Barú Volcano - John Seach


(Volcán de Chiriqui)


8.80 N, 82.558 W
summit elevation 3477 m
Complex volcano

Barú Volcano is located in western Panama, in the Talamanca Range. The volcano is the is the highest peak in Panamá. An explosive eruption at about 700 AD destroyed human settlements NW of the volcano.

Volcán Barú is a large cone covering 280 sq km, was built by overlapping pyroclastic flows, lahars, and lava flows. The previous summit may have reached an altitude of 4,000 m prior to collapse by an avalanche on west-flank. Lava flows are found within 11 km of the summit and 10-20 m thick.

Debris Avalanche
The large debris avalanche has not been accurately dated, and may have occurred between 10,000 and 50,000 years ago. The flow was 20 km wide and reached 30 km almost to the Pacific Ocean. A large horseshoe-shaped amphitheater breached to the west marks the source of the avalanche. The extent of flow is marked by a
large area of hummocky topography southwest of the volcano. The avalanche at Baru volcano was 30 cubic km in volume, and is the best example of a large debris avalanche in central America.

Lava Dome
The eastern part of Volcán Barú’s debris-avalanche amphitheater is partly filled by a lava dome and associated pyroclastic-flow deposits. Most of the eruptions in the past 11,500 years have originated from the area of the recent dome.

Fallout tephra
Lapilli and ash deposits 1–10 cm thick are found a distances up to 6 km on the
volcano’s north, east, and south flanks. A roadcut at Aguacatal, 4.6 km west of the summit, exposes a 10 m deep course fallout and pyroclastic flow deposits. These occurred about 950 years ago.

Barú Volcano Eruptions

1550 ± 10, 1340 ± 75, 1130 ± 150, 710 AD ± 30, 260 AD ± 150, 1270 BC ± 100, 7420 BC ± 75, 9280 BC ± 30.