 1309-1324.

Batiza R, Futa K, Hedge C E, 1979. Trace element and strontium isotope characteristics of volcanic rocks from Isla Tortuga: a young seamount in the Gulf of California. Earth Planet Sci Lett, 43: 269-278.

Beal C H, 1948. Reconnaissance of the geology and oil possibilities of Baja California, Mexico. Geol Soc Amer Mem, 31: 1-138.

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

The Global Volcanism Program has no synonyms or subfeatures listed for Isla Tortuga.

Photo Gallery

Isla Tortuga is 4-km-wide volcanic island located in the Gulf of California, 40 km off the coast of Baja California. The flat-topped summit of the 210-m-high shield volcano contains a 1-km-wide caldera. Recent lava flows cover much of the surface of the volcano. This 1989 view is from the west. No historical eruptions are known from Tortuga, although fumarolic activity continues.

Photo by Marjorie Summers, 1989 (Smithsonian Institution).

Smithsonian Sample Collections Database

There are no samples for Isla Tortuga in the Smithsonian's NMNH Department of Mineral Sciences Rock and Ore collection.

Affiliated Sites

Large Eruptions of Isla Tortuga 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).
MODVOLC - HIGP MODIS Thermal Alert System Using infrared satellite Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) data, scientists at the Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology, University of Hawai'i, developed an automated system called MODVOLC to map thermal hot-spots in near real time. For each MODIS image, the algorithm automatically scans each 1 km pixel within it to check for high-temperature hot-spots. When one is found the date, time, location, and intensity are recorded. MODIS looks at every square km of the Earth every 48 hours, once during the day and once during the night, and the presence of two MODIS sensors in space allows at least four hot-spot observations every two days. Each day updated global maps are compiled to display the locations of all hot spots detected in the previous 24 hours. There is a drop-down list with volcano names which allow users to 'zoom-in' and examine the distribution of hot-spots at a variety of spatial scales.
MIROVA Middle InfraRed Observation of Volcanic Activity (MIROVA) is a near real time volcanic hot-spot detection system based on the analysis of MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) data. In particular, MIROVA uses the Middle InfraRed Radiation (MIR), measured over target volcanoes, in order to detect, locate and measure the heat radiation sourced from volcanic activity.