The University of Texas at Austin

The Jackson School of Geosciences

Tatio Geothermal Basin

- Largest geyser basin in southern hemisphere
- Unique natural laboratory
- Important economic resource
- Center point for regional heritage
- International tourism destination

Jackson School of Geosciences Technical SessionSeries
Geosciences Building (JGB), Boyd Auditorium, Room 2.324, UT-Austin Campus
ENCOMPASS invites you to the upcoming Technical Talk, Tuesday, March 1st from 4-5pm.
                                Doctoral Candidate Megan Franks

            "The diversity and distribution of Archaea at El Tatio Geyser Field, Chile"                                    broadcast live at this URL

The objective of this research is to rapidly assess human-natural system interactions for a geothermal basin.The confluence of a recent surprise event at El Tatio geyser field in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile paired with access to innovative scientific measurements of key basin indicators provides an opportunity observe behaviors for interacting human-natural systems. 

Using mixed-methods to integrate physical and social perspectives, this research looks at “How do people perceive vulnerability in the geyser field and frame possible consequences and/or solutions for managing the multi-attribute tradeoffs needed to define a management scenario?”

Concurrently, the research will attempt to include preliminary interviews with representatives from municipal governments, environmental interests, energy development, tourism industry, national government ministries, local pueblo community members, research scientists studying the geothermal system, and tourists about the perceived impact of the event and the future geothermal development on tourism and the local economy as well as other issues.

The physical system hypothesis is that this event offers a chance to see what the long term geothermal energy development might do to the thermal and hydraulic balance of the geyser field, and that the changes in flow or chemistry of the geysers now might be similar to the future changes after the power plant goes on-line. 

Program Support

Research in II Region of Chile has been supported by the LIFT: The Longhorn Innovation Fund for Technology and the Geology Foundation of the John A. and Katherine G. Jackson School of Geosciences.

If you would like to learn more about the program, contact Suzanne A. Pierce