Visualized Landscapes

Dominique Bruneau For Lofscapes

Chile and its Restless Geography © Dominique Bruneau S. for LOFscapes based on background photograph: HO/AFP/Getty Images. Seen at: • Alonso de Ovalle, TABVLA GEOCRAPHICA REGNI CHILE. National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London  (1646) Seen in: • Planet Labs,  Image of the Villa Santa Lucia landslide (January 11, 2018). Seen at: • Bases Cartograficas SIG (Shapes): SNASPE, Regiones, Red Vial Chile MOP, Curvas de nivel región de Los Lagos • Las Últimas Noticias, Las 50 fallas geológicas que cruzan Chile (The 50 geological faultlines that cross Chile)(April 11, 2010) Pag. 3 • Repositorio Digital ONEMI, Aluviones en Chile en la década del 90 (Landslides in Chile in the 90s) Seen in : • Wikipedia, Lista de aluviones. Aluviones en Chile desde la decada de los 90 (Landslides in Chile in the 90s) in:

Three years after the storm in northern Chile, which caused several landslides in the regions of Antofagasta, Atacama, and Coquimbo (1) and little more than three months after the landslide that affected Villa Santa Lucía (2) in the southern part of the Los Lagos region, we analyzed the dynamic condition of construction in our country and how it has affected human settlements located in the path of increasingly common natural events.

Three years after the storm in the north of Chile that caused several landslides in the regions of Antofagasta, Atacama and Coquimbo (1) and little more than three months after the landslide that affected Villa Santa Lucía (2), in the sector south of the Los Lagos region, we reflect on construction in our restless territory. We consider how Chile’s dynamic condition has affected the human settlements that have found themselves in the path of geological events that are difficult though not impossible to foresee and perceived as increasingly habitual and destructive.

(1) Laura Plitt, “¿Por qué se inundó el desértico norte de Chile?,” (Why was there a flood in Chile’s northern desert?)BBC Mundo (28.05.2015) < Also see the publication LOFscapes Aluviones en la Región de Atacama (Landslides in the Atacama Region) – Chile, March 2015>

In the Infographic of this week, we show the scenario of Villa Santa Lucia after the landslide on December 16, 2017 whose magnitude can be understood through its more than 100 victims (2), and how this disaster has been framed in the national context. At the same time, we can see on the map on the left, the area attached to the Yelcho glacier that broke off as a flow of debris (3) after the torrential rains that fell between December 15 and 16 ( 4), and how the landslide, generated by this ice break, made its way to the town, cutting off the Austral Highway. The climatic event occurring in conjunction with the multiple geological conditions within this territorial framing, such as the Liquiñe-Ofqui fault (5), colluded in its outcome with the more than twenty landslides that have affected different localities of the country in the last thirty years (6). We can accuse the State of having a short memory and being accustomed to dealing with problems instead of anticipating them, but even in the 17th century, before the foundation and urban expansion of most of the affected localities, representations of Chile showed a geography crowned by volcanoes and mountains. Even then, important movements of land and water were observed (7). Without going farther back than 2008, just after the Chaitén volcano erupted, the National Geology and Mining Service of Chile (SERNAGEOMIN) described the specific geographical characteristics surrounding Villa Santa Lucia that indicated danger for this locality before the event occurred (8).

(2) ONEMI, “Monitoreo Alerta Roja para la provincia de Palena por evento meteorológico (Red Alert Monitoring for meteorological events in the province of Palena ) (2018) <>
(3) According to the RAE, debris or detritus is defined as the result of decomposition of a solid mass into particles.
(4) “Las fuertes imágenes del aluvión que cubrió la Villa Santa Lucía en Chaitén,” (Strong images of the landslide that covered the Villa Santa Lucia in Chaitén) El Mostrador (18.12.2017) <>
(5) Scott A. Reynhout, “Villa Santa Lucía debris flow: deglacial hazards in a warming climate” (26.12.2017) <>
(6) “Aluviones en Chile en la década del 90,” (Landslides in Chile in the 90s) Repositorio Digital ONEMI, < y Wikipedia, Aluviones en Chile> Visto en: <>
(7) Alonso de Ovalle, “TABVLA GEOCRAPHICA REGNI CHILE,” National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London (1646) <>
(8) Francisco Aguirre A. “El desastre pudo ser evitado: Estudio de 2008 advirtió del peligro en la Villa Santa Lucía” (The disaster could have been averted: 2008 study of the dangers to the town of Villa Saint Lucia) La Tercera (19.12.2017) <>