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The Volcanos of Chile

Dormant or active: all scenic!


Volcan Osorno, Chile

Volcan Osorno, Chile

Volcano fans will find dozens, dormant or active, to study and photograph in Chile. Hundreds of volcanos stud the Andes from north to south, along the Bolivian and Argentine borders, rising snow-crested from desert floor to forested mountain.

According to Global Volcanism Program, "Chile has the region's largest number of historically active volcanos, with 36 (ranking it 5th among nations, behind Russia's 52 and ahead of Iceland's 18)."

The most recent activity comes from ]Lascar, the most active volcano of the northern Chilean Andes, Copahue, Argentina and Chile near Neuquen, Argentina and Villarica in the Lake District.

Three of Chile's most watched and historically active volcanos, Cerro Azul, Cerro Hudson, and Villarrica, are composite volcanos -- sometimes called stratovolcanos.

"They are typically steep-sided, symmetrical cones of large dimension built of alternating layers of lava flows, volcanic ash, cinders, blocks, and bombs and may rise as much as 8,000 feet above their bases."

Climbers enjoy testing their skills on the volcanos. Some of the preferred ones by geographical location are:


Central Chile


  • Puyehue
  • Villarica , with care. This is a very active volcano! Nonetheless, it is one of GORP's Top 20 Destinations in Chile

Other volcanos to watch are LLaima, Calbuco and Puntiagudo. These are only a handful of the hundreds of Chilean volcanos. Some, like Maca, are little known.

When you're in Chile, admire and enjoy the scenic sights of many volcanos. Would you climb an active one?

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