Showing posts with label Chile. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Chile. Show all posts

Thursday, 19 April 2018

El Tatio, The Third Largest Geyser Field in the World

El Tatio is a geyser field located within the Andes Mountains of northern Chile along the border between of Bolivia. Before the sun starts to rise, early morning more than 60 geysers, hot springs, mud pools, mud volcanoes and many fumaroles spew hot waters and steam. The largest geyser in the southern hemisphere is 4.320 meters above sea level. El Tatio is also third largest geyser field in the world, (after Yellowstone in the U.S. and the Valley of Geysers on the Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia) covers an area of 12 square miles seeping steam across its surreal expanse. The El Tatio geyser field is a spectacular sight, a dreamlike high-altitude location surrounded by stratovolcanoes that form part of the local geothermal system. Geothermal power is the energy that comes from the internal heat of the Earth, and where the heat flow from the interior of the globe is sufficiently high can be used both for heating purposes and for the generation of electrical power.
El Tatio has extremophile microorganisms, which is possible of analogous example of life on early Earth and potential past life on Mars. The exclusive environment of El Tatio “provides a better environmental analog for Mars than those of Yellowstone National Park and other well-known geothermal sites on Earth.” Depending on the season, the hot springs yield 0.25–0.5 cubic meters per second of water at temperatures reaching the local boiling point. The Chilean government and private companies are looking the idea of harnessing the geothermal energy, but could not succeed due to El Tatio’s remote location and environmental concerns have stalled any geothermal power projects. In 2010, the site was declared a protected area, however tourism remains the main business at El Tatio. The el Tatio, geyser field is also known as the Copacoya geysers.
The first geothermal prospecting of the field occurred in the 1920s particularly noticeable in cold weather. The field once numbered 67 geysers and more than 300 hot springs, as some geyser fountains reached heights of over 10 meters usually however they do not exceed 1 meter.  The hydrothermal activities are main reason of discoloring the several volcanoes of El Tatio volcanic group. El Tatio is a tourism destination, with substantial amounts of travelers both from Chile and other countries play an integral part of economic resource for the region, as more than 400 daily visitors comes here to see these exclusive geysers.
The water is rich in minerals, especially sodium chloride, rubidium, strontium, bromine, magnesium, cesium, lithium, arsenic, sulfate, boron, potassium, silica and calcium. Hydrothermal alteration at El Tatio, has also yielded large deposits of alteration minerals such as illite, nobleite, smectite, teruggite and ulexite. Moreover, El Tatio and a number of other geothermal fields have been dominated by andesitic volcanism producing lava flows until the late Miocene, large scale ignimbrite activity took place between 10 and 1 million years ago. The toxic minerals like arsenic which pollutes a numbers of waters in this area, causing health issues in the population. The climate is dry falling between December and March, rather windy, which influences the hot springs by enhancing evaporation. This region has extreme temperature variations between day and night. El Tatio lies at high altitude, regularly leading to altitude sickness, and the cold dry climate creates further danger.
Further El Tatio area has exposure to the hot gases and water can result in burn injuries, and both sudden eruptions of geysers and fountains and fragile ground above vents and above boiling water, concealed beneath thin covers of solid ground, increase the risk to unwary travelers. The hot spring waters enter the ground east and south east of El Tatio is controlled by the permeability of the volcanic material. Unlike geothermal fields in wetter parts of the world, given the dry climate of the area local precipitation does have little influence on the hot springs hydrology at El Tatio. The time the water takes to traverse the whole path from precipitation to the springs is about 15 years.
The water travels through a number of aquifers which correspond to permeable rock formations through faults and fractures in the rock. Magmatic brine is mixed into this water and the mixture ultimately becomes the water that emerges at El Tatio. This area dry grassland vegetation are  Tussock grasses like Anatherostipa, Festuca, Stipa while rosette and cushion plants, Azorella, Chaetanthera, Mulinum, Senecio, Lenzia, Pycnophyllum and Valeriana. El Tatio geyser field, one of San Pedro de Atacama’s most popular surrounding attractions, so don’t miss whenever you go Chile. The natural marveling at the geothermal wonders provides breathtaking views for taking pictures.

Saturday, 3 June 2017

The Strange Red Lagoon of Chile

The South American country of Chile holds many attractions for travellers, from the UNESCO World Heritage Site Valparaiso to the islands of Chiloe. However, its most striking and least known is the Red Lagoon in the northern area of Camina. So in Northern Chile the town of Camina, lies a strange Red Lagoon, 147 km from the city of Iquique, approximately 3,700 meters above sea level. The water of the lagoon is so strong red that it seems like blood or ink. The lake was though familiar to locals, but unfamiliar for others, even to the National Service of Tourism until 2009, though several miles downstream lies the Caritaya Reservoir.

This part has historically been populated by the Aymara culture and ancient civilization, who have managed to preserve the secrets and legends of its land, and which have just recently been revealed. The mysterious curses that have been associated with Egyptian tombs, actually red pool is possesses by a curse that affects those who approach its red waters. That's the reason nobody knows where it is precisely and it does not appear on maps. The disappearance of thousands of Aymaras is also attributed to this lake because they drank from its waters. The beautiful red lagoon is surrounded by two other pools of yellow and green water, and they are believed to bubble when surrounded by unfriendly people.
Thus, it is so common belief that these accumulations of colored water are owned by the devil himself. According to a few specialists the color is due to different species of algae living in its depths. So far various studies have been conducted in this place by expert biologists assuring that the color is due to different species of algae living in its depths, but the mystery still remains, stalking the least intrepid. The Red Lagoon has long been one of Chile’s best kept secrets. The local town has plans to set up guided tours and wants charge entrance fees.  No doubt tourists will be eager to experience the mysteries of the lagoon for themselves. However, it’d indeed take a brave soul to go into for a swim.


Saturday, 28 May 2016

The Hand of Desert in Chile

Somewhere in the Atacama Desert of Chile lies an astonishing monument “Mano del Desierto”, or the Hand of the Desert. In first look, it seems to be a science-fiction item, but actually it is a 36 feet high sculpture. However “Mano del Desierto” is a symbol of the contrasting ideas which shows how small, helpless and stranded humans are. The Chilean Artist Mario Irarrazabal has created this massive hand sculpture popular in his domain of sculpting hand made things. In fact weird as they may seem, and his efforts are acclaimed all over the world due to their innovative and emotion they express. 

The nearest town from this monument is Antofagasta around 75KM away. Nonetheless, visitors are crazy to see this marvelous effort of Mario Irarrazabal, and have catches surprise popularity throughout the year. Irarrázabal used the human figure to express emotions like injustice, loneliness, sorrow and torture and it is an easy victim of graffiti and is therefore cleaned occasionally.

However, it was built around nearly 25 years ago in March 28, 1992, seems just as if it was made of sand the sculpture is very resistant. The local organization “Corporaction Pro Antofagasta” support in construction of Hand, made by iron and cement. It’s a must visit place can be visited any time of year. His another popular works include an over-sized sculpture exploring the same idea, named "Monument to the Drowned" is located on Parada 4 at Brava Beach in Punta del Este, a famous resort town in Uruguay. 

Thursday, 24 December 2015

Licancabur, A Highly Symmetrical Stratovolcano Between Chile and Bolivia

Well, Licancabur is a highly symmetrical stratovolcano on the southernmost part of the border between Chile and Bolivia. But actually it is situated just southwest of Laguna Verde in Bolivia. The volcano takes over the landscape of the Salar de Atacama area. The lower 2/3 of the northeastern slope of the volcano belong to Bolivia, 5,400 meters from the foot at 4,360 meters, though the rest and biggest part, including the higher third of the northeastern slope, the crater and summit, belong to Chile.
The summit and the crater are located completely in Chile, slightly over one kilometer to the southwest of the international borders. It is about 400 meters wide and covers Licancabur Lake, which is 70 meters by 90 meters Crater Lake almost ice-covered round the year. This is one of the highest lakes in the world, and despite air temperatures which can drop to -30 °C, it harbors planktonic fauna. The Lake provides an extremely harsh environment, but still there is life (extremophiles, planktonic fauna).

Moreover, Licancabur's most recent volcanic activity formed extensive lava flows which spread six kilometer down the northwest and southwest flanks, with older lava flows reaching 15 kilometers and pyroclastic flow deposits as far as 12 kilometers from the peak. Moreover, archaeological evidence at the summit offers evidence of pre-Columbian ascents and proposes the importance of crater lakes in Inca culture. This also supports the absence of major eruptions over the past 500 to 1,000 years. 

It is believed that Incas may have used the mountain to preform sacrifices and ruins can still be found on the top. Though not the most technically challenging climb in the Andes, the sheer altitude and magnificence of this volcano make it a very advisable climb, particularly if you’re trying to acclimate to high altitudes. Make sure, when climbing Licancabur, you’ll be sleeping at approx. 14,500' and climbing more than 19,000'. The best season to climb is Dec till March, which is lit bit more wet season. The high antiplano is "high and dry" and the sun is intense and the nights can be cold. Hece, it is advice to put on lots of sunscreen every day and get ready for temps to cross 20's F for January, colder in their winter.