Andes Archives - State of the Planet

Map of Colombia’s mining operations

End of Colombia Conflict May Bring New Threats to Ecosystems

The end of a 52-year internal conflict could spell trouble for the second most biodiverse country in the world. A new study outlines a sustainable path forward.

by |September 12, 2018

The New World

On a man in the mountains, dusk falls;
Shadows seep upward and spread.
Scaling the black, chiseled walls,
He silently seeks the dead.

by |May 9, 2014

Managing Water in a Dry Land

Since 2010, the Earth Institute’s International Research Institute for Climate and Society along with UNESCO and their colleagues in Chile have been working with Elqui’s water authority to help them use seasonal forecasts as way to better allocate water and prepare for droughts.

by |June 17, 2013

End of the Line – Good Byes to a Great Field Season in Peru

After more than six weeks trawling the Peruvian Andes in search of palaeoclimate clues, our field team is visiting the last site, a potential calibration sites near Coropuna. The objective of that ongoing work is to refine the cosmogenic surface-exposure method for the tropics, thereby improving the precision of new and existing datasets.

by |August 7, 2011

On the Subject of Dust

Our field team has set camp at 5045 m on the dusty slopes of Ampato, an extinct, ice-clad volcano in the Western Cordillera. This is the very mountain from which Juanita, the famous Incan ‘ice maiden’, was plucked back in 1995. The tents are clustered in the lee of a large glacial erratic and, now the clouds have cleared, the view is second to none, taking in the dry plains far below and myriad volcanic peaks in every direction.

by |July 25, 2011

Going West

After a busy few weeks in the Cordillera Carabaya, our field team has said goodbye to the snowy, tempestuous climate of the eastern Andes and is moving west to the desert of Arequipa. Here the mountains are massive, isolated volcanoes, many of which exceed 6000 m in elevation. In fact, Coropuna is the third highest mountain in Peru and certainly the most sprawling.

by |July 17, 2011

Mad Dogs and Englishmen

Our field team has acquired a dog, ¨”Mooch”. Walking back to camp yesterday, amid driving snow and fully laden with rock samples, there he was exploring what passes for our kitchen. Unlike most Andean dogs – ferocious beasts trained to keep geologists from harassing the livestock – this one is a cheerful soul, happy to hang around and be fed whatever is going, and always up for affection.

by |July 11, 2011

Ancient mud from the high Andes

Thanks in large part to Matt, an undergraduate from Pacific Lutheran University in Washington, our field team now has more than sixty samples for surface-exposure dating. This is no easy feat, for collecting these samples requires a great deal of hammering on granite boulders with nothing more than a hammer and chisel. There are other ways of doing it, such as using small explosive charges, rock saws, or splitting wedges, but we find that good old-fashioned hammering is by far the safest way.

by |July 8, 2011

A typical day in the high Andes

Each morning starts the same in the Andes: the frost is heavy on the insides of our tents and falls with the slightest movement, while the realization that it´s going to be a freezing exit from the sleeping bag is tempered by gratitude that the thirteen hour night is over. Yes, sunrise in the Andes is a momentous occasion each day, one that feels a million miles away from home.

by |July 2, 2011

Foreigners in a Strange Land

After a very cold morning in Crucero, the sun burned off the clouds to reveal the black peaks of the Cordillera Carabaya to the east. There´s not so much snow left on the hills these days, just a few glacier patches clinging to the south faces of the highest summits.

by |June 26, 2011