IV Chilean Symposium on History of Geology

(Texto enviado a la Comisión Internacional de Historia de la Geología).

Organized by the Geological Society of Chile, the IV Chilean Simposium on the History of Geology took place November 27 at the Ignacio Domeyko auditorium, Department of Geology, Faculty of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, Universidad de Chile. Nearly 60 persons attended, almost half  of them geology students from different universities in the country.

   Subjects treated were the history of national institutions and the role of their founders, pioneering works about  geology in Chile or not, and the developments of some geological concepts and theories. The fundamental research and teaching institutions in Chile were created mainly during the second half of the XX century, and the people responsible for their creation were highlighted : geographer Humberto Fuenzalida, mineralogist Hector Flores and mining engineer and petrologist Jorge Muñoz were the founders of the Geology course (1953) that persists until today as the Geology Department at Universidad de Chile (1,2,3). Italian professor Giovanni Cecioni was an important collaborator for 35 years in this program (4). A critical analysis of the creation of numerous Geology courses in several private and public universities during the last three years was presented (5). Mining engineer Carlos Ruiz was the founder of Instituto de Investigaciones Geológicas, which evolved into the present Servicio Nacional de Geología y Minería (2,3,6), in charge of the geological mapping of the country, action in which he was supported  by a delegation of north-american geologists of the “ Point Four”. The foundation of the Chilean Antarctic Institute in 1964 was also evoked (7), and its role in the Antarctic research started years before at Universidad de Chile recognized.

  Another aspect was the contribution of foreign researchers in Chile, namely Charles Darwin, andCaptain Fitz Roy, for their description and observations on the seism of Concepción in 1835 (8), which had many similarities with the major earthquakes occurred in Chile in 1960 and 2010. Also, a little known activity of the two german  Heuland brothers, sent by the king of Spain at the end of the XVIII century to survey the mining potential in Chile was explained (9). The development by Charles Darwin of the concept of cleavage and foliation as a metamorphic feature in rocks, was in part inspired by his observations at Tierra del Fuego (10). The important and early work in the geological concepts of the Russian scientist Mikhail Lomonosov in the XVIII century was revealed (11), as well as a presentation of the ideas of Charles Lyell in his well known Principles of Geology during the XIX century (12). The thoughts about volcanoes of the aborigines of Mexico and South America and their behavior in face of eruptions were compared with those of the Christian population in these regions at that time (13).

 Philosophical aspects of geology as a historical science, and the implications this has in the characteristic methodology of our science (14), as well as the relationships between the earth sciences and politics were discussed (15). Before the closing, a detailed talk about the development of the theory of plate tectonics during its initial formulations was given (16).

      Abstracts in Spanish can be downloaded from www.sociedadgeologica.cl  The group decided to hold the next symposium in about one year time, with part of the presentations being asked for by the Geological Society to specific contributors about specific themes, and the rest by spontaneous presentation as happened during this symposium.

Presentations to the symposium.  

1.-Reynaldo Charrier and Ricardo Thiele.  Origen y creación de la Carrera de Geología de la Universidad de Chile.

2.-Aníbal Gajardo  and Eric Ridelle.  Los iniciadores de la institucionalidad geológica en Chile en el siglo XX.

3.-Eric Ridelle S. and Aníbal Gajardo C. Los pioneros de la Geología en Chile en el siglo XX.

4.-Raúl Ugalde, Reynaldo Charrier and Francisco Hervé.   La gran aventura de Don Giovanni Cecioni por Magallanes y la Patagonia: un pionero de la  geología austral.

5.-Joseline Tapia and Mario Pereira. El estado del arte de la carrera de geología en Chile.

6.- Raúl Salas Olivares. Crónicas de la creación del Instituto de Investigaciones Geológicas (IIG) y la profesión de geólogo en Chile.

7.- Francisco Hervé.  50 años de investigación geológica del Departamento de Geología de la Universidad de Chile en la Antártida.

8.-  Patricio Leyton.  El terremoto de 1835: Conocimiento científico y análisis geológico entre los años 1835 a 1858 en Chile.

9.- Claudio Canut de Bon.  El viaje de los hermanos Heuland a Chile (1795).

10.-Daniel Boyce. Clivaje y esquistosidad entendidos por Charles Darwin como parte de un mismo proceso.

11.- Cristián Ramírez  and Francisco Hervé.  Mikhail Lomonosov (1711-1763), un pionero desconocido.

12.- Sebastián García.  Charles Lyell y el comienzo del pensamiento científico en la geología.

13.- Francisco Bucchi. Los indios americanos, los españoles y las erupciones volcánicas: distintas visiones de un mismo fenómeno

14.- Hernán Bobadilla. ¿Es la geología una ciencia histórica? Cuestionamientos metodológicos y conceptuales desde las escuelas filosóficas analítica y continental.

15.- Hernán Bobadilla. La geología como discurso: sociedad, cultura y política como determinantes del quehacer geológico.

16.- Luis Aguirre. La Tectónica de Placas: un alumbramiento difícil pero feliz.