New CEGA`s postdoctoral researcher will deepen the knowledge about El Tatio

Friday, 28 de October

Seeking to study the processes that affect the geothermal systems dynamics, Carolina Muñoz will continue her research developing a long term monitoring in the geyser field of El Tatio.

In order to investigate the eruption dynamics of geyser and the evolution of hydrothermal systems, the geologist and Philosophy Doctor in Earth and Planetary Science of the University of California Berkeley, Carolina Muñoz, recently joined CEGA’s postdoctoral team.

During her PhD, Carolina investigated the behavior of the geyser field El Tatio. Regarding the selection of this place to develop her studies, she says: “On one hand, I chose this area because I am Chilean and the access is easy for me. Another important reason is that there is not so many geysers fields, and El Tatio is the third largest one in the world, and it is only overcamed by Yellowstone National Park (United States) and Kronotsky Nature Reserve (Russia)

From a scientific point of view, adds the researcher, El Tatio is attractive for the large quantity of thermal manifestations that are constantly interacting with each other: “It is a dynamic system with geysers, fumaroles and mud volcanoes. It is also interesting to study because it has little seasonal variation owing to its location in the Atacama Desert. At Yellowstone, for instance, snow and rain make difficult to get the pure geyser`s behavior. In that sense, we can say El Tatio is a natural laboratory, which can be used to understand the processes and evolution of hydrothermal systems”.

As CEGA`s new researcher, Carolina has chosen to do a little more of geophysics to deepen in the geometry of the place, as one of her first tasks. After this, will come a monitoring phase, during which she will install sensors to record the system variations: “The idea is to define what are the natural or seasonal processes that affect geothermal systems. We want to know why these systems age or rejuvenate, or what could be the natural variations if a geothermal plant is built in Bolivia. The only way to know if this affects or not the local system, is knowing how they were beforehand, and that must be done now to create a base line on how they work”

Mientras desarrollaba su tesis doctoral, Carolina recibió el financiamiento de CONICYT para  apoyar colaboraciones entre Berkeley y Chile, fondo que es  administrado por el Centro de Estudios Latinoamericanos de UC Berkeley.

While developing her doctoral thesis, Carolina received funds from CONICYT program to support Berkeley-Chile collaborations, which is administered by UC Berkeley’s Center for Latin American Studies.


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