Chile is a country in South America, occupying a long and narrow strip of land between the Pacific Ocean in the west and the Andean Mountains range in the east. The country covers an area of 796,096.3 km2 and has a population of 17,574,003. Given its range in latitude, the country’s landscape varies significantly from north to south. Chile contains many volcanoes, including 105 that are active. Ojos del Salado is Chile’s highest volcano, as well as the world’s highest active volcano. The tallest volcanoes of Chile are highlighted below.
The Five Highest Volcanoes in Chile
1. Nevado Ojos del Salado
Ojos del Salado is located on the international border between Chile and Argentina, in the Andean Mountains, and has an elevation of 6,893 m. Despite its height, the volcano experiences little precipitation due to its close proximity to the Atacama Desert. However, snow often remains on its peak during the winter. Ojos del Salado also features a permanent crater lake, which is located an at an elevation of 6,390 m and has a diameter of about 100 m. The volcano is relatively easier to climb than other mountains of its height.
The world’s second highest active volcano, Llullaillaco, is Chile’s second highest volcano. The volcano is located on the Chile-Argentina border, in the Puna de Atacama (Atacama Plateau), near the Atacama Desert. Llullaillaco has an elevation of 6,739 m above sea level, and last erupted in May 1877. Like Ojos del Salado, Llullaillaco also experiences a cold and dry climate, with snow cover occurring only near its peak. Presently, the volcano exhibits no fumaroles, but the possibility of a major future eruption cannot be completely ruled out. The first recorded climb of Llullaillaco occurred in 1950. The volcano is the world’s highest archeological site, and the mummified remains of children were found at its summit in 1999.
Incahuasi is Chile’s third highest volcano, with an elevation of 6,621 m above sea level. The volcano is located on the Chile-Argentina border, and consists of a caldera and two stratovolcanoes. The first recorded climb of Incahuasi was achieved by Walter Penck in 1912, although evidence of ancient ceremonial structures suggests the volcano was previously climbed by Inca people. Although the volcano is believed to be in a dormant or extinct state, the unpredictability of volcanoes in the region cannot rule out the possibility of a future eruption. Like most volcanoes in the region, Incahuasi experiences a cold and dry climate, and snowfall occurs only during the winter.
Located on the Chile-Argentina border, Tupungato is Chile’s fourth tallest volcano, with an elevation of 6,570 m. It is an extinct stratovolcano that is estimated to have erupted 0.8 million years ago. Tupungato was the site of a plane crash, the airliner Star Dust, in 1947. The plane crashed into a glacier on Tupungato, which triggered an avalanche and buried the plane.
Parinacota is a dormant stratovolcano located on the Chile-Bolivia border. The summit of the volcano has an elevation of 6,380 m above sea-level, making it the fifth highest volcano in Chile. A 500 m wide crater is located at the summit of Parinacota.