Socompa is a large complex stratovolcano at the border of Argentina and Chile. It is best known for its large debris avalanche deposit, which is widely accepted as the best-preserved example of this type of deposit in the world, and also notable as the home of the world's most elevated known microbial ecosystems.
The western rim of the volcano borders the Monturaqui Basin, which is draped with the aforementioned deposit. Escondida Mining currently has a network of roads throughout this area, from beneath which they pump ground water for use at the nearby copper mine. The southern margin of the deposit is bordered by the Antofagasta to Salta trans-Andean railway, although this is rarely used.
The volcano is difficult to reach - either from the north along dirt tracks south of the Miscanti Pass, or from the west via the Escondida copper mine. Both routes require a full-day's driving and for any reasonable amount of time to be spent at Socompa would need significant planning.
By elevation Volcán Socompa is
# 2 out of 476 in Provincia de Antofagasta # 37 out of 10580 in Chile # 8 out of 761 in Salta # 7 out of 973 in Región de Antofagasta # 4 out of 89 in Reserva Provincial de Flora y Fauna Los Andes # 60 out of 8452 in Argentina # 74 out of 16361 in the Andes (Chile, Argentina)
By prominence Volcán Socompa is
# 2 out of 476 in Provincia de Antofagasta # 18 out of 10580 in Chile # 4 out of 761 in Salta # 3 out of 973 in Región de Antofagasta # 2 out of 89 in Reserva Provincial de Flora y Fauna Los Andes # 25 out of 8452 in Argentina # 34 out of 16361 in the Andes (Chile, Argentina)
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