Mount Aragats

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Mount Aragats
Արագած լեռ.jpg
Mount Aragats as seen from Etchmiadzin
Elevation 4,090 m (13,420 ft)[1][2]
Prominence 2,143 m (7,031 ft)[3]
Listing Country high point
Mount Aragats is located in Armenia
Mount Aragats
Mount Aragats
Location in Armenia
Location Aragatsotn, Armenia
Range Armenian Highlands
Coordinates 40°32′00″N 44°12′00″E / 40.53333°N 44.20000°E / 40.53333; 44.20000Coordinates: 40°32′00″N 44°12′00″E / 40.53333°N 44.20000°E / 40.53333; 44.20000[2]
Type Stratovolcano
Age of rock Holocene[2]
Last eruption Unknown [2]

Mount Aragats (Armenian: Արագած, also: Ալագյազ - Alagyaz[4]) is a complex volcano in Armenia. It was active during multiple phases in the Pleistocene. It is the highest point in Armenia, located in the province of Aragatsotn, northwest from Yerevan. On its slopes are the Byurakan Observatory and the medieval Amberd Fortress. Petroglyphs have been discovered around the volcano.

Geography and Geology[edit]

Situated 40 kilometres (25 mi) northwest of Yerevan, Aragats is a large volcano with numerous fissure vents and adventive cones. Numerous large lava flows descend from the volcano and are constrained in age between middle Pleistocene and 3000BCE. The summit crater is cut by a 13 kilometres (8.1 mi) long line of cones which generated possibly Holocene-age lahars and lava flows.[2] The volcanic system covers an area of 5000km2 and is one of the largest in the region. More recent activity in flank centres occurred in Tirinkatar (0.48-0.61 Ma), Kakavasar, (0.52-0.54 Ma) and Ashtarak (0.58 Ma), as well as Jrbazhan in the summit area (0.52 Ma). The magmas feeding Aragats are unusually hot for arc-derived magmas, resulting in long and voluminous lava flows.[5]


Observations shortly after World War II showed the presence of firn fields and snowfields on the sides of the crater cirque, as well as moraines and glaciers inside the crater. An analysis in 1896 indicated a surface area of 5.5-5.8 km2, but rapidly retreated afterwards. The glaciation has been retreating on account of insufficient snowfall and increasing temperatures. Glacial meltwater dominates the upper part of the rivers descending from Aragats but its importance decreases farther down the valleys.[6] Traces of prehistorical glaciation also exist, including thick moraines in the summit area at an altitude of 2600-3000m.[7]

Geological history[edit]

The volcano was constructed within four different phases. The first phase (possibly 2.5Ma) occurred in the main crater and subsidiary vents and was basaltic andesite in composition. It crops out in deep gorges. The second phase (0.97–0.89 Ma, by K-Ar) involved the main vent, subsidiary structures and was basaltic and andesitic in composition with ignimbrites and pyroclastics, with tuffs and lava flows emanating from satellite centres. It was the most voluminous and included the Shamiram and Egvard subsidiary centres. The third phase (0.74–0.68 Ma) while similar to the second was more restricted in regional extent to the Mantash River basin. The fourth stage (0.56–0.45 Ma) involved mafic lava flows from parasitic vents in the southern parts of the volcano.[8]

Rock art[edit]

Numerous engravings have been around the volcano, including rock paintings portraying animals and human-like figures in Kasakh Valley possibly of early Holocene age, and in Aghavnatun on the southern side of the volcano including petroglyps showing animals that were possibly created in the 4th - 1st millennia B.C.[9]

Nearby towns[edit]

The towns around the mountain include Ashtarak to its southeast, Aparan to its northeast, Artik to its northwest, and Talin to its southwest. On the other sides of the mountains are villages and towns.[citation needed]

Legend of Illuminator's lantern[edit]

Legend holds that when Saint Gregory the Illuminator prayed one day on Mount Aragats a miraculous ever-burning lantern hanging from the heavens came down to shed light on him.[citation needed]

Armenians believe that the Illuminator’s lantern is still there, and only those pure in heart and spirit can see the eternal lantern — the symbol of hopes and dreams of the nation.[citation needed]

Mount Aragats, topographic representation
Panorama of the Aragats

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Mount Aragats Mountain Information
  2. ^ a b c d e "Aragats". Global Volcanism Program. Smithsonian Institution. 
  3. ^ High prominence mountains in Caucasus and Russia outside of Europe
  4. ^ (Russian) Aragats in Great Soviet Encyclopedia
  5. ^ Meliksetian, Khachatur; Savov, Ivan; Connor, Charles; Halama, Ralf; Jrbashyan, Ruben; Navasardyan, Gevorg; Ghukasyan, Yura; Gevorgyan, Hripsime; Manucharyan, Davit; Ishizuka, Osamu; Quidelleur, Xavier; Germa, Aurélie (2014). "Aragats stratovolcano in Armenia - volcano-stratigraphy and petrology". Geophysical Research Abstracts 16. 
  6. ^ Davoyan, M.O. (2009). "Area of modern glaciation on Mt. Aragats and the diminution of firn basins". International Geology Review 13 (4): 530–533. doi:10.1080/00206817109475464. ISSN 0020-6814. 
  7. ^ Maisuradze, G.M. (1989). "Anthropogene of the anticaucasus". Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 72: 53–62. doi:10.1016/0031-0182(89)90131-4. ISSN 0031-0182. 
  8. ^ I.V. Chernyshev, V. A. Lebedev, V. A. Lebedev, M. M. Arakelyants, M. M. Arakelyants, R. T. Jrbashyan, R. T. Jrbashyan, Yu. G. Gukasyan, Yu. G. Gukasyan (May 2002). "Quaternary geochronology of the Aragats volcanic center, Armenia: Evidence from K-Ar dating". Doklady Earth Sciences 384 (4): 393–398. 
  9. ^ Anna Khechoyan (24 May 2007). "The Rock Art of the Mt. Aragats System". Centro Camuno di Studi Preistorici. Retrieved July 29, 2015. 

External links[edit]