Tupungato

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Tupungato is a 21,555ft-high stratovolcano which dates back to Pleistocene times. It is situated on the Argentinian side of the border between Argentina and Chile, near a major international highway about 50 miles east of Santiago, Chile. Tupungato lies about 62 miles south of Mount Aconcagua, the highest peak of the American continent. This mountain gives its name to the Tupungato Department an important Argentine wine producing region in the Mendoza province, Argentina. Immediately to its southwest lies the active Tupungatito volcano, which last erupted in 1987.

Although the Tupungato is geologically considered as an extinct volcano of the Pleistocene period, the holocene Tupungatito volcano, located immediately in the Southwest direction and with which it is usually confused, is active with 18 eruptions registered from 1829. The lasts of these were light emissions of ash in 1980 and 1986.

On August 2, 1947, the airliner Star Dust, an Avro Lancastrian carrying 11 passengers over the Andes range, crashed into a steep glacier high on Tupungato. The plane was quickly buried in the resulting avalanche and heavy snowfall that was taking place at the time. The plane lay undetected deep beneath the snow and glacial ice for over 50 years, before its remnants finally re-emerged at the glacier terminus in 2000. Shortly thereafter, a team discovered the scattered debris and wreckage, collecting some of the evidence for investigation.