January 27, 2022 #ChileSustentable

Chilean scientists will have the privilege of studying astronomy in the United States

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Hundreds of researchers from all over the planet are opening doors to science and exploration in different parts of Chile and, at the same time, discovering new destinations for tourists who become true explorers here.

Thanks to its geographic diversity and the growing interest of the international scientific community in its unique attributes, Chile has positioned itself as a natural laboratory for the world, allowing the development of astronomy, archeology, paleontology, geology, volcanology, the study of climate change or earthquake engineering, among many other areas.

Although Chile continues to position itself as an adventure tourism destination, it is increasingly offering the experience of remoteness and nature with content and knowledge that generates value for true explorers who come to encounter science, to learn about phenomena that they will not find anywhere else in the world.

Here are 10 Chilean scientific tourism destinations that will surprise you from north to south:

Tulor Village

San Pedro de Atacama, Region of Antofagasta

South of San Pedro de Atacama, in the Los Flamencos National Reserve, is La Aldea de Tulor, one of the most important archaeological sites in northern Chile, with an antiquity of 2,800 years. It is composed of a group of 26 circular houses built with adobe and connected by labyrinthine passages that surprise visitors. In 1982, 10% of the village was unearthed by Chilean archaeologist Ana María Barón. The village of Tulor could have been an important port of traffic and exchange of goods that through the caravanning of llamas allowed the integration of a large territory among the peoples that inhabited the desert.

Today, the new Gustavo Le Paige Museum is being built in San Pedro de Atacama to house the remains found in this archaeological center.

Los Dedos Paleontological Park
Caldera, Atacama Region

Near the seaside resort of Bahía Inglesa, in the Atacama Region, is an open-air museum: Los Dedos Paleontological Park, consisting of 370 hectares with a tourist trail where you can observe fossils of more than 70 species, revealing that the area was covered by sea in the Miocene Period (more than 5 million years ago). The area was studied at the end of the 19th century by the British explorer Charles Darwin. Marine species include the Megalodon, an extinct giant shark that inhabited the coast some 20 million years ago. A specimen of the Pelagornis Chilensis, the largest prehistoric bird in the world, about 10 million years old, was also found there. The Paleontological Museum of Caldera treasures the Cerro Ballena site as the most important paleontological find in the region, where 40 baleen whales were found in 2010, dating back up to nine million years.

Cerro Tololo Observatory

Vicuña, Coquimbo Region

The cleanest skies in the world have allowed northern Chile to become a pole of attraction for astro-tourism. The Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (in the Elqui Valley) is one of the many astronomical observatories in northern Chile. Installed at 2,200 meters above sea level, it was inaugurated in 1967. One way to get to know in situ the field work that astronomers carry out in the country is to visit this observatory, which has eight telescopes and a radio telescope. At Tololo, tourists can live a real experience of approaching space if they reserve their visit one month in advance.

Laguna del Maule Volcanic Complex

Talca, Maule Region

Considered a "super volcano" because it includes 22 stratovolcanoes, lava domes, cones, fissures and craters, Laguna del Maule is a volcanic complex that has the shape of a caldera measuring 25 km by 15 km. This caldera is partially occupied by calm blue magnetic waters, but at a depth of 5 km a magma body is concentrated. In recent years, 36 eruptions have been observed and one of the fastest ground uplifts in history has been recorded, at about 25 centimeters per year. Its volcanic composition has generated international interest, being studied by The United States Geological Survey. There are currently 11 seismic stations installed to monitor its behavior.

It has a 10 km circuit, signposted and designed for trekking.

Senda Darwin Biological Station

Ancud, Chiloé, Los Lagos Region

The Senda Darwin Biological Station is a private wilderness area whose objective is scientific research, environmental education and conservation of Chile's native forests. Its property belongs to the Senda Darwin Foundation, which was founded in 1994 by a group of Chilean and foreign researchers from various universities.

It is named in honor of the British naturalist Charles Darwin, who visited the Chiloé Archipelago in 1834 and 1835 to study its flora and fauna. It is located 27 km from the city of Ancud and has three educational trails for public use: Pichihuillilemu Inquiry Trail, Charles Darwin Interpretive Trail and the Tepual Trail. In addition, you can learn about the most outstanding projects of the Senda Darwin Foundation, among which is the study of Darwin's Fox, an endemic mammal of Chile, in danger of extinction. Every year they receive international volunteers interested in studying biodiversity and working in environmental education.

Kütralkura Geopark

Araucanía Region

The Kütralkura Geopark, located in the Araucanía region, gathers 35 geosites linked to Chile's volcanic condition and is the first in the country to be endorsed by UNESCO. It includes the Conguillío National Park, the Llaima, Lonquimay, Sierra Nevada, Nevados de Sollipulli and Tolhuaca volcanoes, and several national reserves. The geology of Kutralküra represents a volcanic Chile associated with the phenomenon of "subduction", where the Nazca and Antarctic oceanic plates move and sink beneath the South American continental plate, releasing a large amount of energy, which causes a deformation of the earth's crust and the generation of faults, volcanoes and earthquakes. The project was developed by a team of geographers, biologists, anthropologists and tourism experts, led by geologists Manuel Schilling and Alvaro Amigo, working together with local Mapuche-Pewenche communities to develop geotourism, science education and conservation of geological heritage.

Marble Chapel Sanctuary

Puerto Tranquilo, Aysén Region

The Capilla de Mármol nature sanctuary is a group of islets, located on the shores of the calypso Lake General Carrera, whose geoforms are called Catedral de Mármol, Capilla de Mármol and Caverna de Mármol (Marble Cathedral, Marble Chapel and Marble Cavern). Over the millennia, wind and water have exposed the marble strata, revealing different cavities and caves with mineral colors that offer a spectacle for tourists and geologists who tour and study them from their kayaks. These caverns are carved out of marble that was formed approximately 300 million years ago.

The site is recognized as a geological heritage of international importance.

Laguna San Rafael Biosphere Reserve

San Rafael Lagoon, Aysén Region

Located in the Aysén Region, it has an area of 1.7 million hectares, of which 400,000 correspond to the millenary ice of the Northern Ice Fields. Also within the park is Mount San Valentín, with a height of 4,058 meters above sea level, and the San Rafael glacier and lagoon. There are tours through the ice in small boats, from where it is possible to observe the huge blocks of ice detach from the glacier and fall into the lagoon. In a century and a half, the San Rafael glacier has lost more than 100 km2 of surface area. For this reason, scientists are working to understand the impact of climate change.

Omora Park

Puerto Williams, Magallanes Region

Omora Ethnobotanical Park is located in the Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve, on Navarino Island, very close to the southernmost city in the world, Puerto Williams . It can be reached by plane from Punta Arenas, with incredible views of Tierra del Fuego and the majestic Cordillera de Darwin, or by a 37-hour sailing trip from the same city, crossing some of the most remote channels of the country full of glaciers and snowdrifts. The Omora Ethnobotanical Park combines research, science, education, art and philosophy. Headed by Ricardo Rozzi and Francisca Massardo, who have focused on "miniature forests". The park has observation circuits of mosses, lichens and tiny liverworts, promoting the so-called "tourism with a magnifying glass".

Union Glacier

Antarctica, Magallanes Region.

In the heart of Antarctica, the Union Glacier Joint Scientific Polar Station is located only 1,000 km from the South Pole and a six-hour flight from Punta Arenas. The site where the station is located is made up of 10 glaciers. Therefore, the station is positioned as an obvious opportunity for studies in microbiology, glaciology and meteorology. In this place, Chilean and foreign scientists investigate various topics of global interest and create special expeditions with unique scientific missions. It is a place that can be accessed by airplanes of the North American company Antarctic Logistic Expedition, which organizes trips to live a unique experience in a breathtaking landscape that provides relevant knowledge for everyone.

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