The Tunupa Volcano is located in the Potosí Department in southwestern Bolivia at the center of the Altiplano-Puna plateau. The now-dormant volcano is situated on a peninsula between Bolivia's most extensive salt flats, Salar de Uyuni and Salar de Coipasa.
The Tunupa Volcano is located in southwestern Bolivia at the center of the Altiplano-Puna plateau about 115 km (71 mi) east of the main volcanic arc in the Central Volcanic Zone. It is located in the Potosí Department. The villages of Ayque, Coquesa and Jirira lie on its southern slopes.
The now-dormant volcano is situated on a peninsula between Bolivia's most extensive salt flats, Salar de Uyuni and Salar de Coipasa. It overlooks the northern side of the Salar de Uyuni at an elevation of 5,321 m (17,457 ft). The volcano is adjacent to other eroded volcanic fields and craters, including Jayu Khota and Tittivilla.
Tunupa is a composite cone, a large, complex volcano often covered by lava flows, pyroclastic and mudflow deposits, and domes. Its last active phase was about 1.5 million years ago, during the Pleistocene, and most of the volcano was constructed by lava flows. Glaciers developed later on the mountain.
The flanks of the volcano's cone are incised by valleys eroded by ancient glaciers and stream flows. Domes and lava flows appear on its eastern side. Pyroclastic flows are evident on its northern flank. Erosion and glaciation have generated a deposit of eroded material surrounding much of the volcano.
The southern slopes of Tunupa are incised by the shorelines of former lakes that occupied the Altiplano: Lake Minchin and Lake Tauca. Over seven separate shoreline stages have been identified at Tunupa, part of an island in Lake Tauca.
Lake Minchin is a name of an ancient lake where the Salar de Uyuni, Salar de Coipasa, and Lake Poopó lie today. It was formerly considered the highest lake in the Altiplano, but research indicated that the highest shoreline belongs to the later Lake Tauca instead.
Lake Tauca is a former lake that covered large parts of the southern Altiplano between the Occidental and Oriental Cordilleras of the Bolivian Andes.