Licancabur is an active stratovolcano located on the border between Bolivia and Chile. Its prominent cone overlooks Bolivia's Laguna Verde. It is part of the Central Volcanic Zone, at the western margin of the Altiplano, near the Chilean town of San Pedro de Atacama.
Licancabur is an active stratovolcano on the border between Bolivia and Chile, overlooking Bolivia's Laguna Verde. It is part of the Central Volcanic Zone, at the western margin of the Altiplano, near the Chilean town of San Pedro de Atacama.
The volcano's prominent symmetric cone is at an elevation of 5,916 m (19,409 ft). Its summit crater measures approximately 400 m (1,300 ft) in width and contains Lincancabur Lake, one of the highest lakes on Earth. No historical eruptions of the volcano are known.
Immediately southeast of Licancabur lies its companion volcano, Juriques, with a summit at 5,704 m (18,714 ft) above sea level. Finally, the Sairecabur volcano lies approximately 13 km (8 mi) south of Licancabur. It is part of a small range of four volcanoes that appear to be the source of recent volcanic activity.
Licancabur is considered a holy mountain by the Atacameno people, a relative of Cerro Quimal in northern Chile. Archeological sites have been found on its slopes and in the summit crater.
Glaciers do not cover Licancabur. The shallow freshwater summit lake is approximately 90 x 70 m (300 x 230 ft) wide and has a measured temperature of 6 °C ( 43 °F), supporting the growth of planktonic fauna.
The climate on the volcano is cold, dry and sunny, resulting in a high amount of ultraviolet radiation. As a result, cushion plants and shrubs are found on its lower slopes.
Three stages of lava flows emanate from the volcano's edifice:
First, young blocky andesitic lava flows with prominent levees extend up to 6 km down the northwest to southwest flanks.
Older flows reach up to 15 km (9.3 mi) from the summit crater and are covered by pyroclastic-flow deposits that extend 12 km (7.5 m).
The most recent activity produced flank lava flows.
Unlike several neighboring mountains, Licancabur is challenging to climb, especially in its upper parts; the slopes are steep and loose soil and gravel are prone to landslides.