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Master Excursion to the Atacama Desert and high Andes

A Master-Student excursion for the students from the University of Cologne was conducted during end of September till mid of October to the Atacama Desert and the high Andes. In total up to 16 students and some scientist of the CRC travelled to Chile. The excursion was subdivided into several different geological and geomorphological aspects to introduce the students the broad variety and characteristics of the Atacama Desert and Andes of northern Chile. Topics varied from Coastal Neotectonics at Mejillones Peninsula, to copper formation and mining at Baja Blancas and Chuquiqamata, followed by the tectonic evolution of the Andes and Cordillera Domeyko, Salar evolution, Andean magmatism, hydrothermal alteration and ignimbrite flare-ups, to high altitude lake and paleo-lake systems, large-scale tectonic features at the Huayalas anticline and Oxaya block rotation, to the main research area of the CRC, the hyperarid Atacama Desert. During the last days the students experienced the indescribable feeling of being in a hyperarid desert with its barren landscape. Several smaller field projects were conducted to show and teach the student our recent scientific work in the respective study areas of the CRC, how to interpret certain kind of landscapes, how to get samples and how to discuss in the field different processes and interactions of climate variability and landscape processes. Many thanks go to Gabriele Gonzalez for his lovely excursion day at Mejillones Peninsula and Eduardo Campos for his effort organizing visits in the local copper mines and many explanations and teaching about ore forming processes.

Excursion supervision: B.Ritter, Prof. T.Dunai


Fig1 350pxOur visit of the largest open-pit copper mine on Earth “Chuquiqamata” included also the visit to the core storage. The complete rock sequence of the copper body was presented for on-site identification of alteration zones and mineral assemblages.
Photo: Benedikt Ritter


Fig2 350pxGroup picture in the Chuquiqamata open-pit mine.
Photo: Benedikt Ritter


Fig3 350pxView from the small town of Parinacota to the eponymous volcano “Parinacota”. In the background to left rises the Pomerape volcano.
Photo: Benedikt Ritter


Fig4 350pxTectonic and geomorphological lecture in the field about the Oxaya anticline and landslide structures on our way down from Putre to Arica.
Photo: Christian Tiede



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
Tim Schlüter
Institute of Geography | University of Cologne

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

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