Uni Koeln mit Schrift small

Log in

Log in

Joint fieldwork with SERNAGEOMIN - Río Loa Canyon

Between the 18th and the 24th of July 2019 a small group of researchers from the CRC-1211 and Sernageomin (Servicio Nacional de Geología y Minería) from Chile conducted the first joint fieldwork in the Atacama Desert. The Chilean group from Sernageomin was formed by Dr. Fernando Sepúlveda, Dr. Paulina Vásquez and Eduardo Martínez (driver), while the CRC-1211 group consisted of Dr. Damián López and Dr. Benedikt Ritter, with the collaboration and support of Alejandro Mancilla from the UCN (Universidad Católica del Norte).

For the first time, samples from the Rio Loa canyon (outcropping bedrock and deposited sediments) were successfully collected from steep slopes and walls with the use of climbing gear. It was a big effort considering the difficult access to the sampling sites and the harsh environmental conditions. The gathered samples will contribute to the understanding of the regional geology concerning timing of deposition of large gravel sequences. They will also contribute to gain hitherto unexplored insights into the paleoclimate and the evolution towards hyperaridity in the core area of the Atacama Desert, covering potentially Eocene/Oligocene to Lower Miocene time scales.

The samples will be processed with new dating techniques at the University of Cologne (partly developed within the 1st Phase of the CRC-1211) and at the Sernageomin facilities in Santiago de Chile. Combined fieldwork and lab analysis will merge in joint publications in the near future. The exchange of knowledge and on-site discussions about geological processes with the special background of both parties opened up a wide field of opportunities for future research and following projects. Both parties agreed that future collaborative projects in the Atacama Desert should be continued to tackle the complex research questions of this area with regional to over regional impact.

 

 

Pressen Eulychnia TBoehnert TB011954 1 350pxGroup picture of the field campaign participants. From left to right: Paulina Vásquez, Fernando Sepúlveda, Damián López, Eduardo Martínez, Alejandro Mancilla and Benedikt Ritter. Hanging Valley at the southern rim of the Rio Loa.
Photo:
Benedikt Ritter
 

Pressen Eulychnia TBoehnert TB011954 1 350px Extreme sampling at the Rio Loa canyon wall by Damían Lopéz. We used up to 400m of ropes and several kg of climbing gear to sample so far not sampled sediments and bedrock outcropping at the Rio Loa canyon.
Photo:
Benedikt Ritter

 

Pressen Eulychnia TBoehnert TB011954 1 350pxExtreme harsh environment, such as strong winds and difficult terrain compounded the sampling. Salt encrusted sediments and outcropping salt rocks at the rim of the canyon enabled the possibility of damaging ropes and equipement.
Photo:
Benedikt Ritter

     
Pressen Eulychnia TBoehnert TB011954 1 350pxOne target for sampling was this paleosol outcropping up to 50-60m below the rim of the Rio Loa.
Photo:
Damían Lopéz
  Pressen Eulychnia TBoehnert TB011954 1 350pxDrone captured image from the northern rim of the Rio Loa. We used both 4x4 trucks for fixing climbing and safety ropes. In the background, outcropping gravels sequences of the Rio Loa Canyon gravels and Alto Hospicio gravels were the main target of this field campaign.
Photo:
Benedikt Ritter
     
Pressen Eulychnia TBoehnert TB011954 1 350pxBird’s eye view of the fixing system for climbing and safety rope.
Photo:
Benedikt Ritter
  Pressen Eulychnia TBoehnert TB011954 1 350px Outcropping paleosol within gravel sequence. Due to sea-fog, outcropping sediments were strongly cemented, which complicated sampling.
Photo:
Benedikt Ritter
     
Pressen Eulychnia TBoehnert TB011954 1 350pxMorning fog (‘camanchaca’) lying in the Rio Loa canyon.
Photo:
Benedikt Ritter
   

i



Contact

  Speaker:
Prof. Dr. Tibor J. Dunai
Institute of Geology and Mineralogy | University of Cologne
Zülpicher Str. 49b | 50674 Cologne
+49 (0)221 470-3229 | tdunai@uni-koeln.de
  Managing Director:
Christian Tiede
Institute of Geology and Mineralogy | University of Cologne

Zülpicher Str. 49b | 50674 Cologne
+49 (0)221 470-89833 | christian.tiede@uni-koeln.de
       
  Deputy Speaker:
Prof. Dr. Martin Melles
Institute of Geology and Mineralogy | University of Cologne

Zülpicher Str. 49a | 50674 Cologne
+49 (0)221 470-2262 | mmelles@uni-koeln.de
  Webmaster:
Tim Schlüter
Institute of Geography | University of Cologne

Otto-Fischer-Str. 4 | 50674 Cologne
+49 (0)221 470-3735 | webmaster@sfb1211.de

DFG logo 200px

       
       
Logo UniKoeln 100px    

logo bonn

 
  RWTH Logo 200px  
  Juelich fz logo 200px