Back from wild Patagonia: Wild geology, wild mountains and wild glaciers!

This year is already in full swing and I managed to enter it in style! My new year’s eve party went something like this: On the morning of the 31st we woke up in our tent, pitched in an alpine forest, at the foot of a glacial valley. We then spent the day trekking through deciduous Beech forests, rolling shrub-land, flanked by the spires of the Paine Massif on our left and turquoise blue glacial lakes on our right. By late afternoon, with icy winds carrying light snow, we slogged into the next camp site, welcomed by a Chilean meat buffet next to the fire place! Bubbly cider, hats, wigs and even the Chilean national anthem at the base of the Torres! A spectacular setting close of 2013 and greet 2014!

Unbelievable Torres!

The spectacular spires of the Torres del Paine National Park. Cuernos Norte can be seen on the right.

Truly, Patagonia, the region at the southern tip of South America, is one of the most beautiful places I have had the privilage of visiting. It straddles the Argentine-Chilean border and is one of the few places on earth where the wild is really still wild and untouched. We managed to do five days of trekking in the Torres del Paine National Park, caught a glimpse of the Ushuaia, the most southern town in the world and also the glaciers of the Glacier National Park in Argentina. A breath taking experience all in all! The Torres del Paine Park has vista and geology for sore eyes. The spectacular creamy spires are the expression of the Torres del Paine intrusive complex which forms a 20 km x 10 km laccolith, intruded into the older sedimentary units of the Punta Barrosa and Cerro Toro formations. Beautiful conglomerates, turbidites and structural features are abundantly visible along the trails and across the exposed rock faces. I cannot wait to go back! If you want to learn more details of the geology of the area, this paper is a good place to start (and is also the source of the image below)

Schematic geology

The schematic representation of the geology of the Torres del Paine. (Altenburger et al.)

So, let’s plunge ahead into 2014! I still have to make good on some promised articles about the interesting geology of the El Soldado Mine in Chile, and take the discussion further with regarding to error estimation in data collection and resource modelling. I want to take a step back in the value chain and continue to discuss the basics of good geology in the mining and exploration industry but also reach further forward and continue to build bridges between the academic and the business side of things. That means diving into everything from deposit types and genetic models, mining geology and resource management, exploration and feasibility and maybe all the way into some finance! Any thing and anywhere, where the rubber of geology meets the road of mining and business.

Pure turquoise!

The view from the French Valley

Let me know which of my past posts you enjoyed, and what you would like to see more of. What are the issues and challenges you face, what have you learnt and what prickles your curiosity? Talk to me by commenting below, share your experiences, even if it’s about what you did during your vacation!

Stay in the loop by subscribing top left, and keep scrolling for some more of the Torres del Paine highlights!

Perito Moreno

The foot of the Perito Moreno Glacier in the Glacier National Park in Argentina.

Spectacular glacial surface

And there she goes, Perito Moreno, all the way up the valley.

The most beautiful valley in the world

And the beautiful glacial valley below Perito Moreno.


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