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Universidad de La Frontera


Project Description

Our proposed student/early career exchange initiative aims to promote collaborative research in geohazard science, specifically focusing on the Southern Andes region centered around the Liquiñe-Ofqui fault system. Throughout their stay, participants will actively engage in evaluating the connections between landslides and volcanic/tectonic forcings. The goal is to optimize the deployment of instrumental networks for effective geohazard monitoring, aiming to constrain the frontiers of characterisation and enhance the mapping of these interactions. The program includes field visits dedicated to strategically assessing and refining the placement of monitoring instruments, with a particular emphasis on local seismicity related to landslide and debris flow close to Villarrica, Llaima volcanoes and Mocho-Choshuenco volcanic complex. This hands-on experience will provide valuable insights into the dynamics of surface processes and their intricate connections with volcanic and megathrust activities. Leveraging landslides as a proxy, the collaboration aims to unravel these complex interactions using data generated in recent years by the UFRO team in collaboration with other Chilean institutions. Through immersive fieldwork and collaborative research endeavours, the selected student will contribute to advancing our understanding of geohazards in the Southern Andes, aligning seamlessly with the objectives of SZNet and its implementation plan. This exchange opportunity not only enriches scientific knowledge but also fosters cross-cultural collaboration among emerging scientists and early career researchers. In conclusion, we assert that this final aspect is pivotal to the success of the SZ4D, as it enables foreign collaborators to gain insights into, among other things, the operational procedures, approach route selection criteria, permit management, and climatic constraints that are exclusive to the Andes according to the implementation plan.

Proposed Hosting Period

The preferred months for hosting the visiting scientist are flexible, from March to December. However, March–May and October–December are the ideal months to embark on-field activities. This extended timeframe is particularly advantageous, as it aligns with the availability of our dedicated research assistants and graduate students. Their collaboration, in conjunction with the guidance of our experienced professors at the University of La Frontera, ensures a conducive and supportive environment throughout the exchange period. Additionally, the field activities associated with this program will be generously funded by Fondecyt 1230792; 11230289 and FONDEF ID23i0118. This funding support facilitates research endeavours and allows fieldwork under different seasons, enabling a comprehensive exploration of geohazard dynamics in the Southern Andes. This financial backing ensures that the visiting scientist can actively engage in diverse field activities, contributing to a richer understanding of the region's geohazard science across varying environmental conditions.


Briefly outlining the facilities, equipment, and resources available for the visiting scientist, our proposal boasts access to cutting-edge facilities, including the newly established Laboratory of Geosciences and Hydric Resources Observatory (2023). This state-of-the-art facility has advanced tools such as drone survey capabilities, seismic networks, soil characterisation for hydraulic properties, geotechnical survey instruments, and additional landslide characterisation tools based on geophysical surveys (increasing the experience sharing between US-Chilean teams). It is noteworthy that all these instrumental resources will be funded by Fondecyt 1230792; 11230289 and FONDEF ID23i0118, ensuring the availability of top-tier equipment to facilitate comprehensive research endeavours.

In addition to the laboratory resources, logistical needs, including transportation requirements, will be seamlessly covered by our dedicated research assistants from the Geoscience Laboratory. This support extends to providing trucks and other logistical necessities, ensuring that the visiting scientist can focus on their research without hindrance.

Furthermore, the visiting student/early career will have unrestricted access to the university and the necessary space according to their specific requirements, aligning with our institution's commitment to internationalization. This open access policy ensures that the visiting scientist has the freedom and flexibility to conduct their research efficiently and collaboratively within our academic community.

Additional Comments

The Chilean host eagerly anticipates forging a collaborative partnership to contribute significantly to the SZ4D initiative. Our joint proposal aims to address gaps and opportunities in geohazard studies (study cases, instrumentation design and possible emplacements) in Southern Andes, focusing on enhancing instrumentation infrastructure. The visit expects the development of a comprehensive plan that utilises existing sensors and anticipates future requirements to ensure a robust and forward-looking monitoring system. A key element of our contribution will be the support in designing instrument arrays in Chile (UFRO experience). We will prioritise proposing instrumentation in one or two basins where other active actors, such as fault systems (Liquie-Ofqui) and volcanoes (Villarrica, Quetrupillan, Osorno), are also present (taking into account the interests of the Chilean community). This will enable us to gain a comprehensive understanding of the processes that will be implemented in future basins one time new funding opportunities will be granted. Therefore, our proposal offers the opportunity to be a pilot testing case of requirements and instrumentation for a dense monitoring approach in the future.

Furthermore, our collaborative efforts seek to strengthen ties between Chilean-based institutions (UFRO: Dr Fustos and Dr Basualto, UNAB: Dr Descote, UChile: Dr Ruiz and UOH: Dra Serey) and their counterparts in the United States. This north-south collaboration aims to leverage collective expertise and resources, fostering a dynamic exchange of knowledge and accelerating advancements in future phases of SZ4D. Through joint research initiatives and shared instrumentation development, we aspire to create a synergistic relationship that will not only enhance our understanding of Southern Andes geohazards but also contribute valuable insights to the broader objectives of the SZ4D initiative.

PI Name & email: 

Ivo Janos Fustos-Toribio

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