It was formerly considered the highest lake in the Altiplano but research indicated that the highest shoreline belongs to the later Lake Tauca instead.
The concept of a "Lake Minchin" was first coined in 1906 and it is based on John B. The dating of the lake varies but probably lasted until 22,000 – 21,000 BP.
A glacier advance was in progress in the Andes during that timeperiod.
The name "Minchin" has also been used in other contexts, and it has been proposed that the lake was actually a combination of several different paleolakes.
In order for the circular rings of water to function as harbours with access to the lake, the lake must have been considerably higher and a higher level would also be necessary to feed the perimeter canal and irrigation system which was said to have run around the adjacent level rectangular plain.
view of the outer ring at Pampa Aullagas, the upper part is covered in volcanic boulders originally created by flowing lava while the bare sand on the slopes beneath the boulders suggests the plain has dropped in elevation away from the original volcanic mountain.
A progressive erosion of the threshold between the northern and central Altiplano may have allowed important volumes of water to overflow from the northern basin into the central Altiplano.
The salar and its companion, the Salar de Coipasa were formerly occupied by a series of large lakes.Of these lakes, Lake Ballivián and Lake Minchin were among the first to be described.Lake Mataro and Lake Cabana were later described in 1984 as previous ancient lakes in the Titicaca basin prior to Lake Ballivián.The tropical Andes of Peru and Bolivia are important for preserving geomorphic evidence of multiple glaciations, allowing for refinements of chronology to aid in understanding climate dynamics at a key location between hemispheres. This review focuses on the deglaciation from Late-Pleistocene maximum positions near the global Last Glacial Maximum (LGM).