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Nevado de Toluca

Photo of this volcano
  • Mexico
  • México and Central America
  • Stratovolcano
  • 1350 BCE
  • Country
  • Volcanic Region
  • Primary Volcano Type
  • Last Known Eruption
  • 19.108°N
  • 99.758°W

  • 4680 m
    15354 ft

  • 341070
  • Latitude
  • Longitude

  • Summit
    Elevation

  • Volcano
    Number

The Global Volcanism Program has no activity reports for Nevado de Toluca.

The Global Volcanism Program has no Weekly Reports available for Nevado de Toluca.

The Global Volcanism Program has no Bulletin Reports available for Nevado de Toluca.

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.

Eruptive History

There is data available for 1 Holocene eruptive periods.

Start Date Stop Date Eruption Certainty VEI Evidence Activity Area or Unit
1350 BCE (?) Unknown Confirmed   Radiocarbon (uncorrected)
Deformation History

There is no Deformation History data available for Nevado de Toluca.

Emission History

There is no Emissions History data available for Nevado de Toluca.

Photo Gallery

Nevado de Toluca is seen here from the NW. It is a broad, complex stratovolcano with a 1.5-km-wide summit crater that opens to the east. A lava dome in this crater separates two lakes, known as the lakes of the Sun and Moon, which can be reached by the road seen ascending diagonally across the snow-covered slopes.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 1997 (Smithsonian Institution).
Stream erosion exposes an outcrop of the Upper Toluca Pumice, which originated during the last large Plinian eruption of Nevado de Toluca volcano some 10,500 years ago. This eruption produced a sequence of pyroclastic flow, pyroclastic surge, and ashfall deposits. Note the person at the top of the outcrop for scale. The Upper Toluca Pumice was distributed primarily to the NE and is found over much of the Valley of México.

Photo by José Macías, 1995 (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México).
The upper flanks of the dominantly Pleistocene Nevado de Toluca volcano consist primarily of lava flows that are well exposed above the tree line. This view shows the western flanks of Pico del Fraile, the high point on the SW rim of the horseshoe-shaped summit crater. The summit crater and flanks have been extensively modified by glacial erosion.

Photo by José Macías, 1995 (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México).
The rounded El Ombligo dome is one of the youngest features in the summit crater of Nevado de Toluca. The dome separates the crater floor into two lakes, the largest of which on the SW side of the crater (left) is called Lake of the Sun. The other lake, known as the Lake of the Moon, lies beyond the right side of the dome in this view, which shows the road leading into the summit crater to the right.

Photo by José Macías, 1995 (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México).
Nevado de Toluca is seen here from the south with its highest peak El Fraile to the left. The volcano is also known by its Nahuatl name, Xinantécatl. The morphology is due in part to explosive eruptions, large slope failures, and glacial erosion. Nevado de Toluca lies 80 km WSW of Mexico City.

Photo by José Macías, 1995 (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México).
The horseshoe-shaped summit crater of Toluca beyond the east-flank town of San Antonio Balderas opens towards the east. Block-and-ash flows from late-Pleistocene eruptions about 40,000 and 28,000 years ago cover this and other flanks of the volcano over an area of 630 km2.

Photo by José Macías, 1996 (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México).
An exposure on the south flank of the Nevado de Toluca shows two debris flow deposits transformed from original flank failures of the volcano during the late Pleistocene. Debris avalanche and lahar deposits cover a broad area of about 500 km2 to the south.

Photo by José Macías, (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México).
The southern flanks of Nevado de Toluca are seen here from near the town of Coatepec, with the summit peak of El Fraile to the left. The photo clearly shows the tree line on Toluca at about 4,000 m. Massive block-and-ash flows about 37,000 and 28,000 years ago extended down the southern flanks and beyond Coatepec. The hills in the foreground represent semi-vertical faces of faults forming a complex set of horst and graben structures.

Photo by José Macías, 1997 (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México).
Nevado de Toluca is a broad edifice with a 1.5-km-wide summit crater that opens to the east. The northern flank rises here above the Zacango valley with a thin covering of summit snow. Two explosive eruptions during the late Pleistocene produced widespread ashfall and pyroclastic flow deposits. More recent work has revealed evidence for at least one Holocene eruption, about 3,300 years ago.

Photo by José Macías, 1997 (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México).
The far western crater rim of Nevado de Toluca volcano is seen here on the horizon from the NE. The road into the crater is across the center of the photo below the low, smoother northern crater rim. The smooth surface of the northern flank consists of a lava flow that was modified by extensive Pleistocene-Holocene glacial erosion.

Photo by José Macías, 1997 (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México).
Cones of the Chichinautzin volcanic field in the foreground and middle distance are seen here looking to the west from Popocatépetl volcano. The large flat-topped volcano on the far horizon is Nevado de Toluca. The broad Chichinautzin volcanic field covers a 90-km-wide area south of the Valley of Mexico between the base of the Sierra Nevada (containing Popocatépetl and Iztaccíhuatl) and the eastern flank of Nevado de Toluca.

Photo by José Macías, 1998 (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México).
Nevado de Toluca is seen here from the NW just after a winter snowfall. The Pico del Fraile summit is to the right. Late-Pleistocene block-and-ash flows and Plinian eruptions have affected all sides of the volcano.

Photo by Paul Wallace, 1992 (University of California Berkeley).
GVP Map Holdings

The maps shown below have been scanned from the GVP map archives and include the volcano on this page. Clicking on the small images will load the full 300 dpi map. Very small-scale maps (such as world maps) are not included. The maps database originated over 30 years ago, but was only recently updated and connected to our main database. We welcome users to tell us if they see incorrect information or other problems with the maps; please use the Contact GVP link at the bottom of the page to send us email.


Title: Carta Geolica de la Republica Mexicana
Publisher: Recursos Minerales and Institute de Gelogia
Country: Mexico
Year: 1992
Map Type: Geology
Scale: 1:2,000,000
Map of Carta Geolica de la Republica Mexicana

Title: Mexico
Publisher: DMA Aerospace Center
Country: Mexico
Year: 1985
Series: ONC
Map Type: Topographic
Scale: 1:1,000,000
Map of Mexico

Title: Amecameca
Publisher: INEGI
Country: Mexico
Year: 1985
Map Type: Topographic
Scale: 1:50,000
Map of Amecameca

Title: Milpa Alta
Publisher: SPP CGSNI
Country: Mexico
Year: 1984
Map Type: Geology
Scale: 1:50,000
Map of Milpa Alta

Title: Ciudad de Mexico
Publisher: SPP & INEGI
Country: Mexico
Year: 1984
Map Type: Topographic
Scale: 1:250,000
Map of Ciudad de Mexico

Title: Estado de Oaxaca
Publisher: USGS /SAHOP
Country: Mexico
Year: 1982
Series: SAHOP Landsat
Map Type: Satellite
Scale: 1:1,000,000
Map of Estado de Oaxaca

Title: Estado de Guanajuato
Publisher: USGS /SAHOP
Country: Mexico
Year: 1982
Series: SAHOP Landsat
Map Type: Satellite
Scale: 1:500,000
Map of Estado de Guanajuato

Title: Estado de Puebla
Publisher: USGS /SAHOP
Country: Mexico
Year: 1982
Series: SAHOP Landsat
Map Type: Satellite
Scale: 1:500,000
Map of Estado de Puebla

Title: Estado de Guerrero
Publisher: USGS /SAHOP
Country: Mexico
Year: 1982
Series: SAHOP Landsat
Map Type: Satellite
Scale: 1:500,000
Map of Estado de Guerrero

Title: Estado de Mexico
Publisher: USGS /SAHOP
Country: Mexico
Year: 1982
Series: SAHOP Landsat
Map Type: Satellite
Scale: 1:250,000
Map of Estado de Mexico

Title: Estado de Tlaxcala
Publisher: USGS /SAHOP
Country: Mexico
Year: 1982
Series: SAHOP Landsat
Map Type: Satellite
Scale: 1:250,000
Map of Estado de Tlaxcala

Title: Estado de Morelos
Publisher: USGS /SAHOP
Country: Mexico
Year: 1982
Series: SAHOP Landsat
Map Type: Satellite
Scale: 1:250,000
Map of Estado de Morelos

Title: Cuernavaca
Publisher: Comision de Estudios del Territorio Nacional
Country: Mexico
Year: 1978
Map Type: Geology
Scale: 1:50,000
Map of Cuernavaca
Smithsonian Sample Collections Database

The following 2 samples associated with this volcano can be found in the Smithsonian's NMNH Department of Mineral Sciences collections, and may be availble for research (contact the Rock and Ore Collections Manager). Catalog number links will open a window with more information.

Catalog Number Sample Description Lava Source Collection Date
NMNH 117276-3 Pumice -- --
NMNH 117276-4 Pumice -- --
External Sites