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Tolimán

Photo of this volcano
  • Guatemala
  • México and Central America
  • Stratovolcano(es)
  • Unknown - Evidence Credible
  • Country
  • Volcanic Region
  • Primary Volcano Type
  • Last Known Eruption
  • 14.612°N
  • 91.189°W

  • 3158 m
    10361 ft

  • 342070
  • Latitude
  • Longitude

  • Summit
    Elevation

  • Volcano
    Number
Most Recent Weekly Report: 23 April-29 April 2003 Citation IconCite this Report

A landslide on the outer flanks of Tolimán volcano passed through and buried portions of a mountain village at 0418 on 23 April. Regional authorities blamed steep slopes, wet soils, and minor tremors. The disaster struck the village of Chichicaste, which lies along the volcanic front ~300 km W of the capital, Guatemala City. Tolimán and the area stricken sit on the S side of Lake Atitlán, the 18 x 12 km lake filling the depression of Guatemala's famous Atitlán caldera.

As of the afternoon of 23 April, the Guatemalan agency CONRED reported 200 people evacuated, 20 missing, and 6 confirmed dead. Known damage to infrastructure included 40 homes at risk, another 12 with severe damage, and 6 destroyed. The village and environs had been specifically mentioned as vulnerable to landslide hazards in a government report issued in September 2002 following a similar disaster then. Mudslides in highland areas are common during the wet season, an interval that often occurs during late March through September.

[Correction: the landslide recorded in April 2003 did not occur on the flanks of Toliman as erroneaously reported; instead the landslide occurred in Chim, an area about 75 NW of the volcano.]

Sources: Coordinadora Nacional para la Reducción de Desastres (CONRED), Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanologia, Meteorologia, e Hidrologia (INSIVUMEH)

Weekly Reports - Index


2003: April


23 April-29 April 2003 Citation IconCite this Report

A landslide on the outer flanks of Tolimán volcano passed through and buried portions of a mountain village at 0418 on 23 April. Regional authorities blamed steep slopes, wet soils, and minor tremors. The disaster struck the village of Chichicaste, which lies along the volcanic front ~300 km W of the capital, Guatemala City. Tolimán and the area stricken sit on the S side of Lake Atitlán, the 18 x 12 km lake filling the depression of Guatemala's famous Atitlán caldera.

As of the afternoon of 23 April, the Guatemalan agency CONRED reported 200 people evacuated, 20 missing, and 6 confirmed dead. Known damage to infrastructure included 40 homes at risk, another 12 with severe damage, and 6 destroyed. The village and environs had been specifically mentioned as vulnerable to landslide hazards in a government report issued in September 2002 following a similar disaster then. Mudslides in highland areas are common during the wet season, an interval that often occurs during late March through September.

[Correction: the landslide recorded in April 2003 did not occur on the flanks of Toliman as erroneaously reported; instead the landslide occurred in Chim, an area about 75 NW of the volcano.]

Sources: Coordinadora Nacional para la Reducción de Desastres (CONRED); Instituto Nacional de Sismologia, Vulcanologia, Meteorologia, e Hidrologia (INSIVUMEH)


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

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

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

Deformation History

There is no Deformation History data available for Tolimán.

Emission History

There is no Emissions History data available for Tolimán.

Photo Gallery

Atitlán and Tolimán volcanoes rise above Lake Atitlán in this view from the town of Sololá north of the lake. Atitlán is the taller of the two and forms the skyline immediately behind and to the left of Tolimán. The Cerro de flank lava dome immediately above the lakeshore to the lower left of the summit erupted within the past few thousand years. The two volcanoes were constructed over the buried rims of two Miocene-Pleistocene Atitlán calderas.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 1988 (Smithsonian Institution).
The twin volcanoes of Tolimán and Atitlán rise above the southern shores of Lake Atitlán in this view from the NNW. The surface of Tolimán (left) is draped by prominent thick lava flows. Many of the flows were erupted from vents on the volcano's flanks and form an irregular shoreline on the south side of Lake Atitlán. A lava flow from the parasitic lava dome of Cerro de Oro on the north flank entered Lake Atitlán and is less than a few thousand years old. No historical eruptions are known from Tolimán.

Copyrighted photo by Katia and Maurice Krafft, 1983.
Atitlán (left) and Tolimán (right) are twin stratovolcanoes on the shores of Lake Atitlán, one of the scenic highlights of Guatemala. The historically active Atitlán is younger than Tolimán, although their activity overlaps. The surface of Tolimán is draped by prominent thick lava flows, in contrast to the extensive pyroclastic cover on Atitlán. Tolimán lava flows, erupted from both summit and flank vents, have produced a pronounced embayment with an irregular shoreline that extends into the lake. This view is from the NE on the rim of Atitlán caldera.

Copyrighted photo by Katia and Maurice Krafft, 1974.
Atitlán (foreground) and Tolimán are twin volcanoes located immediately south of Lake Atitlán (background). Tolimán was constructed on the buried rim of the Atitlán II caldera, whereas Volcán Atitlán was built 4 km south over the rim of the Atitlán III caldera. Atitlán, whose summit area remains unvegetated, has been active in historical time. Tolimán has not had historical eruptions, but has erupted within the past 1000 years.

Copyrighted photo by Katia and Maurice Krafft, 1983.
The twin volcanoes of Tolimán (left) and Atitlán (right) on the center skyline, along with San Pedro volcano in the foreground, rise above the southern shores of Lake Atitlán. This aerial view looking along the chain of stratovolcanoes stretching across Guatemala, also shows Fuego volcano at the upper left. The double-peaked Tolimán is somewhat older than the conical Atitlán volcano to its south.

Copyrighted photo by Katia and Maurice Krafft, 1983.
This dramatic photo looking SE down the axis of a chain of volcanoes extending across Guatemala shows six Quaternary volcanoes and one large caldera. Beginning in the right foreground are three volcanoes, San Pedro, the conical Atitlán, and Tolimán, that are constructed on the southern shore of Lake Atitlán, which fills a large Pleistocene caldera. The three volcanoes in the distance are, from left to right, Agua, Acatenango, and Fuego. Tolimán-Atitlán and Acatenango-Fuego are paired volcanoes along N-S lines.

Copyrighted photo by Katia and Maurice Krafft, 1983.
Volcán Atitlán, seen here from the SE with San Pedro volcano behind it and Tolimán volcano to its left, is a conical stratovolcano that rises to 3535 m south of Lake Atitlán (right). The historically active Atitlán is younger than Tolimán, although their activity overlaps. The northern side of the volcano is wooded to near the summit, whereas the upper 1000 m of the southern slopes, seen here, are unvegetated. Predominatley explosive eruptions have been recorded from Volcán Atitlán since the 15th century.

Copyrighted photo by Katia and Maurice Krafft, 1983.
Three stratovolcanoes fill the southern half of Atitlán caldera in this view from the NE. Atitlán caldera formed during three major explosive eruptions from the Miocene to late Pleistocene. Atitlán volcano (far left) was constructed above the southern rim of the youngest caldera, Atitlán III, whose low southern rim is visible on the center horizon beyond narrow Santiago bay. Tolimán (right of Atitlán) and San Pedro (far right) overlie the rim of Atitlán II. The buried rim of Atitlán I lies below the shoreline of Tolimán.

Photo by Bill Rose, 1980 (Michigan Technological University).
Volcán San Pedro (upper right) is the oldest of three stratovolcanoes constructed within Atitlán caldera. The furrowed slopes of the volcano contrast with the less eroded flanks of the both Atitlán and Tolimán volcanoes. Cerro de Oro, the small lava dome just beyond the shore of Lake Atitlán to the left, is a flank dome of Tolimán. Young lava flows from Tolimán descend into the lake and form part of its southern shore in this view from the west.

Photo by Bill Rose, 1978 (Michigan Technological University).
The rounded peak in the foreground is Tolimán volcano. The older post-caldera San Pedro volcano is across Santiago Bay to the right. In the distance are the peaks of Santo Tomás (left) and Santa María (right). Tajumulco volcano is the peak on the far-right horizon. The Guatemalan volcanic front rises more than 3,500 m above the hazy Pacific coastal plain to the upper left.

Photo by Bill Rose, 1980 (Michigan Technological University).
Volcán Tolimán (center) towers above the south shore of scenic Lake Atitlán. Tolimán and the adjacent Atitlán (upper left) were constructed within the Pleistocene Atitlán III caldera, near its inferred southern margin. In contrast to the tephra-covered surface of Volcán Atitlán, the surface of Tolimán is dominated by thick lava flows. The recent eruptions of Tolimán were primarily effusive eruptions from flank vents. The resulting lava flows extend into the lake and produce the irregular shoreline.

Photo by Bill Rose, 1972 (Michigan Technological University).
Volcán Atitlán directly overlies the inferred margin of the Pleistocene Atitlán III caldera, whose northern rim lies across Lake Atitlán. The Atitlán stratovolcano is adjacent to Tolimán to its north (seen just to the right of Atitlán's summit). The historically active Atitlán is younger than Tolimán, although their earlier activity overlapped. Atitlán’s surface is composed of tephra, reflecting its predominantly explosive eruptions that have been recorded since the 15th century.

Photo by Bill Rose, 1980 (Michigan Technological University).
Lake Atitlán fills the northern half of the Atitlán III caldera, which formed about 84,000 years ago following eruption of the Los Chocoyos Ash. The 18-km-long caldera lake is seen here from the south, with the flanks of the post-caldera Tolimán volcano in the foreground. The relatively flat lake floor is 300 m below the water surface, and caldera walls rise to about 1 km above the lake.

Photo by Bill Rose, 1980 (Michigan Technological University).
Cerro de Oro is a lava dome that was constructed on the northern flank of Tolimán, near the southern shoreline of Lake Atitlán. Lava flows from Cerro de Oro extend into the lake and may be as young as a few thousand years. The dome's name (which means Hill of Gold) reflects local belief that it contains buried treasure.

Photo by Bill Rose, 1972 (Michigan Technological University).
Santiago Bay in Lake Atitlán is the result of encroachment by the flanks of three post-caldera volcanoes into the lake. The narrow channel extends about 8 km to the low southern caldera wall and is about 1 km wide. To the right are the San Pedro flanks, the oldest of the post-caldera stratovolcanoes. Contrasting eruptive styles produced the irregular shoreline in the left foreground consisting of lava flows from Tolimán and the smoother shoreline to the right, formed by pyroclastic deposits from Atitlán.

Photo by Bill Rose, 1980 (Michigan Technological University).
Lobate lava flows from Tolimán volcano form the irregular shore jutting into Lake Atitlán. The Cerro de Oro cone is on the near shore to the upper right, and the NE wall of Atitlán caldera rises about 1 km above the far side of the lake. The town of Santiago Atitlán (foreground) lies near the mouth of Santiago Bay. The buried margin of Atitlán I caldera, the first of three Miocene-Pleistocene calderas at Atitlán, lies approximately below Cerro de Oro; the boundary of Atitlán II caldera lies just below the bottom of the photo.

Photo by Bill Rose, 1980 (Michigan Technological University).
Tolimán volcano is 4 km away beyond the summit of Atitlán. Atitlán was constructed over the approximate rim of the Atitlán III caldera, whereas Tolimán was built over the margin of Atitlán II caldera. The irregular Lake Atitlán shoreline to the left is formed by lava flows from Tolimán. The far Atitlán III caldera rim can be faintly seen across the lake. The two post-caldera cones have dramatically different eruptive styles, with lava flows dominating at Tolimán and pyroclastic eruptions at Atitlán.

Photo by Bill Rose, 1983 (Michigan Technological University).
The 6-km-long, dagger-like Santiago Bay on Lake Atitlán is constrained by lava flows from San Pedro (upper left) and Tolimán (right-center) volcanoes. Young lava flows entering the lake, in particular those from Tolimán, have created a very irregular shoreline. The unvegetated summit of Atitlán volcano, the youngest post-caldera stratovolcano, lies south of Tolimán. Part of the southern margin of the Atitlán III caldera, which lies below the summit of Atitlán volcano, is offset along faults just south of the tip of Santiago Bay.

NASA Landsat image, 2000 (courtesy of Loren Siebert, University of Akron).
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: Bath of Gulf of Mexico & Caribbean Sea
Publisher: AAPG, Williams & Heintz Map Corp.
Country: US/ C.Am/ S.Am
Year: 1984
Map Type: Bathymetric
Scale: 1:3,289
Map of Bath of Gulf of Mexico & Caribbean Sea

Title: Belize, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico
Publisher: DMA Aerospace Center
Country: NW C Am (GU ES HO)
Year: 1982
Series: TPC
Map Type: Topographic
Scale: 1:500,000
Map of Belize, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico
Smithsonian Sample Collections Database

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

External Sites