Backgroundfrom: Smithsonian / GVP Taapaca volcano information:
The Taapaca volcanic complex, lying west of the main Andean chain, rises NE of the small town of Putre in northern Chile. The elongated volcanic massif, known locally as Nevados de Putre, consists of an initial andesitic stratovolcano and a long-term dacitic lava-dome complex. Taapaca overlies Pleistocene ignimbrite deposits and trends roughly E-W, with activity in general migrating to the SW during four principal periods of activity dating back at least 1.5 million years. At least three major edifice collapse events have produced debris-avalanche deposits, the youngest of which underlies Putre, the principal settlement of the northern Chilean Altiplano. Recent geological studies have shown that explosive activity at Taapaca with dome growth and associated block-and-ash flows and lahars has continued into the late Holocene. The youngest volcanic stage beginning about 9000 years ago produced the 5860-m-high summit lava dome of the Putre Unit at the eastern and southern ends of the complex. The latest documented activity produced an ash layer dated at about 2000 years ago.
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