Excursion Chile and Argentina: Systems of the central and southern Andes
UNIVIE 290.012 EX3 SS2016 [In German]
Forming part of the Pacific Ring of Fire, the Andes represent one of the dominant features of South America. They do not only separate - or connect - Chile and Argentina in the southern part of the continent, but also act as a climatic divide. Depending on latitude and therefore the position in the global climate system, it may be the eastern or the western side receiving more rainfall. As a consequence, lush temperate rainforests are found as well as the driest deserts worldwide. From time to time, the El Niño phenomenon mixes up the average conditions and leads to economic problems.
Whilst the Andes have been the home to prospering cultures for millenia and the societies still interact with the natural processes in multiple ways, rapid transitions are observed. Today's lifestyles largely reflect global trends which, in consequence, strongly influence the urban and also the rural development.
This excursion in February 2016 has guided the participants through some of the major natural and cultural landscapes of the Andes of Chile and Argentina. The key objective of the course was to sharpen the students' understanding of the natural and social systems and, in particular, the interactions between the society and the environment. The active participation in a preparatory course was obligatory to be accepted on the excursion.
The field trip was split into two parts: the obligatory main excursion (14 days) starting in Antofagasta and terminating in Puerto Montt, and an optional extension (8 days) leading to southern Patagonia.