15 tallest volcanoes in South America

Review of the best according to the editorial board. On the selection criteria. This material is subjective, does not constitute advertising and does not serve as a purchase guide. Before buying, you need to consult with a specialist.

Volcanoes are defined as a certain type of geological formations on the surface of the earth's lithosphere, where magma has an outlet to the surface, which leads to the release of lava, ash and steam. The word “volcano” itself comes from the name of the god of fire in the mythology of ancient Rome. There are active and extinct volcanoes. The first include those formations that at least once showed activity during the period of human history. But most of the volcanoes belong to the second type, because they stopped their activity tens of thousands or even millions of years ago. The youngest of them are located mostly in the middle of the Andean Cordillera mountain range, in the western part of South America. Many of these volcanic peaks reach dizzying heights. Let's find out which of the South American volcanoes are the highest.

Highest volcanoes in South America

Nomination a place name Height
Highest volcanoes in South America 1 Sierra Nevada de Lagunas Bravas 6173 METERS
2 San Pedro 6145 meters away
3 Aukankilcha 6176 meters away
4 Pular 6233 meters
5 Chimborazo 6310 meters away
6 Ampato 6288 meters away
7 Parinacota 6348 meters away
8 Tupungato 6565 meters away
9 Incahuasi 6621 meters
10 Koropun 6377 meters away
11 Sahama 6542 meters
12 Llullaillaco 6739 meters away
13 Nevado Tres Cruces 6749 meters away
14 Monte Pissis 6795 meters away
15 Ojos del Salado 6893 meters

15th place – Sierra Nevada de Lagunas Bravas

Rating: 3.6

Sierra Nevada de Lagunas Bravas

The Sierra Nevada de Lagunas Bravas volcanic complex is located on the border between the Argentine province of Catamarca and the Chilean Atacama region, in the remote part of the Central Andes. Due to the inaccessibility of this region, it still remains little explored. The total area of ​​the complex is about 225 square kilometers. Most of it was formed during the Holocene from ingimbrite products of eruptions. The highest point of the complex of volcanic domes is at an altitude of 6173 meters.

14th place – San Pedro

Rating: 3.7

San Pedro

One of the highest active volcanoes in the world, with a peak reaching 6145 meters, is located near the Atacama Desert, in northern Chile. The Loa, the longest Chilean river with a length of 440 kilometers, runs through its valley. San Pedro is a stratovolcano, the cone was formed by andesitic lava flows. A high saddle connects it in the west with the volcano San Pablo 6092 meters high. The first ascent to the crater was made in 1903 by the French climber George Corti, accompanied by the Chilean guide Philemon Morales. The volcano is very active: over the last century, it made itself felt as many as seven times, the last eruption occurred in 1960. Currently, the giant slumbers, only occasionally emitting toxic fumes, which, however, does not stop tourists coming from different parts of the planet to climb the top of San Pedro.

13th place – Aukankilcha

Rating: 3.8


The Aukankilcha stratovolcano in the Chilean region of Antofagasta is part of a nine-kilometer ridge of 20 volcanoes. It rises above the surrounding area at 1250 meters, and its height above sea level reaches 6176 meters. The formation of volcanoes in this region began about 11 million years ago, and the last eruption of Aukankilch took place in the late Pleistocene epoch. Throughout the 20th century, a mining village was located here. The workers, mining sulfur in the mine, laid inside the slope, lived permanently at an altitude of five and a half thousand meters. After the mine was worked out, the village was abandoned, and the roads were eventually washed away by landslides. Today the volcano, while dormant, exhibits significant fumarole activity, that is, the release of hot gases through cracks.

12th place – Pular

Rating: 3.9


The large stratovolcano Pular is located in northern Chile, about 15 kilometers from the Argentine border. Together with the Cerro Payonales mountain, it forms a high volcanic ridge about 12 kilometers long. The Pular peak rises 6233 meters above sea level. The Payones-Pular massif is formed of dacite and andesite rocks, its total area is over 300 square kilometers.

11th place – Chimborazo

Rating: 4.0


Chimborazo is an extinct volcano with a height of 6310 meters, the highest point in the country of Ecuador. The last eruption was presumably in the years 400-700 AD. The mountain belongs to the Cordillera Occidental ridge, which belongs to the mountain system of the Ecuadorian Andes. It is located 150 kilometers from Quito, the capital of the state. The Guayas River flows at the foot of the volcano. For a long time, the ice covering the upper part of the volcano served as a source of water for residents of nearby settlements. Ice was also mined to cool food in hot climates, since for many residents of provincial towns and settlements in Ecuador, a refrigerator was a luxury item several decades ago. Now the ice cover has decreased significantly due to global warming. The first ascent to the volcano was made in 1880. An interesting fact – when measuring the height of Chimborazo from the center of the Earth, it will exceed Everest by several kilometers.

10th place – Ampato

Rating: 4.1


Ampato volcano is located in the southern part of Peru, about a hundred kilometers northwest of the city of Arequipa. Its height is 6288 meters. It belongs to a complex called Sabankaya, which consists of three dormant stratovolcanoes. In winter, the summit is covered with a snow cap. The volcano is known for the fact that on its slopes, in 1995, an expedition led by American archaeologist Joan Reinhard discovered the body of an Inca 13-year-old girl, perfectly preserved in the ice. The find dates back to the middle of the 15th century AD. Apparently, “Lady Ampato”, as the archaeologists called the girl, was sacrificed by compatriots to the gods of the Incas in order to calm down the raging volcano. In the course of further research on the slopes of Ampato, scientists found three more similar bodies.

9th place – Parinacota

Rating: 4.2


The dormant volcano Parinacota is located in the Lauca National Park, near the border between Chile and Bolivia. Together with the Pomerape volcano, it forms the Payachata complex of the Western Cordillera. Parinacota reaches a height of 6348 meters, and its crater is 300 meters wide. One of the most powerful volcanic eruptions, which occurred about eight thousand years ago, released six cubic kilometers of incandescent lava, which blocked the river channels to the west, which in turn led to the emergence of the alpine lake Chungara.

8th place – Tupungato

Rating: 4.3


The volcano, 6565 meters high, is located in the Argentine province of Mendoza, 65 kilometers east of the city of Santiago. The formation of Tupungato took place during the Pleistocene era, it arose due to the collision of the Nazca lithospheric plate with the South American plate. The volcano remains active to this day – the latest eruption happened in 1986. Despite the danger, its peak has long attracted climbers. For the first time, a successful ascent to it was performed in 1897 by a team led by Matthias Zübriggen. Also connected with the volcano is the case of a passenger plane crash, which crashed into a glacier on a slope and was buried by an avalanche for as much as 50 years, until in 1998 a group of climbers discovered its remains under a layer of snow.

7th place – Incahuasi

Rating: 4.4


Volcano Incahuasi is located in the Argentine province of Catamarca, in the eastern part of the Atacama Desert. It is 6621 meters high and its caldera is three and a half kilometers wide. During the time of the Incas, the volcano served as a center of worship of the gods, which is confirmed by archaeological artifacts found on its slopes. Today, it attracts numerous mountaineering expeditions, as it is considered the most beautiful volcanic complex in the region.

6th place – Koropun

Rating: 4.5


Coropuna is the highest volcano in Peru, its height reaches 6377 meters above sea level. It is located 150 kilometers northwest of the city of Arequipa and 110 kilometers from the Pacific coast. The stratovolcano was formed in the Pliocene period, several million years ago, and remained active during the Holocene epoch. The last fact geologists were able to determine thanks to the analysis of solidified lava flows and ash deposits near the foot. From a height of 5300 meters, the slopes are covered with snow and ice. The melt water from the volcano is used by the inhabitants of the two nearby provinces for drinking and irrigating fields. According to the legends of the Peruvian Indians, Coropuna is considered a sacred place, and the mountain was also revered by the Incas, who sacrificed on it to the deity Apu.

5th place – Sahama

Rating: 4.6


The extinct stratovolcano Sahama is located in the national park of the same name, about 20 kilometers from the border between Bolivia and Chile. It has a height of 6542 meters. The volcano is part of the Western Cordilleras. There is scarce vegetation on the slopes, and eternal glaciation begins from six thousand meters. Scientists failed to find out the time of the last eruption of Sahama, presumably it took place in the Holocene era.

4th place – Llullaillaco

Rating: 4.7


The volcano with the difficult to pronounce name Llullaillaco stands on the Argentine plateau Puna de Atacama, near the Chilean-Argentine border. It is the highest of all active volcanoes on the planet, its height above sea level reaches 6739 meters. The Andean Indians gave Llullaillaco the nickname “trickster”, thus eloquently warning that the volcano's external calmness can be deceiving. It was most active in the middle of the 19th century, and 1877 was marked by an explosive eruption. Now the volcano is in the solfatara phase, making itself felt only by emissions in the form of steam and sulfurous gases. In 1999, archaeologists made a unique find near the crater – frozen mummies of three Inca children, about five hundred years old. Two boys and a girl fell prey to the ancient capacoca ritual to appease the gods. Their bodies and even their clothes are perfectly preserved and the mummies are currently on display in the museum. Another interesting discovery was the discovery of the highest mountain mammal living on the slopes of Llullaillaco. It turned out to be a leaf-eared hamster that manages to survive in conditions of low oxygen (up to 45% of the norm) and at temperatures of 60 degrees below zero.

3rd place – Nevado-Tres-Cruces

Rating: 4.8

Nevado Tres Cruces

Located along the Chilean border, the Nevado Tres Cruces volcanic massif belongs to the Andes mountain system. It is surrounded by a desolate dry area, and Chile's national park of the same name is also located nearby. The massif stretches in a north-south direction for 12 kilometers. Its last eruption happened about 28 thousand years ago. Nevado Tres Cruces has four peaks, the highest of which rises above sea level at 6749 meters.

2nd place – Monte Pissis

Rating: 4.9

 Monte Pissis

An inactive volcano in the Argentine province of La Rioja, 550 km north of the city of Aconcagua. The volcano got its name from the name of the geologist Pedro José Amadeo Pis, who was engaged in the study of its subsoil on behalf of the country's government. Its height is 6795 meters. The first people to conquer the top of Monte Pissis were climbers from Poland, Jan Szczepanski and Stefan Osiecki in 1937. The peak was not very popular for a long time due to its inaccessibility, however, the construction of mines in this region led to the construction of roads, which in turn contributed to the development of tourism.

1st place – Ojos del Salado

Rating: 5.0

Ojos del Salado

Ojos del Salado is the highest volcano not only in South America, but the entire planet. Also, the 6893-meter peak is the second highest point in the Western Hemisphere (the first place belongs to Mount Aconcagua). The dormant volcano is located east of the Atacama Desert, near the Argentine-Chilean border. The highest mountain lake in the world is located on its eastern slope. During the entire observation period, Ojos del Salado has never erupted, however, throughout the 20th century, minimal activity in the form of steam emissions was repeatedly recorded. In the ancient period of history, the volcano was revered by the Incas, and the remains of their sacrificial altars are still preserved on it.

Attention! This rating is subjective and does not constitute an advertisement and does not serve as a purchase guide. Before buying, you need to consult with a specialist.

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