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The Lanín Volcano

The Lanín Volcano
Photo by Aaron Thomas on Unsplash

Welcome back to our Byte Blog! Continuing our Spanish learning journey with ViLaCa we will see time and time again all the fascinating topics our students will be learning! Last week our students learned about a delicious treat that is enjoyed by many throughout Latin America. Check out last week’s blog, El Buñuelo to learn more!

This week our blog will feature an exciting topic, volcanoes! The Lanín is a stratovolcano and it is considered active. It is located between the borders of Chile and Argentina. This volcano is included in the Pacific Ring of Fire. It is estimated that its last eruption happened 1600 years ago. It was sighted by the Spanish explorer Basilio Villarino.

The volcano has large glaciers on its southern face. Glaciers were visible in the northern region but have now almost completely melted. This volcano also serves as a symbol of the Province of Neuquen. Its image forms the main part of the provincial coat of arms and its hymn. For Mapuche communities the volcano is an emblem and a sacred site.

“The sorcerer suggested a sacrifice!

Mayan Legends

Legends are told surrounding the Lanín volcano. Pillán, the God of evil lived on the summit and as the owner of the mountain he did not want anyone to claim access to it. When the Huanquimil tribe reached the top, chasing huemules, it unleashed a storm and the volcano released lava and smoke, burning flames and ash. This terrified the people who then consulted with the tribe’s sorcerer what they could do to tame Pillán’s fury.

The sorcerer suggested a sacrifice! To tame the God’s fury Huilefún, the chief’s youngest daughter, needed to be thrown into the volcano! She was left near the top of the volcano alone. A condor approached her, grabbed her with its claws and threw her into the crater. Huilefún’s sacrifice calmed Pillán’s anger and since then Lanín has not erupted. Even today the Mapuche community considers the Volcano a sacred site, so they do not climb the mountain. 

Have you ever seen a volcano? There are so many throughout Latin America! The Lanín volcano is only one of many. Let us know in the comments below if you have visited this volcano or others!


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