The students and teachers used LandSat7 Imagery for reconnaissance and to assess the areas most important for field mapping and sample collection. The research party arrived in Ushuaia and spent most of the time working to the east and north of Lago Fagnano. They were based at Hosteria Kaiken, near the town of Tolhuin (red star), located just off Route National 3.

3D rendered LandSat 7 image from the southeast end of Lago Fagnano. Images are from NASA World Wind, an interactive mapping program used by the teachers and students in preparation for the fieldwork (

"A single glance at the landscape was sufficient to show me how widely different it was from anything I had ever beheld. At night it blew a gale of wind, and heavy squalls from the mountains swept past us."

-Charles Darwin, 1832, The Voyage of the Beagle

Tierra del Fuego is at the southern tip of South America. This “Land of Fire” is named for the aboriginal campfires seen from the first European sailing vessels to ply the coastal waters. Scientific observations of the flora, fauna and the geology of the region have been made since the arrival of Darwin’s Beagle.

Views from the shore of Lago Fagnano

The University of Texas at Austin Institute for Geophysics, in collaboration with Stanford University and researchers from ETH/Zurich and the University of Geneva, and high school science teachers and students from Boerne, Texas, traveled to Tierra del Fuego in March 2005. Their objective was to study the strike-slip faulting that has separated South America from Antarctica, and climate change associated with oceanic and atmospheric circulation dynamics of this region.

The students and teachers were contributing members of the larger international science expedition. The group's work laid the groundwork for future studies examining the link between tectonics and climate.