Parinacota (in Hispanicized spelling), Parina Quta or Parinaquta is a dormant stratovolcano on the border of Chile and Bolivia. Together with Pomerape it forms the Nevados de Payachata volcanic chain. Part of the Central Volcanic Zone of the Andes, its summit reaches an elevation of 6,380 metres (20,930 ft) above sea level. The symmetrical cone is capped off by a summit crater with widths of 1 kilometre (0.62 mi) or 500 metres (1,600 ft). Farther down on the southern slopes lie three parasitic centres known as the Ajata cones. These cones have generated lava flows. The volcano overlies a platform formed by lava domes and andesitic lava flows.
The volcano started growing during the Pleistocene and formed a large cone. At some point between the Pleistocene and the Holocene, the western flank of the volcano collapsed, generating a giant landslide that spread west and formed a large, hummocky landslide deposit. The avalanche crossed and dammed a previously existing drainage, impounding or enlarging Lake Chungará; numerous other lakes now forming the headwaters of the Rio Lauca sprung up within the deposit. Volcanic activity rebuilt the cone after the collapse, cancelling out the collapse scar.
Parinacota had numerous effusive and explosive eruptions during the Holocene, the latest about 200 years ago. While there are no recorded eruptions, legends of the local Aymara people imply that they may have witnessed one eruption.
Renewed activity at Parinacota is possible in the future, although the relatively low population density in the region acts to limit the amount of damage that could occur. Some towns and a regional highway between Bolivia and Chile are potentially exposed to the effects of a new eruption.
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