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The Pairique region of northern Puna hosts an Upper Miocene volcanic record erupted from ~11.5 to ~6.6 Ma, which includes pyroclastic as well as lava units. A ring structure, which appears in the central zone of the study area, was previously interpreted as the oldest caldera structure related to Cenozoic volcanism in the broad Altiplano-Puna Volcanic Complex (APVC) region. In this work we characterise the stratigraphy of the Pairique area, in order to distinguish the products of the postulated caldera collapse from those originated in other centers. Based on lithological attributes, as well as geographical and chronostratigraphical distribution, we suggest that only a few units recognised in this area are related to the Pairique ring structure. There is no conclusive evidence to propose a caldera collapse along the latter. Therefore, Pairique is re-defined as a volcanic complex, i.e. a center that experienced persistent volcanic activity during a long span of time, from >11.5 to 10.3 Ma. Its eruptive model will be established when more structural and volcanological data are available. This work also identifies three other source areas for several volcanic rocks which were previously thought as related to the Pairique structure: the Nevado Torona-San Pedro compound volcano, the Lina volcanic complex and the Pairique Grande dome complex. Similar to the "inner arc" of Perú-Bolivia, volcanic rocks in the Pairique region show distinct compositional features, in which calcalkaline basaltic andesite to dacite units coexisted with felsic lithologies of peraluminous (cordierite- or garnet-bearing) affinities.
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