In ancient times, volcanoes could walk and talk, all of them were male, except for one called Tunupa, who was female. This volcano got pregnant and gave birth to a little volcano whose father was unknown. The male volcanoes got into a terrible fight over who was the father, as all of them had had a relationship with the female volcano, so they snatched the young volcano from her and hid him in a far plain called Colchani.
Furious because of this, the gods decided volcanoes would no longer walk or talk, they would stay still like stone. Hearing she could no longer move nor go in search of her child, Thunupa began to cry white, milky tears that flooded the plain and formed the Uyuni salt plains when they dried. Her child, the tiny Colchani volcano, is strikingly similar to her, and also laments not being able to go see his mother.