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  • Country
  • Volcanic Region
  • Primary Volcano Type
  • Last Known Eruption
  • 18.1°S
  • 69.5°W

  • 5860 m
    19221 ft

  • 355011
  • Latitude
  • Longitude

  • Summit

  • Volcano

The Global Volcanism Program has no activity reports for Taapaca.

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

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

Basic Data

Volcano Number

Last Known Eruption



320 BCE

5860 m / 19221 ft


Volcano Types

Lava dome(s)

Rock Types

Andesite / Basaltic Andesite

Tectonic Setting

Subduction zone
Continental crust (> 25 km)


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

Geological Summary

The Taapaca volcanic complex, lying west of the main Andean chain, rises NE of the small town of Putre in northern Chile. The elongated volcanic massif, known locally as Nevados de Putre, consists of an initial andesitic stratovolcano and a long-term dacitic lava-dome complex. Taapaca overlies Pleistocene ignimbrite deposits and trends roughly E-W, with activity in general migrating to the SW during four principal periods of activity dating back at least 1.5 million years. At least three major edifice collapse events have produced debris-avalanche deposits, the youngest of which underlies Putre, the principal settlement of the northern Chilean Altiplano. Recent geological studies have shown that explosive activity at Taapaca with dome growth and associated block-and-ash flows and lahars has continued into the late Holocene. The youngest volcanic stage beginning about 9000 years ago produced the 5860-m-high summit lava dome of the Putre Unit at the eastern and southern ends of the complex. The latest documented activity produced an ash layer dated at about 2000 years ago.


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

Clavero J E, Sparks R S J, Pringle M S, Polanco E, Gardeweg M C, 2004. Evolution and volcanic hazards of Taapaca Volcanic Complex, Central Andes of Northern Chile. J Geol Soc London, 161: 603-618.

de Silva S L, 1990. (pers. comm.).

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

Gonzalez-Ferran O, 1972. Distribucion del volcanismo activo de Chile y la reciente erupcion del Volcan Villarrica. Instituto Geog Militar Chile, O/T 3491.

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.

Moreno H, 1985. (pers. comm.).

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.

Eruptive History

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

Start Date Stop Date Eruption Certainty VEI Evidence Activity Area or Unit
0320 BCE ± 50 years Unknown Confirmed   Radiocarbon (uncorrected)
1580 BCE ± 75 years Unknown Confirmed   Radiocarbon (uncorrected)
1860 BCE ± 100 years Unknown Confirmed   Radiocarbon (uncorrected)
2400 BCE ± 75 years Unknown Confirmed   Radiocarbon (uncorrected)
2950 BCE ± 75 years Unknown Confirmed   Radiocarbon (uncorrected)
4620 BCE ± 75 years Unknown Confirmed   Radiocarbon (uncorrected)
5490 BCE ± 50 years Unknown Confirmed   Radiocarbon (uncorrected)
7900 BCE ± 75 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.


Putre, Nevados de


Feature Name Feature Type Elevation Latitude Longitude
Putre, Nevados de Stratovolcano 18° 6' 0" S 69° 27' 0" W

Photo Gallery

The snow-capped Taapaca (Nevados de Putre) volcanic complex rises to the north above rhyodacitic pyroclastic deposits in the Pampa del Muerto. Taapaca volcano rises NE of the town of Putre in northern Chile. Putre is built on top of debris-avalanche deposits from Taapaca, which consists of a dacitic lava-dome complex. The latest stage of activity during the Holocene produced the 5860-m-high summit lava dome complex (center horizon).

Photo by Oscar González-Ferrán (University of Chile).
The Taapaca volcanic complex rises to the NE above the town of Putre, just out of view to the left. The elongated volcanic massif consists of an initial andesitic stratovolcano and a long-term dacitic lava-dome complex. The 5860-m-high dome complex on the right horizon is part of the Holocene Putre unit, formed during the latest eruptive stage. The left-hand dome is part of the late-Pleistocene Socapave unit. A pyroclastic apron from Taapaca, including a late-Pleistocene debris-avalanche deposit, forms the foreground.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 2004 (Smithsonian Institution).
The elongated Taapaca massif rises to the SE above the gentle slopes of block-and-ash flow deposits from the volcano. The steeply dipping lava flow on the left horizon caps hydrothermally altered rocks of a Pleistocene stratovolcano of the Taapaca II complex. The dome complex at the center is of part of the dacitic Pleistocene Taapaca III complex, and the light-colored dome at the right is part of the dacitic Pleistocene-to-Holocene Taapaca IV complex.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 2004 (Smithsonian Institution).

Smithsonian Sample Collections Database

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

Affiliated Sites

Large Eruptions of Taapaca 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.