Category Archives: Uncategorized

Darwin’s Mount Osorno

From Puerto Montt, I took a trip to Mount Osorno volcano.  In 1835, Darwin witnessed an eruption at Osorno from Chiloé. The sun was intense, and my guide expressed concern over the risk of skin cancer.

Puerto Montt and Chiloé

From Punta Arenas, I flew north to Puerto Montt where I met with anthropologists, environmentalists and public health officials.  In 1834, Darwin visited nearby Chiloé, an island which also encompasses a wider archipelago.  Isolated from the rest of the country, Chiloé has developed its own set of syncretic beliefs blending […]

Concepción Natural History Museum

In Concepción, I paid a visit to the Museum of Natural History. Throughout his travels, including Chile, Darwin encountered petrified wood, either within sediments or loose and washed out of source deposits.  Petrified wood forms when trees are buried, and over time minerals collect, thus turning the wood into stone […]

Concepción’s Natural Disasters

While at sea in 1835, Darwin witnessed the volcanic eruption at Mount Osorno.  A scant two months later, the young naturalist came ashore in the coastal city of Concepción and observed the devastating impact of an earthquake.  The earthquake measured 8.2 on the Richter Scale, and killed 50 people.  The […]

Chile and the Indigenous Past

In Punta Arenas, I paid a visit to Maggiorino Borgatello Museum.  Fuegian indigenous peoples adapted to the harsh environment in Tierra del Fuego, pursuing a nomadic life on land and sea.  They survived for thousands of years, but have become almost extinct since the era of European contact. In Concepción, […]

Ancient Sloth Cave and Torres del Paine National Park

From Punta Arenas, I traveled several hours north to the ancient ground sloth cave: Mylodon, which lived between 1.8 million years 12,000 years ago.  Remains have been found throughout South America, demonstrating Mylodon was adaptable to cold climates.  Though it was mainly vegetarian, Mylodon was also an opportunistic omnivore.  In […]

Darwin’s Legacy in Chile

From the Falklands, I took a flight to Chile and Punta Arenas, the southernmost large city in the world.  There, I spoke with museum curators, indigenous peoples and scientists about climate change and cultural survival.  Though certainly an impressive navigator, FitzRoy left something to be desired in other respects.  On […]

Legacy of the Falklands War

Though the South Atlantic has been free of military conflict since 1982, geopolitics now extends to the realm of offshore oil.  Aside from being disastrous in terms of climate change, further oil development could pose a danger to Magellanic Penguins.  Moreover, military conflict has also damaged the environment, threatened wildlife […]

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