Logo link to homepage

El Misti

Photo of this volcano
  • Peru
  • Andean Central Volcanic Arc
  • Composite | Stratovolcano
  • 1985 CE
  • Country
  • Volcanic Province
  • Landform | Volc Type
  • Last Known Eruption
  • 16.294°S
  • 71.409°W

  • 5822 m
    19101 ft

  • 354010
  • Latitude
  • Longitude

  • Summit
    Elevation

  • Volcano
    Number

Most Recent Weekly Report: 28 February-5 March 2024 Citation IconCite this Report

Instituto Geofísico del Perú (IGP) reported that a lahar descended the SE flank of El Misti at 1438 on 5 March. The public was warned to stay away from drainages and roads on that flank.

Source: Instituto Geofísico del Perú (IGP)


Most Recent Bulletin Report: July 2013 (BGVN 38:07) Citation IconCite this Report

Generally quiet; 1st small seismic swarm in 5 years during August 2012

Since the last strong eruption in the 15th century, El Misti has experienced infrequent small explosions, some of which were probably merely heightened fumarolic activity. Our most recent reports discussed a steam emission in April 1984 (SEAN 09:05) and vigorous fumarolic activity during 7-8 August 1985 (SEAN 10:12). Weak fumaroles are occasionally detected at the summit area. This report presents basic background and some available recent seismic data through June 2013. Misti's location and its relationship with the nearby city of Arequipa is presented in figures 1-3.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 1. These Google Earth images highlight the locations of El Misti and major surrounding landmarks. Courtesy of Google Earth.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 2. A mosaic of two astronaut photographs of Misti and the nearby town of Arequipa, Peru, taken on 16 October 2009. The city center of Arequipa is only 17 km SW of Misti's summit. According to NASA, the urban area is bordered by green agricultural fields in the image. The channel in the image NW of the volcano is the Chili River. Arequipa is the second most populous city in Peru, with about one million residents. Courtesy of NASA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 3. Hazard-zone map for El Misti based on the VEI 4 Plinian eruption that took place about 2030 years ago. Note that the entire city of Arequipa is vulnerable to pyroclastic surges, and areas closest to the volcano would be at high risk even for small- and medium-sized events. Courtesy of Cobeñasa and others (2012).

According to Thouret and others (2001), the maximum fumarole temperature at the lava plug, measured in December 1997, was 220°C.

The Geophysical Institute of Peru (IGP) reports on its website that Misti has been monitored daily in real time since 2005 through a network of five seismic stations. Earthquake data for the most recent one-week period is displayed on its website. For example, between 29 April and 5 May 2013, Misti experienced 21 long-period (LP) earthquakes and 163 volcanic-tectonic (VT) earthquakes; between 8-14 July 2013, the volcano experienced 28 LP earthquakes and 104 VT earthquakes.

A news account (El Comercio) on 28 August 2012 said the IGP had detected a small seismic swarm during the previous week, the first such swarm in more than five years. During that week, 224 total earthquakes were recorded, 143 of which were VT.

References. Cobeñasa, G., Thouret, J., Bonadonnab, C., and , Boivina, P., 2012, The c.2030 yr BP Plinian eruption of El Misti volcano, Peru: Eruption dynamics and hazard implications: Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, v. 241-242, p. 105-120.

Thouret, J., Finizola, A., Fornari, M., Legeley-Padovani, A., Suni, J., Frechen, M., 2001, Geology of El Misti volcano near the city of Arequipa, Peru: Geological Society of America Bulletin, v. 113, iss. 12, p. 1593-1610.

Information Contacts: Geophysical Institute of Peru (IGP) (URL: http://www.igp.gob.pe/); El Comercio (URL: http://elcomercio.pe/); and Inca Trail Reservations (URL: http://incatrailreservations.com/).

Weekly Reports - Index


2024: January | February
2014: January | June


28 February-5 March 2024 Citation IconCite this Report

Instituto Geofísico del Perú (IGP) reported that a lahar descended the SE flank of El Misti at 1438 on 5 March. The public was warned to stay away from drainages and roads on that flank.

Source: Instituto Geofísico del Perú (IGP)


14 February-20 February 2024 Citation IconCite this Report

Instituto Geofísico del Perú (IGP) reported that a lahar descended the SE flank of El Misti at 1905 on 20 February. The public was warned to stay away from drainages and roads on that flank.

Source: Instituto Geofísico del Perú (IGP)


31 January-6 February 2024 Citation IconCite this Report

Instituto Geofísico del Perú (IGP) reported that a lahar descended the NW flank of El Misti at 1640 on 5 February, impacting the Matagente drainage.

Source: Instituto Geofísico del Perú (IGP)


24 January-30 January 2024 Citation IconCite this Report

Instituto Geofísico del Perú (IGP) reported that lahars descended the SE flanks at El Misti at 1448 on 23 January and at 1642 on 25 January. The report noted that possible areas of impact included the Andamayo and Agua Salada river drainages in the Chiguata District. The public was warned to stay away from the drainages and roads on the SE flank.

Source: Instituto Geofísico del Perú (IGP)


18 June-24 June 2014 Citation IconCite this Report

Instituto Geofísico del Perú (IGP) reported that, during the last 12 months, seismicity at El Misti was dominated by volcano-tectonic (VT) earthquakes. Two seismic swarms (more than 100 events per day) occurred during the last three months, on 19 May and 3 June. An increase in tremor was noted in April, although the total duration did not exceed 10 minutes and was generally low-amplitude. Long-period seismicity was not significant. In the last 15 days, seismicity increased slightly and tremor was recorded daily.

Source: Instituto Geofísico del Perú (IGP)


15 January-21 January 2014 Citation IconCite this Report

Instituto Geofísico del Perú (IGP) reported that seismicity at El Misti increased during January, and a seismic swarm consisting of 119 volcano-tectonic events was detected during 14-15 January. Despite the increase, activity remained at a low level.

Source: Instituto Geofísico del Perú (IGP)


Bulletin Reports - Index

Reports are organized chronologically and indexed below by Month/Year (Publication Volume:Number), and include a one-line summary. Click on the index link or scroll down to read the reports.

05/1984 (SEAN 09:05) Increased vapor emission

12/1985 (SEAN 10:12) New summit crater fumaroles

07/2013 (BGVN 38:07) Generally quiet; 1st small seismic swarm in 5 years during August 2012




Information is preliminary and subject to change. All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


May 1984 (SEAN 09:05) Citation IconCite this Report

Increased vapor emission

"An increase in the normal emission of vapor from the volcano has been noted since the beginning of April. At times the column rose to about 1 km above the crater and was ejected from the dome (150 m in diameter) that is about 250 m below the outer rim of the crater. A temperature of 125°C has been registered for some years in the dome's fumarolic fissures. [At the dome, blocks of andesite are covered with sulfur, gypsum, anhydrite, and ralstonite.]

"It is possible that this increase in vapor (no such increase had been noted since April 1971) is caused by the evaporation of water from the rains which have been intense this year and abundant for 3 months, January-March. As the rains ended and the clouds disappeared, the impressive and sometimes intermittent vapor column from the volcano was visible from Arequipa (1,000,000 inhabitants including the suburbs). It cannot be excluded that a notable increase in natural degassing has also been occurring, in combination with the evaporation of atmospheric water.

"Persons who intended to go to the bottom of the crater 29 April to collect samples were prevented from doing so because gases irritated noses, throats, and eyes. They said that they also observed flaring, perhaps caused by the combustion of hydrogen or other gases.

"The Observatorio de Chacarato of the Instituto Geofísico, Universidad Nacional de San Agustín de Arequipa (10 km from the city and about 20 km from the volcano's crater) equipped with seismographs and magnetometers, had not registered any changes as of 8 May that could be attributed to perturbations of volcanic origin." . . .

Information Contacts: A. Parodi Isolabella, Arequipa.


December 1985 (SEAN 10:12) Citation IconCite this Report

New summit crater fumaroles

Inside the SE rim of El Misti's [690 x 935]-m summit crater is a younger cinder cone, about [545] m wide at the top and having an inner crater [198] m deep, with a flat floor [158] m across. On 7 and 8 August geologists observed vigorous fumaroles, which had not been active a few months earlier, on the N side of the cinder cone floor. High-pressure degassing, as "noisy as a reaction motor," emitted white-gray vapor from 6 vents. There were red sulfur deposits inside the vents, yellow sulfur outside them. Fumaroles were still visible on the N rim of the crater.

The last strong eruption of El Misti occurred between 1438 and 1471 (the reign of the Inca Pachacutec); several weeks of vigorous tephra emission forced residents of the region to flee. Several smaller explosive eruptions have been reported since then, but some were probably only periods of increased fumarolic activity [such as reports from 1878, 1901, 1906, 1929, 1949, and 1971].

Information Contacts: M. Decobecq Dominique, Univ. Paris Sud, Orsay, France.


July 2013 (BGVN 38:07) Citation IconCite this Report

Generally quiet; 1st small seismic swarm in 5 years during August 2012

Since the last strong eruption in the 15th century, El Misti has experienced infrequent small explosions, some of which were probably merely heightened fumarolic activity. Our most recent reports discussed a steam emission in April 1984 (SEAN 09:05) and vigorous fumarolic activity during 7-8 August 1985 (SEAN 10:12). Weak fumaroles are occasionally detected at the summit area. This report presents basic background and some available recent seismic data through June 2013. Misti's location and its relationship with the nearby city of Arequipa is presented in figures 1-3.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 1. These Google Earth images highlight the locations of El Misti and major surrounding landmarks. Courtesy of Google Earth.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 2. A mosaic of two astronaut photographs of Misti and the nearby town of Arequipa, Peru, taken on 16 October 2009. The city center of Arequipa is only 17 km SW of Misti's summit. According to NASA, the urban area is bordered by green agricultural fields in the image. The channel in the image NW of the volcano is the Chili River. Arequipa is the second most populous city in Peru, with about one million residents. Courtesy of NASA.
Figure (see Caption) Figure 3. Hazard-zone map for El Misti based on the VEI 4 Plinian eruption that took place about 2030 years ago. Note that the entire city of Arequipa is vulnerable to pyroclastic surges, and areas closest to the volcano would be at high risk even for small- and medium-sized events. Courtesy of Cobeñasa and others (2012).

According to Thouret and others (2001), the maximum fumarole temperature at the lava plug, measured in December 1997, was 220°C.

The Geophysical Institute of Peru (IGP) reports on its website that Misti has been monitored daily in real time since 2005 through a network of five seismic stations. Earthquake data for the most recent one-week period is displayed on its website. For example, between 29 April and 5 May 2013, Misti experienced 21 long-period (LP) earthquakes and 163 volcanic-tectonic (VT) earthquakes; between 8-14 July 2013, the volcano experienced 28 LP earthquakes and 104 VT earthquakes.

A news account (El Comercio) on 28 August 2012 said the IGP had detected a small seismic swarm during the previous week, the first such swarm in more than five years. During that week, 224 total earthquakes were recorded, 143 of which were VT.

References. Cobeñasa, G., Thouret, J., Bonadonnab, C., and , Boivina, P., 2012, The c.2030 yr BP Plinian eruption of El Misti volcano, Peru: Eruption dynamics and hazard implications: Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, v. 241-242, p. 105-120.

Thouret, J., Finizola, A., Fornari, M., Legeley-Padovani, A., Suni, J., Frechen, M., 2001, Geology of El Misti volcano near the city of Arequipa, Peru: Geological Society of America Bulletin, v. 113, iss. 12, p. 1593-1610.

Information Contacts: Geophysical Institute of Peru (IGP) (URL: http://www.igp.gob.pe/); El Comercio (URL: http://elcomercio.pe/); and Inca Trail Reservations (URL: http://incatrailreservations.com/).

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 15 confirmed Holocene eruptive periods.

1985 Jul 2 ± 182 days Confirmed Eruption Max VEI: 1 (?)

Episode 1 | Eruption Episode
1985 Jul 2 ± 182 days - Unknown Evidence from Observations: Reported

List of 3 Events for Episode 1

Start Date End Date Event Type Event Remarks
   - - - -    - - - - Phreatic activity
   - - - -    - - - - Ash weak or small
1985    - - - - VEI (Explosivity Index)

[ 1870 Mar ] Uncertain Eruption

Episode 1 | Eruption Episode
1870 Mar - Unknown Evidence from Unknown

List of 3 Events for Episode 1

Start Date End Date Event Type Event Remarks
   - - - -    - - - - Phreatic activity Uncertain
   - - - -    - - - - Fumarolic or Solfataric Uncertain
1870 Mar    - - - - VEI (Explosivity Index)

[ 1869 Sep ] Uncertain Eruption

Episode 1 | Eruption Episode
1869 Sep - Unknown Evidence from Unknown

List of 4 Events for Episode 1

Start Date End Date Event Type Event Remarks
   - - - -    - - - - Phreatic activity Uncertain
   - - - -    - - - - Ash Uncertain
   - - - -    - - - - Fumarolic or Solfataric Uncertain
1869 Sep    - - - - VEI (Explosivity Index)

[ 1831 Aug ] Uncertain Eruption

Episode 1 | Eruption Episode
1831 Aug - Unknown Evidence from Unknown

List of 4 Events for Episode 1

Start Date End Date Event Type Event Remarks
   - - - -    - - - - Phreatic activity Uncertain
   - - - -    - - - - Volcanic "smoke"
   - - - -    - - - - Fumarolic or Solfataric Uncertain
1831 Aug    - - - - VEI (Explosivity Index)

[ 1830 Aug ] Uncertain Eruption

Episode 1 | Eruption Episode
1830 Aug - Unknown Evidence from Unknown

List of 4 Events for Episode 1

Start Date End Date Event Type Event Remarks
   - - - -    - - - - Phreatic activity Uncertain
   - - - -    - - - - Scoria Uncertain
   - - - -    - - - - Fumarolic or Solfataric Uncertain
1830 Aug    - - - - VEI (Explosivity Index)

[ 1826 Aug ] Uncertain Eruption

Episode 1 | Eruption Episode
1826 Aug - Unknown Evidence from Unknown

List of 3 Events for Episode 1

Start Date End Date Event Type Event Remarks
   - - - -    - - - - Phreatic activity Uncertain
   - - - -    - - - - Fumarolic or Solfataric Uncertain
1826 Aug    - - - - VEI (Explosivity Index)

1787 Jul 28 - 1787 Oct 10 Confirmed Eruption Max VEI: 1 (?)

Episode 1 | Eruption Episode
1787 Jul 28 - 1787 Oct 10 Evidence from Observations: Reported

List of 5 Events for Episode 1

Start Date End Date Event Type Event Remarks
   - - - -    - - - - Phreatic activity
   - - - -    - - - - Volcanic "smoke"
   - - - -    - - - - Audible Sounds
   - - - -    - - - - Earthquakes (undefined) Uncertain
1787 Jul 28    - - - - VEI (Explosivity Index)

1784 Jul 9 Confirmed Eruption Max VEI: 2

Episode 1 | Eruption Episode
1784 Jul 9 - Unknown Evidence from Observations: Reported

List of 4 Events for Episode 1

Start Date End Date Event Type Event Remarks
   - - - -    - - - - Phreatic activity
   - - - -    - - - - Flames
   - - - -    - - - - Earthquakes (undefined) Before.
1784 Jul 9    - - - - VEI (Explosivity Index)

1677 May 2 Confirmed Eruption Max VEI: 2

Episode 1 | Eruption Episode
1677 May 2 - Unknown Evidence from Observations: Reported

List of 5 Events for Episode 1

Start Date End Date Event Type Event Remarks
   - - - -    - - - - Phreatic activity
   - - - -    - - - - Volcanic "smoke"
   - - - -    - - - - Audible Sounds
   - - - -    - - - - Earthquakes (undefined)
1677 May 2    - - - - VEI (Explosivity Index)

[ 1599 ] Uncertain Eruption

Episode 1 | Eruption Episode
1599 - Unknown Evidence from Unknown

List of 3 Events for Episode 1

Start Date End Date Event Type Event Remarks
   - - - -    - - - - Phreatic activity Uncertain
   - - - -    - - - - Fumarolic or Solfataric Uncertain
1599    - - - - VEI (Explosivity Index)

[ 1542 ] Uncertain Eruption

Episode 1 | Eruption Episode
1542 - Unknown Evidence from Unknown

List of 3 Events for Episode 1

Start Date End Date Event Type Event Remarks
   - - - -    - - - - Phreatic activity Uncertain
   - - - -    - - - - Fumarolic or Solfataric Uncertain
1542    - - - - VEI (Explosivity Index)

1454 ± 16 years Confirmed Eruption Max VEI: 2

Episode 1 | Eruption Episode
1454 ± 16 years - Unknown Evidence from Observations: Reported

List of 5 Events for Episode 1

Start Date End Date Event Type Event Remarks
   - - - -    - - - - Explosion
   - - - -    - - - - Ash
   - - - -    - - - - Property Damage
   - - - -    - - - - Evacuations
1454 ± 16 years    - - - - VEI (Explosivity Index)

1350 ± 50 years Confirmed Eruption  

Episode 1 | Eruption Episode
1350 ± 50 years - Unknown Evidence from Isotopic: 14C (calibrated)

List of 4 Events for Episode 1

Start Date End Date Event Type Event Remarks
   - - - -    - - - - Explosion
   - - - -    - - - - Pyroclastic flow
   - - - -    - - - - Ash
   - - - -    - - - - Blocks

0760 ± 100 years Confirmed Eruption  

Episode 1 | Eruption Episode
0760 ± 100 years - Unknown Evidence from Isotopic: 14C (calibrated)

List of 2 Events for Episode 1

Start Date End Date Event Type Event Remarks
   - - - -    - - - - Explosion
   - - - -    - - - - Pumice

0090 ± 300 years Confirmed Eruption  

Episode 1 | Eruption Episode
0090 ± 300 years - Unknown Evidence from Isotopic: 14C (calibrated)

List of 2 Events for Episode 1

Start Date End Date Event Type Event Remarks
   - - - -    - - - - Explosion
   - - - -    - - - - Pumice

0080 BCE ± 75 years Confirmed Eruption Max VEI: 4 (?)

Episode 1 | Eruption Episode
0080 BCE ± 75 years - Unknown Evidence from Isotopic: 14C (calibrated)

List of 6 Events for Episode 1

Start Date End Date Event Type Event Remarks
   - - - -    - - - - Explosion
   - - - -    - - - - Pyroclastic flow
   - - - -    - - - - Avalanche Uncertain
   - - - -    - - - - Pumice
   - - - -    - - - - Lahar or Mudflow
0080 BCE ± 75 years    - - - - VEI (Explosivity Index)

0310 BCE ± 100 years Confirmed Eruption  

Episode 1 | Eruption Episode
0310 BCE ± 100 years - Unknown Evidence from Isotopic: 14C (calibrated)

List of 3 Events for Episode 1

Start Date End Date Event Type Event Remarks
   - - - -    - - - - Explosion
   - - - -    - - - - Pyroclastic flow
   - - - -    - - - - Pumice

2230 BCE ± 200 years Confirmed Eruption  

Episode 1 | Eruption Episode
2230 BCE ± 200 years - Unknown Evidence from Isotopic: 14C (calibrated)

List of 1 Events for Episode 1

Start Date End Date Event Type Event Remarks
   - - - -    - - - - Explosion

3510 BCE ± 150 years Confirmed Eruption  

Episode 1 | Eruption Episode
3510 BCE ± 150 years - Unknown Evidence from Isotopic: 14C (calibrated)

List of 2 Events for Episode 1

Start Date End Date Event Type Event Remarks
   - - - -    - - - - Explosion
   - - - -    - - - - Pyroclastic flow

4020 BCE ± 200 years Confirmed Eruption  

Episode 1 | Eruption Episode
4020 BCE ± 200 years - Unknown Evidence from Isotopic: 14C (calibrated)

List of 2 Events for Episode 1

Start Date End Date Event Type Event Remarks
   - - - -    - - - - Explosion
   - - - -    - - - - Pyroclastic flow

5390 BCE ± 75 years Confirmed Eruption  

Episode 1 | Eruption Episode
5390 BCE ± 75 years - Unknown Evidence from Isotopic: 14C (calibrated)

List of 2 Events for Episode 1

Start Date End Date Event Type Event Remarks
   - - - -    - - - - Explosion
   - - - -    - - - - Pyroclastic flow

7190 BCE ± 150 years Confirmed Eruption  

Episode 1 | Eruption Episode
7190 BCE ± 150 years - Unknown Evidence from Isotopic: 14C (calibrated)

List of 2 Events for Episode 1

Start Date End Date Event Type Event Remarks
   - - - -    - - - - Explosion
   - - - -    - - - - Pyroclastic flow
Deformation History

There is no Deformation History data available for El Misti.

Emission History

There is no Emissions History data available for El Misti.

GVP Map Holdings

Maps are not currently available due to technical issues.

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.

Smithsonian Sample Collections Database

The following 5 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 101755 Lava -- --
NMNH 113641 Rhyolite -- --
NMNH 113642 Andesite -- --
NMNH 113643 Andesite -- --
NMNH 135279-00 Hematite -- --
External Sites