Making Science at high altitude: Faculty & Students from UofA Geosciences, in collaboration with Argentine colleagues, join forces to study Cerro Aconcagua, the highest mountain in the western Hemisphere unraveling the secrets of its formation.

April 8, 2022

The Central Andes represent the archetypical Cordilleran orogenic system, with a well-developed continental volcanic arc and some of the thickest crust on Earth. Yet the relative contributions of shortening and magmatic additions to crustal thickening remain difficult to quantify, which hinders understanding processes of crustal evolution in continental arcs. Cerro Aconcagua, the highest mountain in the Americas is the ideal natural laboratory to address such open questions.

Faculty and students from the Geosciences Department at the U of A, in collaboration with Argentine colleagues, join forces to study Cerro Aconcagua, the highest mountain in the Western Hemisphere and an iconic landmark where the Darwin expedition crossed in 1835. The geology of Cerro Aconcagua was influential on Darwin’s seminal work “On the Origin of Species.” 

The hard work in wild, high-elevation country and follow-up laboratory analyses, innovative thinking, and the camaraderie of collaboration among scientists from the Geosciences Department and Argentine colleagues resulted in a paper that will be published in the May, 2022 issue of the journal Earth and Planetary Science Letters.

Kiriaki Xiluri
520-626-7949