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Encyclopedia > Socompa
Elevation 6,051 m (19,852 ft)
Location Argentina, Chile
Range Andes
Coordinates 24°24′S, 68°15′W
Type Stratovolcano
Last eruption 5250 BC (?)
First ascent 1919
Easiest route glacier/snow

Socompa is a stratovolcano at the border of Argentina and Chile. A large composite complex, Socompa is best known for its large debris avalanche deposit, widely accepted as the best preserved example of this type deposit in the world. The volcano is difficult to reach - either from the north along dirt tracks south of the Miscanti Pass, or from the west via the Escondida copper mine. Both routes require a full-day's driving and for any reasonable mount of time to be spent at Socompa would need significant planning. A topographical summit is a point on a surface which is higher in elevation than all points immediately adjacent to it. ... The Himalaya as seen from the International Space Station A mountain range is a group of mountains bordered by lowlands or separated from other mountain ranges by passes or rivers. ... Planes view of the Andes, Peru. ... Map of Earth showing lines of latitude (horizontally) and longitude (vertically), Eckert VI projection; large version (pdf, 1. ... Mountains can be characterized in several ways. ... A cutaway diagram of a stratovolcano Mount Damavand, a stratovolcano in Māzandarān, Iran Mount St. ... For other uses, see Volcano (disambiguation). ... During the 6th millennium BC, agriculture spreads from the Balkans to Italy and Eastern Europe and from Mesopotamia to Egypt. ... In climbing, a first ascent (FA) is the first climb to reach the top of a mountain, or the first to follow a particular climbing route. ... Southern and northern Mount Everest climbing routes as seen from the International Space Station. ... A cutaway diagram of a stratovolcano Mount Damavand, a stratovolcano in Māzandarān, Iran Mount St. ... A Himalayan avalanche. ... False color satellite image of the Escondida Mine, courtesy of NASA The Escondida (Spanish hidden) mine is the copper open-pit mine with the largest production in the world, representing 8 percent of all world production located in the Atacama Desert of Chile, nearly 160 kilometers southeast of Antofagasta. ...

The western rim of the volcano borders the Monturaqui Basin, which is draped with the large debris avalanche deposit. Escondida mining currently has a network of roads covering this area, from beneath which they pump ground water for use at the nearby copper mine. The southern margin of the deposit is bordered by the Antofagasta to Salta trans-Andean railway, although this is rarely used. Groundwater is any water found below the land surface. ... Antofagasta is bordered by the Pacific Ocean on the west and steep hills to the east Street in Antofagasta   () is a port city and episcopal see in northern Chile, about 700 miles north of Santiago. ... The inside of Saltas main cathedral Salta (or San Felipe de Salta) is the capital city of the Argentine province of Salta, located at the centre of that province. ...

Socompa Debris Avalanche Deposit

The debris avalanche deposit is distinct in that its volume sets it apart from most other known terrestrial debris avalanches. Prior to the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens, many debris avalanches were miss-interpreted, and the Socompa deposit was initially linked to pyroclastic flow products of a cataclysmic eruption. It was first recognised as resulting from volcano collapse by Peter Francis and others in 1985, when they described the major features and reclassified it as a debris avalanche deposit. Subsequent works studied the deposit itself in more detail. It contains many features expected from a debris avalanche, including large-volume, rotated and slumped toreva blocks and hummocky topography. There is also evidence for a magmatic component (Bezymianny-type collapse) from the breadcrust texture of large dacitic blocks and a thin pyroclastic flow deposit. A large amphitheatre, open at 70° and with a width of 10 km at its mouth, marks the site of collapse on the remaining edifice. Since the failure, some 7000 years ago, this has been partially filled by subsequent lavas and pyroclastics. The 1980 eruption of Mount St. ... Pyroclastic flows sweep down the flanks of Mayon Volcano, Philippines, in 1984 Pyroclastic flows are a common and devastating result of some volcanic eruptions. ... Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ... 1985 (MCMLXXXV) was a common year starting on Tuesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... A trail cuts across a large Toreva block bench several hundred feet below the level of the parent cliff in White Rock Canyon. ... Magma is molten rock located beneath the surface of the Earth (or any other terrestrial planet), and which often collects in a magma chamber. ... Bezymianny is an active stratovolcano in Kamchatka, Russia. ...

The most striking aspects of the deposit are its volume, deposition and composition. The deposit has a volume of 25 km³ – around an order of magnitude greater than the Mount St. Helens collapse - in addition to 11 km³ of toreva blocks at the mouth of the amphitheatre. While a significant component clearly originated from the ancestral Socompa edifice, there are also large amounts of ignimbrite and gravels which have been shown to have come from the substrata immediately below Socompa. By volume, these make up the bulk (80%) of the deposit. Additionally, despite originating at the lowest part of the failure zone, these units travelled the furthest distance and are found at the base of the deposit. The avalanche travelled down the regional slope for part of its course before mounting at least 250 m of topography near to its distal end, suggesting a high speed of emplacement, low friction and great mobility. There was also considerable remobilisation of the deposits and secondary flowage after the initial deposition, creating the lobe which was channelled northwards under gravity towards the Monturaqui Basin. Ignimbrite is a volcanic pyroclastic rock, often of dacitic or rhyolitic composition. ... Gravel being unloaded from a barge Gravel is rock that is of a certain grain size range. ... Subsoil is the layer of soil under the topsoil on the surface of the ground. ... Friction is the force that opposes the relative motion or tendency toward such motion of two surfaces in contact. ... Mobility is the ability and willingness to move or change; this can depend on motor skills; mobility aids may be needed such as a walking stick, walker, mobile standing frame, power operated vehicle/scooter, wheelchair or white cane for visual impairment. ...

The large volume and stratification of the deposit suggests that the failure was not merely the result, as at Mount St Helens, of slope failure of the volcanic cone. Structural evidence has recently been interpreted to suggest that prior to the failure the weak underlying substrata had been spreading under the load of the volcano. The remnants of thrust anticlines at La Flexura, west of the collapse amphitheatre, delineate the western edge of this spreading zone. The suggestion is that the deforming substrata suffered catastrophic failure as a result of gravitational spreading and was ejected to the northwest on the collapse of the basal anticlines. The substrata then formed the lower horizon of the debris avalanche, upon which the remainder of the edifice was carried and deposited. As a consequence, the large volume, high fluidity and stratification of the deposit can be explained. Thrust is a reaction force described quantitatively by Newtons Second and Third Law. ... Anticline with syncline visible at far right- USGS In structural geology, an anticline is a Fold (geology) that is convex to the youngest beds—youngest sediments are on back of hand, older under the palm. ...


  • Smithsonian Institution Global Volcanism Program: Socompa
  • Deruelle, B., 1978, The Negros de Aras nuée ardente deposits: a cataclysmic eruption of Socompa volcano (Andes of Atacama, north Chile), Bulletin of Volcanology, v. 41, p. 175-186
  • Francis, P.W., Gardeweg, M., Ramirez, C.F., and Rothery, D.A., 1985, Catastrophic debris avalanche deposit of Socompa volcano, northern Chile, Geology, v. 13, p. 600-603
  • Wadge, G., Francis, P.W., and Ramirez, C.F., 1995, The Socompa collapse and avalanche event, Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, v. 66, p. 309-336
  • van Wyk de Vries, B., Self, S., Francis, P.W., and Keszthelyi, L., 2001, A gravitational spreading origin for the Socompa debris avalanche, Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, v. 105, p. 225-247

  Results from FactBites:
Global Volcanism Program | Socompa | Summary (173 words)
Straddling the Chile-Argentina border, Volcán Socompa is a massive, 6051-m-high dacitic stratovolcano that lies immediately north of the only railway line between the two countries.
Socompa is the youngest and southernmost of a 6000-m-high NE-SW-trending chain of volcanoes including Pular and Pajonales.
Collapse of the NW portion of Socompa volcano about 7200 years ago, during an eruption similar to that at Mount St. Helens in 1980, produced a 600 sq km debris-avalanche deposit that extends about 40 km from the summit and is one of the world's largest and best exposed.
  More results at FactBites »



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