Day Two at El Calafate: “Cabalgatas” means “horseback riding” in Spanish!

Another great day in Patagonia!

Day One El Calafate: settling into the estancia…

Feels great to be way down south again in Patagonia!  We arrived mid-afternoon to El Calafate, just a bit northeast and across the border from Torres del Paine.  The flight was pretty short but I had a good seat on west side of the plane and watched the parade of volcanoes and gigantic glacial lakes go by.  A shortish ride in the remise brought us 20 km west of El Calafate, to the Hosteria Galpon de Glaciar, part of an old estancia and where they have agricultural demonstrations of sheep herding and shearing etc.  A very friendly and funky place – free bikes to ride, lots of birds and friendly dogs around, good Patagonian food and Malbec from Mendoza, power goes off at night and no TV but nevertheless wireless in the lounge.  The kind of place I really like!  Tomorrow maybe some horseback riding but our big trip on Perito Merino glacier is on Saturday.  Let’s hope for some decent weather and a good sighting of the big peaks: Cerro Torre and Fitzroy.


Student team needed for film about Cuatro Cienegas!

So, I am now gearing up to make the film about Cuatro Cienegas that we promised as part of our last NSF grant. I need a place to send interested students too, so here’s the scoop.



Late pictures from Argentina: Back to Bariloche

In Jan/Feb I spent two weeks back in Bariloche with Esteban and Beatriz and their lab.   As usual it was quite a nice trip, made nicer by the fact the volcano had stopped, the air was clear, the lakes were free of ash, and the airport was open!  Below is a view of the glacial arm of Lake Mascardi, where the suspended glacial powder shades the water column, lowers the seston C:P ratio, and makes life better for Daphnia!  (according to the beautiful research of Cecilia Laspoumaderes)

Pictures here.


A great trip to Colombia

Spent the past week here in Manizales, Colombia, with Jorge Bueno, the very impressive director of the Colombia Instituto de Astrobiologia.  Gave a couple of talks at Univ of Caldas (nice place!), got interviewed about astrobiology on local TV (live! in Spanish!), and visited the volcano twice with various students and scientists.  The clouds behind me is the volcano emitting ash and the hot spring has temperature of 70° C and pH of 1.3.   There are very good research possibilities up there.

Full pictures here.  Maps are here and here.


Volcano lake, noodles, and ASLO

We arrived safely to Sendai to visit Jotaro and Mayumi. We spent two lovely nights in a mountain onsen near Zao Lake, a spectacular crater lake with a pH of ~1.7! We then took the shinkansen and were met by Michio, who took us to a lovely Japanese inn (ryokan) in eastern Kyoto. We had a fabulous tofu-based dinner last night. It’s a bit rainy but we are hoping for a nice today touring some temples and sampling more noodles and great Kyoto food. Tomorrow I need to join the ASLO Board meeting and Sunday the meeting starts.

Pictures HERE.

Article about our pumice work in Argentina

I had overlooked it but the article that was written about our NASA- & NSF-funded work on “life on floating pumice” is out in Astrobiology Magazine.   Have a look.   LINK