Meteorites and Craters Found in Chile: A Bridge to Introduce the First Attempt for Geoheritage Legal Protection in the Country

Part of the The Latin American Studies Book Series book series (LASBS)


This contribution presents a short historic review of meteorites and impact craters found in Chile, and how they were recently proposed to be protected as geological heritage, helping to introduce for the first time the concepts of geoheritage and geodiversity to a political level in the country. It includes a table with the percentages of the different types of meteorites found in Chile, for a total number of 1064 official meteorites declared to the Meteoritical Bulletin until July 2017.


Meteorites Atacama Desert Impact craters Geoheritage 


  1. Alpers CN, Brimhall GH (1988) Middle Miocene climatic change in the Atacama Desert, northern Chile: evidence from supergene mineralization at La Escondida. Geol Soc Am Bull 100(10):1640–1656CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Azua-Bustos A, Urrejola C, Vicuña R (2012) Life at the dry edge: microorganisms of the Atacama Desert. FEBS Lett 586(18):2939–2945CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bland PA, Berry FJ, Smith TB, Skinner SJ, Pillinger CT (1996) The flux of meteorites to the Earth and weathering in hot desert ordinary chondrite finds. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 60(11):2053–2059CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Buchwald VF (1975) Handbook of iron meteorites: their history, distribution, composition, and structure, 3 vol. University of California Press, BerkeleyGoogle Scholar
  5. Devouard B, Rochette P, Gattacceca J, Barrat JA, Moustard F, Valenzuela EM, Alard O, Balestrieri ML, Bigazzi G, Dos Santos E, Gounelle M, Jambon A, Laridhi-Ouazza N, Shuster DL, Warner M, Warner M (2014) A new Tektite Strewnfield in Atacama, Chile. In: Abstract #5394 for the 77th annual meeting of the Meteoritical society, Casablanca, MoroccoGoogle Scholar
  6. Dunai TJ, López GAG, Juez-Larré J (2005) Oligocene-Miocene age of aridity in the Atacama Desert revealed by exposure dating of erosion-sensitive landforms. Geology 33(4):321–324CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Gattacceca J, Valenzuela M, Uehara M, Jull AJT, Giscard M, Rochette P, Braucher R, Suavet C, Gounelle M, Morata D, Munayco P, Bourot-Denise M, Bourles D, Demory F (2011) The densest meteorite collection area in hot deserts: the San Juan meteorite field (Atacama Desert, Chile). Meteorit Planet Sci 46:1276–1287CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Hutchison R (2004) Meteorites: a petrologic, chemical and isotopic synthesis. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  9. Hutzler A, Gattacceca J, Rochette P, Braucher R, Carro B, Christensen EJ et al (2016a) Description of a very dense meteorite collection area in western Atacama: insight into the long-term composition of the meteorite flux to Earth. Meteorit Planet Sci 51(3):468–482CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Hutzler A, Rochette P, Bourlés D, Gattacceca J, Mercel S, Jull AJT, Valenzuela M (2016b) New insights in preservation of meteorites in hot deserts: the oldest hot desert meteorite collection. In: Abstract #6159, 79th annual meeting of the Meteoritical society August 07–12, 2015, Berlin, GermanyGoogle Scholar
  11. Hyslop J (1984) The inca road system (studies in archaeology). Academic Press, St Louis, Missouri, p 337Google Scholar
  12. Munayco P, Munayco J, Avillez RR, Valenzuela M, Rochette P, Gattacceca J, Scorzelli RB (2013) Weathering of ordinary chondrites from the Atacama Desert, Chile, by Mössbauer spectroscopy and synchrotron radiation X-ray diffraction. Meteorit Planet Sci 48(3):457–473CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Munoz C, Guerra N, Martinez-Frias J, Lunar R, Cerda J (2007) The Atacama Desert: a preferential arid region for the recovery of meteorites—find location features and strewnfield distribution patterns. J Arid Environ 71(2):188–200CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Navarro-González R, Rainey FA, Molina P, Bagaley DR, Hollen BJ, de la Rosa J et al (2003) Mars-like soils in the Atacama Desert, Chile, and the dry limit of microbial life. Science 302(5647):1018–1021CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Pedersen H, Canut de Bon C, Lindgren H (1992) Vaca Muerta mesosiderite strewnfield. Meteoritics 27:126–135CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Philippi RA (1860) Viage al desierto de Atacama hecho de orden del Gobierno de Chile en el verano 1853–54, Librería de E. Anton, 280pGoogle Scholar
  17. Pourkhorsandi H, Gattacceca J, Devouard B, D’Orazio M, Rochette P, Beck P et al (2017) The ungrouped chondrite El Médano 301 and its comparison with other reduced ordinary chondrites. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 218: 98-113.Google Scholar
  18. Rathbun K, Ukstins I, Drop S, Gutierrez F (2016) A new geologic map of Monturaqui meteorite impact crater, Chile: implications for satellite-based geologic mapping of small craters. In: 47th lunar and planetary science conference. 2pGoogle Scholar
  19. Roeschmann C, Rada C (2000) El Impacto meteórico de Monturaqui, región de Antofagasta, Chile: Productos y Procesos. En actas del IX Congreso Geológico Chileno, vol I, Puerto Varas, Chile, pp 681–686Google Scholar
  20. Scherer P, Delisle G (1992) Are there high meteorite concentrations in the Atacama Desert, Chile? Meteoritics 27:285–286Google Scholar
  21. Schilling M (2009) Hacia la creación del primer geoparque en Chile: Parque Nacional Conguillío, Región de la Araucanía. XII Congreso Geológico Chileno, Simposio de Geopatrimonio, Santiago, 22–26 noviembre, artículo S5_027, 4pGoogle Scholar
  22. Ugalde H, Valenzuela M, Milkereit B (2007) An integrated geophysical and geological study of the Monturaqui impact crater, Chile. Meteorit Planet Sci 42(12):2153–2163CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Valenzuela M (2011) Procesos de meteorización en condritos ordinarios del Desierto de Atacama, Norte de Chile: nuevos antecedentes sobre meteorización de material extraterrestre en ambientes desérticos Tesis para optar al grado académico de Ph.D. Inédito. Departamento de Geología, Universidad de Chile, Santiago, Chile. 201pGoogle Scholar
  24. Valenzuela M (2016) Chilean meteorites: their heritage status and present research. In: XIII annual SOCHIAS meeting, Antofagasta, ChileGoogle Scholar
  25. Valenzuela M, Bourles DL, Braucher R, Faestermann T, Finkelb RC, Gattacceca J et al (2008). New age estimation of the Monturaqui Impact Crater. In: 2008 annual report of the Tandem Accelerator Facility, University of Munich, Germany, 27Google Scholar
  26. Valenzuela M, Baeza L, Vanzi L (2015) Meteoritos chilenos: resultados obtenidos luego de diez años de búsqueda en el Desierto de Atacama. Resumen expandido para el XIV Congreso Geológico Chileno, La Serena, ChileGoogle Scholar
  27. Valenzuela M, Ropert S, Suc V, Jordan A, Vanzi L, Aravena S (2017) CHACANA: Chilean Allsky camera network for Astro-geosciences. In: Abstract for the asteroids, comets, meteors conference—ACM2017, Montevideo, UruguayGoogle Scholar
  28. Zolensky ME, Martinez R, Martinez E (1995) New L chondrites from the Atacama Desert, Chile. Meteoritics 30:785Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Instituto Milenio de AstrofísicaPontificia Universidad Católica de Chile PUCSantiago de ChileChile
  2. 2.Servicio Nacional de Geología y MineríaProvidencia, Santiago de ChileChile
  3. 3.Sociedad Geológica de ChileSantiago de ChileChile
  4. 4.Fundación Centro de Estudios de MontañaSantiago de ChileChile

Personalised recommendations