Twin volcanoes in the Andes Mountains • Earth.com

Today’s Image of the Day from NASA Earth Observatory features twin volcanoes in the Andes Mountains, Parinacota and Pomerape. The volcanoes are located on the border between Chile and Bolivia. They are part of the Payachata volcanic group, which in Aymara means “the twin volcanoes.” 

These volcanoes are known for their nearly perfect conical shapes and snow-covered peaks, which make them a striking feature of the Altiplano landscape. They are located within the Lauca National Park, which is a protected area known for its high-altitude wetlands, diverse wildlife, and stunning scenery. The area is a popular destination for tourists interested in trekking,

“Both Parinacota and Pomerape are stratovolcanoes with summits reaching approximately 20,500 feet (6,250 meters) above sea level. Parinacota is the younger of the two volcanoes and its summit has a distinctive circular 1,000-foot (300-meter) diameter crater. It is also the more historically active of the two, with its most recent eruption estimated to have occurred within the past 2,000 years,” said NASA.

“Both volcanoes formed during the Pleistocene Epoch, but while Parinacota displays a fresh conical shape, the flanks of Pomerape have been eroded over time into deep valleys.”

“A collapse of the western flank of Parinacota approximately 8,000 to 12,000 years ago produced a debris avalanche that traveled down the slope of the volcano into a neighboring valley. The avalanche material is visible as a hummocky mass in the top-left part of the image. This kind of flank collapse is similar to what occurred at Mount St. Helens on May 18, 1980.”

“The avalanche material blocked the valley and caused Chungará Lake to form where debris obstructed water channels. Following the flank collapse, subsequent volcanic activity reconstructed the conical form of Parinacota.”

The photo was captured by an astronaut aboard the International Space Station.

Image Credit: NASA Earth Observatory 

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