This project investigates the intertwined human and environmental geographies of borderland volcanic areas in Latin America (particularly Chile, Argentina and Peru) and elsewhere. It combines human geographical theories of the earth with approaches from science and technology studies to think about volcanic places and spaces undergoing rapid environmental change and seeks to integrate new theoretical ideas with disaster risk reduction in developing contexts.
The project builds on an assemblage approach to understanding disasters as hybrid human-physical-environmental ruptures. It seeks to interrogate the conceptual spaces between vulnerability and hazard in approaches to disasters, understanding that scientific imaginations and those of communities may differ over small spatial areas, with significant impacts on risk.
This will draw upon several interdisciplinary data collection methods to examine the creation, use, and negotiation of knowledge regarding volcanic risk (and interconnected hazards) by communities, scientists, and stakeholders in transboundary contexts.
The methods used include expert interviews of volcanologists and DRR stakeholders at the national, regional, and local levels, interviews and participatory methods in communities living near volcanos, and online surveys and data collection (among others). Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, remote fieldwork options (online expert interviews and surveys) were initially conducted, followed by two data collection field trips in Chile in late 2021 and Chile, Argentina, and Peru in early 2022, with preparation for further fieldwork ongoing.
ERC IMAGINE Team
Former project members
Main study sites
Chaitén is both the name of the town where we work and the name of the volcano that caused the lahars that destroyed it in 2008. We collaborate with the Museo de Sitio (Fundacion Procultura) which works to preserve the memory of the events.
Interviews were conducted with Chaiten residents and authorities in November 2021, and in April 2022. On this occasion, we also created a life-size print of a volcanic cross-section that we will take to the Museo de Sitio to explain the eruptive history of the volcano to visitors, as well as VolcanoVoices that will allow us to share different visions of the territory and preserve its memory (for more details on the methodology, see the video of our presentation at the VMSG 2022 conference further down on this page).
Kütralkura Geopark, Chile
We are working in two main locations in the Kütralkura Geopark: Melipeuco, and Malalcahuello and their surrounding communities, where we have conducted a total of 85 interviews with residents and authorities in late 2021 and early 2022.
The geopark and its various ‘geosites’ provide a unique opportunity for sharing visions of the environment and understandings of volcanic hazards and associated risks. Specific audio recordings were also collected in Melipeuco and Malalcahuello build VolcanoVoices. See our talk – in Spanish – at Simposio Geoparques y Geoturismo en Chile further down on this page as well as our presentation of early and emerging results from Malalcahuello at Cities on Volcanoes 2022.
Copahue, Chile & Argentina
We are working in collaboration with the Pewenche community of Butalelbún in Alto Biobío, Chile, to investigate the persistent activity of Copahue volcano in the context of its highly dynamic geological terrain. This case study is being undertaken by our PhD student, Carolyn Smith, through an extensive period of ethnographic fieldwork. The work is being undertaken with the permission and support of Lonko Roberto Manquepi, and the first phase of the fieldwork is due to culminate in June 2022. Copahue is a uniquely situated case study as the volcano sits directly on the national border between Chile and Argentina; as such, this work encompasses the Mapuche communities that live on the Argentinian side of the volcano as well as the Chilean side.
Arequipa is known worldwide as the ‘White City’ because of its sillar (a variety of volcanic rhyolite) buildings. The sillar is extracted from the ignimbrite quarries that surround the city. In the Añashuyaco quebrada, the quarrymen extract sillar by hand using traditional techniques. They also produce impressive sculptures in order to develop a tourist route, the Ruta del Sillar. This is a unique opportunity to raise awareness of geoheritage and volcanic hazards among the people of Arequipa and beyond. We are collaborating with the Ruta del Sillar Association, INGEMMET and UNESCO through the International Geoscience Programme 692 to understand how to implement appropriate and effective communication tools, while preserving memory of this unique location.
Villarica / Quetrupillán / Lanín, Chile & Argentina
The three volcanoes of Villarica, Quetrupillán, and Lanín are aligned in a north-west to south-east line, ending at the Chile / Argentina border. These volcanoes have cultural significance related to each other for indigenous groups in the area and the border directly crosses Lanín. There is also a significant tourism presence in the town of Pucon and around Villarica (the number one ranked volcano for risk by SERNAGEOMIN) with high levels of development on the slope of the volcano. We are conducting interviews with community members in Conaripe, Pucon, and on both sides of Lanín to understand the different knowledges and perceptions of the volcanoes (including our VolcanoVoices methodology). This work is in collaboration with OAVV and other local partners.,
Video recording of our 11 January, 2021 launch event. Full captions in English available.
Amy Donovan’s talk at the 2022 Annual Conference of the Volcanic and Magmatic Studies Group (https://vmsg.org.uk/)
Video recording (in Spanish) of our 28 February, 2022 talk at the 4th Simposio Geoparques y Geoturismo en Chile en el Geoparque Mundial Unesco Kütralkura. Full session with other talks available on the Kütralkura Facebook page:
Rory Walshe presenting early results at the Cities on Volcanoes 11 Conference, June 2022
IMAGINE PROJECT IN THE MEDIA
Live Interview on Radio Chaíten – 18 November 2021
Live interview on Melipeuco TV during the Feria de Divulgacion Volcanologica.
Many other people were interviewed during this science festival, the above video doesn’t focus specifically on our team interview.