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Coatepeque Caldera

Photo of this volcano
  • El Salvador
  • México and Central America
  • Caldera
  • Unknown - Evidence Credible
  • Country
  • Volcanic Region
  • Primary Volcano Type
  • Last Known Eruption
  • 13.87°N
  • 89.55°W

  • 746 m
    2448 ft

  • 343041
  • Latitude
  • Longitude

  • Summit
    Elevation

  • Volcano
    Number

The Global Volcanism Program has no activity reports for Coatepeque Caldera.

The Global Volcanism Program has no Weekly Reports available for Coatepeque Caldera.

The Global Volcanism Program has no Bulletin Reports available for Coatepeque Caldera.

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 Coatepeque Caldera. If this volcano has had large eruptions (VEI >= 4) prior to 10,000 years ago, information might be found on the Coatepeque Caldera 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 Coatepeque Caldera.

Emission History

There is no Emissions History data available for Coatepeque Caldera.

Photo Gallery

Coatepeque caldera iseast of Santa Ana volcano. The eastern caldera rim rises about 250 m above the lake surface in this 1972 photo. Post-caldera eruptions included the formation of basaltic scoria cones and flows near the western margin, and the extrusion of lava domes (such as Cerro Grande forming the island to the right) along a NE-SW line near the caldera lake margins.

Photo by Dianne Neilson, 1972 (courtesy of Dick Stoiber, Dartmouth College).
The thick light-colored unit the volcanologist is pointing to is the Arce fall deposit, overlying a paleosol and mafic ash and scoria deposits. This outcrop is about 15 km NW of the caldera rim. The biotite-rich rhyolitic Arce pumice-fall deposit was erupted from Coatepeque caldera about 72,000 years ago and was associated with formation of the SW part of the caldera. Deposits of the 84,000-year-old Los Chocoyos Ash from Atitlán caldera in Guatemala lie about 3 m below the base of the Arce deposit, but are not visible in this photo.

Photo courtesy of Carlos Pullinger, 1996 (Servicio Nacional de Estudios Territoriales, El Salvador).
Light-colored rhyolite airfall pumice deposits from Coatepeque caldera are exposed in this quarry 20 km east of the caldera. These deposits were emplaced over much of SW El Salvador, and with the associated pyroclastic flow deposits have a volume of about 56 km3. The earlier biotite-bearing Arce deposits were produced during the largest eruption from Coatepeque about 72,000 years ago and are about 50 cmr thick at the Guatemalan border. The overlying Congo deposits originated during the second largest eruption of Coatepeque.

Photo by Carlos Pullinger, 1996 (Servicio Nacional de Estudios Territoriales, El Salvador).
A volcanologist investigates an exposure of the Arce deposits on the eastern flank of Chilamatal caldera, about 10 km ENE of the rim of Coatepeque caldera. The Arce eruption around 72,000 years ago produced about 40 km3 of tephra and was associated with the first caldera-forming event at Coatepeque. The Arce deposits consist of two thick biotite-rich pumice fall deposits, separated by thin tephra deposits containing ash, pumice, and lithics. These ashfall deposits are distributed over much of western El Salvador.

Photo by Carlos Pullinger, 1996 (Servicio Nacional de Estudios Territoriales, El Salvador).
The Anteojos lava domes form peninsulas on the eastern shore of Lake Coatepeque, most of which lie beneath the lake surface. Four other domes formed in the opposite side of the caldera along a trend that passes through Izalco volcano to the SW. Two scoria cones on the horizon erupted along caldera ring faults.

Photo by Carlos Pullinger, 1996 (Servicio Nacional de Estudios Territoriales, El Salvador).
Rhyolite pumice fall and pyroclastic flow deposits from the two caldera-forming eruptions (Arce and Congo) at Coatepeque are exposed in this quarry wall. The lower Arce pumice and overlying pyroclastic flow deposit have a total volume about 40 km3 and were emplaced during the 72,000 BP eruption that formed the NE part of the caldera. The upper deposits (above the undulating brown paleosol in the center of the photo) are from the 16 km3 Congo eruption prior to about 57,000 years ago and were erupted through a caldera lake.

Photo by Carlos Pullinger, 1996 (Servicio Nacional de Estudios Territoriales, El Salvador).
Coatepeque caldera is seen here from the summit of Cerro Verde to the SSW, a flank cone of Santa Ana volcano. Lago de Coatepeque fills the NE part of the 7 x 10 km caldera. The younger SW side of the caldera extends into Santa Ana volcano and to the sudden break in slope seen in the lower right of the photo. The caldera floor is higher on this side as a result of the accumulation of volcaniclastic debris from Santa Ana and the eruption of a series of post-caldera lava domes, one of which forms the island in the lake.

Photo by Carlos Pullinger, 1996 (Servicio Nacional de Estudios Territoriales, El Salvador).
Lago de Coatepeque fills the 7 x 10 km Coatepeque caldera in western El Salvador. The caldera formed during two major eruptions in the late Pleistocene. Post-caldera eruptions produced a series of lava domes such as the one seen to the left that forms a small peninsula extending into the lake. A chain of scoria cones that erupted along caldera ring faults are across the southern caldera rim in the background.

Photo by Giuseppina Kysar, 1999 (Smithsonian Institution).
Santa Ana is seen here from the east on the rim of Coatepeque caldera. The eastern rim of Santa Ana's summit crater was breached and produced the gently sloping deposits extending towards the caldera lake to the lower right. The NW wall of the caldera in the background cuts into the flanks of Santa Ana. This SW part of Coatepeque caldera formed about 57,000 years ago during the eruption of about 16 km3 of rhyolite pumice and pyroclastic flow deposits.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 1999 (Smithsonian Institution).
Lago de Coatepeque is within the eastern part of Coatepeque caldera, seen here from the southern caldera rim. The NE part of the caldera formed following the eruption of 40 km3 of rhyolitic pumice-fall and pyroclastic flow deposits about 72,000 years ago. The northern caldera rim in the distance rises about 250 m above the lake, which had a maximum depth of about 120 m when this photo was taken in 1999. Hot springs are located at several points along the shore of the lake near a group of post-caldera lava domes.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 1999 (Smithsonian Institution).
Cerro Grande is the largest of a series of post-caldera lava domes extruded along a NE-SW-trending line within Coatepeque caldera. The lava dome, seen here from the southern caldera rim, rises about 90 m above the lake surface and about 180 m above the lake floor.

Photo by Paul Kimberly, 1999 (Smithsonian Institution).
The SW part of Coatepeque caldera was formed about 57,000 years ago following the eruption of the roughly 16 km3 Congo biotite-bearing rhyolitic pumice fall and pyroclastic flow deposits. Plinian and phreatoplinian eruptions took place through a lake that formed in the NE part of the caldera that formed during the larger Arce eruption about 72,000 years ago.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 1999 (Smithsonian Institution).
An aerial view of the western side of Coatepeque caldera shows Cerro Grande lava dome, the island to the left. On the ridge behind the caldera wall are (from left to right) the San Marcelino-Cerro la Olla and Cerro el Conejal-Cerro el Astillero complexes, the summit of Izalco volcano, rounded Cerro Verde scoria cone, and (in the clouds) the summit of Santa Ana volcano. The Pacific Ocean is visible in the distance.

Photo by Bill Rose, 1967 (Michigan Technological University).
Cerro Alto (right) is a scoria cone on the SE flank of Coatepeque caldera, seen here from the southern caldera rim. Basaltic lava flows were erupted from the eastern side of the cone. Cerro Alto predates the formation of Coatepeque caldera and is overlain by deposits from the caldera-forming eruptions. San Salvador volcano is on the horizon to the east (left).

Photo by Lee Siebert, 2002 (Smithsonian Institution).
San Marcelino scoria cone is seen from Cerro Chino on the SE flank of Santa Ana. San Marcelino formed during an eruption in 1722 and produced a lava flow that traveled 13 km to the east. The vegetated southern rim of Coatepeque caldera can be seen to the NE (left) of San Marcelino.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 2002 (Smithsonian Institution).
The 7 x 10 km Coatepeque caldera is seen here from the Santa Ana summit. The caldera formed during a series of major explosive eruptions between about 70,000 and 57,000 years ago. Post-caldera eruptions included the formation of basaltic scoria cones and lava flows near the western margin of the caldera and the extrusion of lava domes, including Cerro Grande, the island in the W side of the caldera lake.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 2002 (Smithsonian Institution).
A quarry exposes red, oxidized scoria deposits with interbedded lighter lava flow units (possibly due to surface alteration) at Cerro la Leona scoria cone on the northern rim of Coatepeque caldera. The stratigraphy of the adjacent Cerro la Leona and Cerro Cañitas cones on the NE caldera rim were exposed by the caldera ring faults. At least ten other scoria cones on the eastern and southern caldera rims overlap ring faults.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 2002 (Smithsonian Institution).
Lago de Coatepeque fills the eastern side of Coatepeque caldera. Post-caldera lava domes, including the rounded island of Cerro Grande at the far, left side of the lake, were erupted along a E-W-trending line. The rounded hill beyond the caldera and to the right is Cerro Verde.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 2002 (Smithsonian Institution).
This view shows the western side of Coatepeque caldera (top of the photo) from Cerro Chino scoria cone on the SE flank of Santa Ana, which lies out of view to the left. The caldera rim partially cuts into the eastern side of Santa Ana. The western side of Coatepeque caldera is considered to have formed during the second stage of caldera formation through a lake partially filling the earlier caldera, producing the Congo Formation tephras and pyroclastic flows.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 2002 (Smithsonian Institution).
This view from the road to the Cerro Verde summit shows the eastern side of Coatepeque caldera. The hill in the lake (right) is the Cerro Grande lava dome. The caldera formed during two major explosive eruptions, the first of which occurred about 72,000 years ago, forming the eastern part of the caldera in association with the Arce pumice fall and pyroclastic flow deposits. A lake partially filled the caldera floor prior to the Congo eruption associated with formation of the western part of the caldera.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 2002 (Smithsonian Institution).
Santa Ana volcano rises above Lago de Coatepeque. The 6-km-wide lake lies at the eastern end of the Coatepeque caldera. The northern and southern rims of the western side of the caldera are visible beyond the lake. The rounded peak to the left of Santa Ana is Cerro Verde, one of many cones along a NW-SE-trending fissure cutting across the Santa Ana complex.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 2002 (Smithsonian Institution).
The Los Anteojos lava domes form small peninsulas on the eastern shore of Lago de Coatepeque. Four other domes are on the opposite side of the caldera in a trend that passes through Izalco volcano to the SW. The Anteojos domes are mostly submerged, rising only about 20-25 m above the lake surface in this 2002 photo. A chain of scoria cones was erupted along caldera ring faults; two of these are seen beyond the two domes.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 2002 (Smithsonian Institution).
This vegetated island is Cerro Grande, a post-caldera lava dome in the SW side of Coatepeque caldera. The partially submerged dome has a basal diameter of about 2.5 km and a volume of about 0.5 km3. The smaller San Pedro Island with one tree is exposed during low lake levels.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 2002 (Smithsonian Institution).
The northern wall of Coatepeque caldera rises about 250 m above the surface of Lago de Coatepeque, whose shores are lined with residences and small hotels. The peak beyond the caldera to the left is Volcán Chingo along the El Salvador/Guatemala border. The broader peak to the far right is Volcán Suchitán, one of the largest volcanoes in SE Guatemala.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 2002 (Smithsonian Institution).
Coatepeque caldera is seen here from its northern rim, with Santa Ana volcano in the background. The caldera walls rise from 250 m to about 1 km above the lake and the stratigraphy is exposed in some areas. The rounded summit behind the caldera rim to the left is Cerro Verde, which was erupted along a NW-SE-trending fissure cutting through Santa Ana.

Photo by Lee Siebert, 2002 (Smithsonian Institution).
Lake-filled Coatepeque caldera is prominent in this International Space Station image with north to the lower left. A post-caldera lava dome forms an island at the SW side of the lake. The nested summit craters of Santa Ana volcano are visible below and to the right of Coatepeque, and the unvegetated cone of Izalco volcano is to the right of Santa Ana. Small stratovolcanoes of the Sierra de Apaneca form the forested ridge at the bottom right. The light-colored area at the left-center is the city of Santa Ana, the second largest in El Salvador.

NASA International Space Station image ISS004-E-9398, 2002 (http://eol.jsc.nasa.gov/).
This false-color oblique DEM overlain by a thermal infrared ASTER image shows Santa Ana volcano (middle left), Izalco volcano (center), and the roughly 5.5 x 6 km Coatepeque caldera lake from the SW. The summit of Santa Ana has series of nested craters, and a NW-SE-trending fissure across the edifice. Lava flows were recently emplaced across the southern flanks of Izalco. The grayish area at the far upper left is the city of Santa Ana, El Salvador.

NASA ASTER image, 2001 (https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/).
The summit crater complex of Santa Ana volcano with its small light-bluish crater lake is visible at the left-center in this false-color ASTER satellite image (N is to the top; this image is approximately 30 km across). The lake-filled Coatepeque caldera is east of Santa Ana, and Izalco volcano with its lava flows are to the south. A fissure was the source of an eruption in 1722 CE from a scoria cone (center) on the SE flank that produced the lava flow across the image to the lower right.

NASA ASTER image, 2001 (https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/).
An ash-and-steam plume from Santa Ana towers above Coatepeque caldera lake. The one-hour explosive eruption the morning of 1 October 2005 produced plumes that rose 10 km or more. Ash fell in towns west of the volcano and extended into Guatemala. Volcanic blocks up to a meter in diameter fell as far as 2 km south of the summit. Lahars descended valleys on the flanks of the volcano.

Photo by José Roberto Lopez, 2005 (Coatepeque Watershed Authority).
The 7 x 10 km lake-filled Coatepeque Caldera formed 72 ka and is shown in this November 2019 Planet Labs satellite image monthly mosaic (N is at the top; this image is approximately 25 km across). The western caldera rim formed on the Santa Maria eastern flank, and several lava domes formed in the SW area with Cerro Grande forming the island within the lake. Santa Ana with its blue-green crater lake and Izalco with the unvegetated slopes are W and SW, respectively.

Satellite image courtesy of Planet Labs, 2019.
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: 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 Coatepeque Caldera in the Smithsonian's NMNH Department of Mineral Sciences Rock and Ore collection.

External Sites