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  • Country
  • Volcanic Region
  • Primary Volcano Type
  • Last Known Eruption
  • 24.396°S
  • 68.246°W

  • 6031 m
    19782 ft

  • 355109
  • Latitude
  • Longitude

  • Summit

  • Volcano

The Global Volcanism Program has no activity reports for Socompa.

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

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

Volcano Types

Lava dome(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

Geological Summary

Straddling the Chile-Argentina border, Volcán Socompa is a massive, 6051-m-high dacitic stratovolcano that lies immediately north of the only railway line between the two countries. Socompa is the youngest and southernmost of a 6000-m-high NE-SW-trending chain of volcanoes including Pular and Pajonales. In contrast to the latter two volcanoes, no glacial moraines have been observed on the youthful and relatively uneroded Socompa. Collapse of the NW portion of Socompa volcano about 7200 years ago, during an eruption similar to that at Mount St. Helens in 1980, produced a 600 sq km debris-avalanche deposit that extends about 40 km from the summit and is one of the world's largest and best exposed. Post-collapse eruptions have constructed dacitic lava domes that have filled much of the head of the collapse scarp. No historical eruptions are known from Socompa.

Eruptive History

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

Start Date Stop Date Eruption Certainty VEI Evidence Activity Area or Unit
5250 BCE (?) Unknown Confirmed   Radiocarbon (uncorrected)

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

Photo Gallery

Volcán Socompa is a massive, 6051-m-high dacitic stratovolcano noted for an eruption about 7200 years ago, similar to that at Mount St. Helens in 1980. The Socompa eruption produced a massive 600 sq km debris-avalanche deposit, much larger than at St. Helens, that extends about 40 km from the summit. This view from the north shows dark-colored post-collapse lava domes on the right side that have filled much of the head of the massive collapse scarp, which extends to the base of the volcano at the lower right.

Photo by Carlos Felipe Ramírez (courtesy of Oscar González-Ferrán, University of Chile).
This dramatic NASA Space Shuttle image (with north to the upper right) is of Socompa volcano. A large horseshoe-shaped caldera breached to the NW was the source of a major debris avalanche about 7000 years ago that extended beyond the upper left margin of the image. Young dacitic lava domes and flows partially fill the collapse amphitheater, and prominent lava flows with flow levees are visible on the outer flanks of the 6051-m-high volcano.

NASA Space Station image ISS003-E-5375, 2001 (


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

Francis P W, Gardeweg M, Ramirez C F, Rothery D A, 1985. Catastrophic debris avalanche deposit of Socompa volcano, northern Chile. Geology, 13: 600-603.

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.

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

Kelfoun K, Druitt T, van Wyk de Vries B, Guilbaud M-N, 2008. Topographic reflection of the Socompa debris avalanche, Chile. Bull Volc, 70: 1169-1187.

van Wyk de Vries B, Self S, Francis P W, Keszthelyi L, 2001. A gravitational spreading model for the Socompa debris avalanche. J Volc Geotherm Res, 105: 225-247.

Von Wolff F, 1929. Der Volcanismus II Band: Spezieller Teil 1 Teil Die Neue Welt (Pazifische Erdhalfte) der Pazifische Ozean und Seine Randgebiete. Stuttgart: Ferdinand Enke, 828 p.

Wadge G, Francis P W, Ramirez C F, 1995. The Socompa collapse and avalanche event. J Volc Geotherm Res, 66: 309-336.

Affiliated Databases

Large Eruptions of Socompa 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.