Incahuasi

Last updated
Incahuasi
Volcan Incahuasi.jpg
Incahuasi volcano as seen from route 60, Fiambala, Argentina
Highest point
Elevation 6,621 or 6,638 m (21,722 or 21,778 ft) [1] [2]
Prominence 1,518 m (4,980 ft) [1]
Listing Ultra
Coordinates 27°01′59″S68°17′46″W / 27.033°S 68.296°W / -27.033; -68.296 Coordinates: 27°01′59″S68°17′46″W / 27.033°S 68.296°W / -27.033; -68.296 [2]
Geography
Relief Map of Argentina.jpg
Red triangle with thick white border.svg
Incahuasi
Location in Argentina, on the border with Chile
Location Catamarca, Argentina -
Atacama, Chile
Parent range Andes
Geology
Mountain type stratovolcanoes and caldera
Last eruption Unknown
Climbing
First ascent 1913 by Walther Penck

Incahuasi (Spanish pronunciation:  [iŋkaˈwasi] ; possibly from Quechua: inka Inca, wasi house) [3] [4] is a volcanic mountain in the Andes of South America. It lies on the border of the Argentine province of Catamarca, and the Atacama Region of Chile. Incahuasi has a summit elevation of 6,621 metres (21,722 ft) above sea level.

Contents

The volcano consists of a 3.5-kilometre-wide (2.2 mi) caldera and two stratovolcanoes. Four pyroclastic cones are located 7 kilometres (4.3 mi) to the north-east and produced basalt-andesite lava flows that cover an area of 10 square kilometres (4 sq mi). [5]

Geography and geology

Incahuasi lies on the border between Argentina and Chile, [2] close to Paso San Francisco. [6] A major road crosses the border there. [7]

Regional

Incahuasi is part of the Central Volcanic Zone of the Andes together with about 110 other Quaternary volcanoes, and lies in the southern sector of the volcanic zone; [8] other volcanic zones in the Andes are the Northern Volcanic Zone, the Southern Volcanic Zone and the Austral Volcanic Zone. [9] The history of volcanic activity is poorly known for most of these volcanoes owing to the lack of dating; only a few historical eruptions have been recorded, such as an eruption at Ojos del Salado in 1993. [8]

Incahuasi is located northeast of Ojos del Salado, [2] the highest volcano in the world. [10] Both volcanoes are found at the southern end of the Central Volcanic Zone. [11] They together with El Fraile, Cerro El Muerto, Nevado Tres Cruces and El Solo form a 50 kilometres (31 mi) long volcanic chain. [12]

The area is dominated by volcanoes that were active after 1.5 million years ago. [13] Also located close to Incahuasi are Falso Azufre and Nevado San Francisco, [6] as well as the Miocene Cerro Morocho and Cerro Ojo de Las Lozas volcanoes. [14] It has been suggested that a perpendicular chain of volcanoes including Ojos del Salado may be the consequence of the Juan Fernandez Ridge subducting in the Peru-Chile Trench. [15]

Volcanism in the area goes back to the Oligocene and Miocene, when the main volcanic arc was located 40 kilometres (25 mi) west in the Maricunga Belt. Between 9 and 6 million years ago volcanic activity in the Maricunga Belt decreased and eventually ceased. Simultaneously, the back-arc experienced increased volcanic activity. [11]

Local

Incahuasi is formed by a caldera 3.5 kilometres (2.2 mi) wide. Two coalesced stratovolcanoes formed within the caldera [2] and have a diameter of 15 kilometres (9.3 mi). [16] A 6 by 4 kilometres (3.7 mi × 2.5 mi) wide lava dome is located on the eastern flank. [16] The volcano has a volume of about 231 cubic kilometres (55 cu mi) [17] and covers a surface area of about 207 square kilometres (80 sq mi). [18] With a height of 6,621 metres (21,722 ft) Incahuasi is the 12th highest mountain in South America [19] and one of the world's highest volcanoes. [18]

Incahuasi has two craters, a summit crater and an arcuate crater on the eastern slope that contains a lava dome. [2] The summit crater has dimensions of 750 by 900 metres (2,460 ft × 2,950 ft) [16] and is embedded within a 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) high summit plateau. [14] Subsidiary vents conversely are associated with fissure vents. [20]

The western and southwestern slopes of Incahuasi are dotted with lava domes, [2] which are more subdued than on other volcanoes in the region. [21] Less than 1 kilometre (0.62 mi) wide and 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) long [16] lava flows extend down the volcano. [2] They reach the Las Coladas salar east of Incahuasi. [22] Two 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) long coulees extend north and east of the main crater. [16]

7 kilometres (4.3 mi) northeast of Incahuasi four pyroclastic cones can be found. They have covered 10 square kilometres (3.9 sq mi) with lava [2] but they are probably an independent volcanic system, similar to other regional mafic volcanoes. [23] On Incahuasi's eastern flank lies a major lava dome and a field of lava flows. [14] Incahuasi volcano rises over a surface with elevations of 4,300–4,700 metres (14,100–15,400 ft). [24]

Composition

Like many Andean volcanoes, Incahuasi has erupted andesite containing hornblende and pyroxene, [6] but also trachyandesite and trachydacite. [25] Lava flows on the main stratovolcano are dacitic. [2]

The four cones northeast of the principal volcano have erupted basaltic andesite. [2] Likewise, parasitic cones have erupted magnesium-rich basaltic andesite. [26] Minerals contained in these rocks include clinopyroxene and olivine. [6]

The occurrence of such basic magmas in a volcanic setting dominated by dacites appears to be a consequence of local tectonics, which involve the extension of the crust compared to the compressional regime farther west. [13] Originating in the mantle, the magmas quickly ascended in faults and were contaminated by crustal material. [6] The mantle itself had been modified before by crustal material added by delamination of the lower crust and subduction erosion. [27]

Climate

Incahuasi does not have glaciers, [24] but it does have at least temporary snowpack. [2] Even the crater does not support the development of glaciers. [28]

Average precipitation at Incahuasi is about 300–500 millimetres per year (12–20 in/year). The volcano lies south of the so-called "Arid Diagonal", and most precipitation falls during winter. [24] This aridity is caused by the rain shadow effect of the Subandean Ranges, which block moisture from the Atlantic Ocean. [29]

Eruptive history

One andesitic lava flow on the northwestern slope of Incahuasi has yielded two ages, one of 1.15 ± 0.5 million years ago and another of 710,000 ± 80,000 years ago. [30] Based on their preservations, the lava flows appear to be of roughly comparable ages. [16] Additional ages were obtained on the main edifice, 1.57 ± 0.1 million years ago, 1.14 ± 0.37 million years ago and 1.00 ± 0.13 million years ago. [31]

Parasitic cones were active over 500,000 years ago. [26] These include the lava dome and lava flow fields (760,000 ± 90,000 and 740,000 ± 50,000 years ago respectively) and a lava flow from the pyroclastic cones, which has been dated to 350,000 ± 30,000 years ago. [31]

Volcanic activity at Incahuasi may have continued into the Holocene, considering the young appearance of its eruption products [2] such as lava flows in the summit region and on the southern slopes; the old ages obtained by radiometric dating indicate an extinct volcano although activity at Andean volcanoes is known to occur with long rest phases between eruptions (reaching one million years). [23] There are reports of fumarolic activity. The volcano is considered a potential geological hazard to Argentina [32] and Chile, where the SERNAGEOMIN hazard maps identify it as a potential threat. [33] The remoteness of the volcano means that future eruptions are unlikely to impact populated areas, however. [34]

Climbing history

The mountain was first climbed by Inca people. In 1912 Walter Penck climbed the mountain. Legend has it that a railway engineer named Edward Flint between 1854-1859 ascended the mountain. [35]

Archeology

In 1913, an Inca ceremonial structure was found on the summit of Incahuasi. [19] Another archeological site "Fiambalá-1" lies at its foot. [36]

See also

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References

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  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 "Nevado de Incahuasi". Global Volcanism Program . Smithsonian Institution.
  3. Diccionario Quechua - Español - Quechua, Academía Mayor de la Lengua Quechua, Gobierno Regional Cusco, Cusco 2005 (Quechua-Spanish dictionary)
  4. Teofilo Laime Ajacopa, Diccionario Bilingüe Iskay simipi yuyayk'ancha, La Paz, 2007 (Quechua-Spanish dictionary)
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  6. 1 2 3 4 5 Kay, Coira & Mpodozis 2008, p. 163.
  7. Gspurning, Lazar & Sulzer 2006, p. 60.
  8. 1 2 Grosse et al. 2018, p. 2.
  9. Grosse et al. 2018, p. 3.
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  11. 1 2 Kay, Coira & Mpodozis 2008, p. 160.
  12. Kay, Mpodozis & Gardeweg 2014, p. 310.
  13. 1 2 Kay, Coira & Mpodozis 2008, p. 162.
  14. 1 2 3 Grosse et al. 2018, p. 11.
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  29. Valero-Garcés et al. 2000, p. 344.
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  31. 1 2 Grosse et al. 2018, p. 12.
  32. Perucca, Laura P.; Moreiras, Stella M. (2009-01-01). "Seismic and Volcanic Hazards in Argentina". In Latrubesse, Edgardo M. (ed.). Developments in Earth Surface Processes. Natural Hazards and Human-Exacerbated Disasters in Latin America. 13. Elsevier. p. 292. doi:10.1016/S0928-2025(08)10014-1. ISBN   9780444531179.
  33. "Peligros Volcanicos" (PDF). sernageomin.cl. 2011. ISSN   0717-7305.
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Sources