Damavand volcano is a magnificent stratovolcano of Iran, located near the southern coast of the Caspian Sea, in Amol County, Mazandaran Province, and 70 km northeast of the city of Tehran.
Mount Damavand is potentially an active volcano with the highest peak in Iran. It is also the highest volcanic mountain in Asia and part of the Volcanic Seven Summits mountaineering challenge. The Kunlun Volcanic Group in Tibet is higher than Damavand, but is not considered as volcanic mountains. Mount Damavand is the 12th most prominent peak in the world, and the second most prominent in Asia after Mount Everest.
Symbolism and mythology
Damavand has a special place in Persian mythology and folklore. It is the symbol of Iranian resistance against despotism and foreign rule in Persian poetry and literature. Damavand is registered as a national natural heritage and it is discussed to be registered as a UNESCO World Natural Heritage.
Mount Damavand first erupted in the Pleistocene almost 1.78 million years ago. After several known eruptions around 600,000 and 280,000 years ago, its last eruption was around 5300 BC in the Holocene. Its steep cone is formed of ash and lava flows mainly of trachyte, andesite and basalt.The Quaternary lavas are directly on the Jurassic sediments. The volcano is crowned by a small crater with sulfuric deposits. There are also fumaroles, hot springs, and mineral deposits of travertine. Mount Damavand could be considered as a potentially active volcano. Damavand last erupted about 7,300 years ago. There are no historical eruptions, but fumaroles at the summit crater suggest that the volcano is still active.
Destination for Climbers
Because of its beauty, height, interesting geology and wildlife, Damavand is an interesting destination for climbers from Iran and all over the world. There are at least 16 known routes to reach the summit. Some of them are very dangerous and require rock climbing. The most popular route is the Southern Route which has steep ramps and a midway camp called Bargah Sevom Camp/Shelter at 4220 m (about 13,845 ft.).
This route is more easy in good weather conditions, but needs a good adaptation to height. A risk is when clouds are coming near to the top which makes breathing difficult. Tourism is increasing in this region which brings some income to guides and to the horse owners because horses carry the baggage.