Southern Peru
Synonyms: Omate, Quinistaquillas, Chiquimote, and Chequepuquina
Location: 16º35'S; 70º52'W
Type: Explosive Silicic Center
Summit Elevation: 4800 m
Edifice Height: 200 m

Volcano Image

This volcano has also been variously known as Omate, Quinistaquillas, Chiquimote, and Chequepuquina and consists of a complex 2.5 km diameter explosion crater, with a maximum elevation of 4,800 m and edifice height of no more than 500 m (Figure M2a & b). Four vents from the most recent eruption in 1600 have been identified near the crater and on the flanks of the edifice. It is remarkably situated on the western rim of the canyon of the Rio Tambo, which is more than 2 km deep immediately below the volcano. To the west, a roughly rectangular plateau of ash has buried the local pre-eruption topography over an area of about 50 km2. Several relatively small ash cones are located within the crater (Bullard, 1962). Earliest activity in this region was apparently manifested by Cerro Las Chilcas, a small extrsuve lava dome 3 km to the south.

Huaynaputina was the site of a single catastrophic eruption of VEI 6 in 1600, which was remarkable not only for its size and as the only major explosive eruption in historic times in the Central Andes, but also for its impact on global climate. The eruption lasted from February 19 to March 6, and consisted of a plinian eruption, dome building, and collapse. The eruption completely destroyed the pre-1600 edifice which was described as "a low ridge in the centre of a sierra". Ash from the eruption is widespread and still mantles much of the surrounding countryside as far as Arequipa, 80 km away. On a global scale, the following summers were some of the coldest in the last 500 years. Sulfur aerosols erupted from Huaynaputina are thought to have entered the Earth's atmosphere and reflected sunlight, resulting in this global temperature drop. In the Greenland ice core acidity profile, the eruption produced an acid spike larger in magnitude than the Krakatau 1883 eruption (Hammer et al., 1980; de Silva & Francis, 1990) and remarkable optical effects were reported from the northern hemisphere in 1601 (Lamb, 1970). From the ice cores it is estimated that 32 Mt of sulfur were erupted, while petrologic estimates indicate that most of this sulfur did not exist in the Huaynaputina magma (only 2-4 Mt), but may have come from a coexisting vapor phase or a hydrothermal system.


Adams, N. K., S. L. de Silva, S. Self, G. Salas, S. Schubring, J. L. Permenter, and K. Arbesman (2001), The physical volcanology of the 1600 eruption of Huaynaputina, southern Peru, Bulletin of Volcanology, 62(8), 493-518.

Bullard, F.M. 1962. Volcanoes of southern Peru. Bull. Volcanol. XXIV, p445-453.

de Silva S.L., & Francis, P.W., 1990. Active and potentially active volcanoes of southern Peru - observations using Landsat Thematic Mapper and Space shuttle imagery. Bull Volcanol. v52, 286 - 301.

de Silva, S. L., and G. A. Zielinski (1998), Global influence of the AD 1600 eruption of Huaynaputina, Peru, Nature, 393, 455-458.

Dietterich, H.R., de Silva, S.L., & Salas, G., 2007. Sulfur Yield of the 1600 Eruption of Huaynaputina Determined by Apatite Compositions. AGU Fall Meeting Abstracts, 811.

Hammer, C.U., Clausen, H.B., and Dansgaard, W., 1980. Greenland ice sheet record of post-glacial volcanism and its climatic impact. Nature 338, p144-146.

Lamb, H.H., 1970. Volcanic dust in the atmosphere, with a chronology and assessment of its meteorological significance. Phil. Trans. Roy. Soc. Lond. A266, p425-533.