Wednesday, 29 de March

Three proposals, submitted by CEGA’s researchers, were selected by the National Fund for Scientific and Technological Development (FONDECYT). Projects, led by Linda Daniele, Daniel Díaz and Francisco Suárez, will receive funds to develop studies in different places of Chile.

The first proposal is led by CEGA´s researchers, Daniel Díaz and Angelo Castruccio, who will begin to work on the study named “Modeling and Comparison of Magmatic Structures associated to Osorno and Calbuco Volcanoes, Southern Andes”. This research seeks to compare two volcanic systems that are nearby and have recently erupted. “The idea is to make measurements of petrology and geophysics to get an idea of what is under both volcanoes and see if we can find differences between the magma reservoirs of both systems”, says Daniel Díaz.

The researcher points out that another impact is linked to the area of study: “Los Lagos region (southern Chile) has the particularity of being a place with many active volcanoes, which have erupted recently. That is probably connected with magma reservoirs with much energy. In that sense, the research will show that there is great potential in the area and that it is necessary to encourage the research and development of more projects related to geothermal energy”.

Another initiative funded this year is named “Decoding springs, groundwater and fractured rock connections at the San Felipe-Los Andes area (Aconcagua basin, Central Chile)”. This research will be financed for three years and will be led by researchers Linda Daniele, Gloria Arancibia and Gonzalo Yáñez.

Regarding the proposal and the impacts on CEGA´s work, hydrogeologist Linda Daniele comments: “This research will allow us to analyze water and its role in the fractured rock system. We will study how this water circulates throughout the system, which will help us to understand how these high-temperature fluids circulated in the past. With all these data we can determine the evolution of a geothermal reservoir.”

She adds that Aconcagua basin is proposed as study case because agriculture is an important economic activity, stressing the prolonged water scarcity they have. “It’s one of the major basins in central Chile, and there is a whole issue concerning the importance of water in the human life. This is why investigating the part that is linked to the recharge area could help understand the general scheme of resources in this area”.

The third project selected by Fondecyt is named “Measuring evaporative water loss in arid environments using optical and microwave scintillometers”. It is headed by CEGA´s researcher Francisco Suárez, who will work together with the professor of the Agronomy School of the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile, Francisco Meza, and the professor of the Department of Civil Engineering of the University of Chile, Alberto de la Fuente.

The proposal will receive funds during four years and seeks to measure the sensible and latent heat fluxes in arid environments of Chile. The study will be developed in Pirque and Salar del Huasco, a hyper-arid climate located in Tarapacá region.

“We want to analyze these fluxes on a scale of square kilometers. This can be possible using an instrument called scintillometers, a new technology that allows us to measure the energy fluxes. Also, for the first time the applicability of this instrument will be tested in a hyper-arid climate”, said the project´s principal investigator, Francisco Suárez.

Within the repercussion in the geothermal field, the study will allow quantification of water resources in areas such as a plateau, through the measurement of water flows that escape from the ground to the atmosphere, which will generate groundwater models in the area. “If we have these groundwater models it is possible to know the interference of these systems with the energy reservoir. The other point is that you could detect larger fluxes into the atmosphere in some parts, which may help you to infer where there are more extensive geothermal systems” adds the expert.