Unesco declares Kütralcura in La Araucanía as Chile’s first geopark

The Geopark Kutralcura located in the region of the Araucanía, aims to contribute to the social, cultural and economic development of its territory, coinciding with the communes of Melipeuco, Vilcún, Curacautín and Lonquimay.

Unesco declared the Kütralcura as the first World Geopark in Chile. The territory is now recognized as of high interest and international geological importance.

The Kütralkura, which in Mapudungun means “Stone of Fire”, has become the first geopark in the country. This territory of more than 8,100 km2, located in La Araucanía and where more than 50,000 inhabitants live, will be among the eight new world geoparks.

On April 17, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) delivered this category, which will allow this mountain range region to join the geoparks network integrated by 147 territories in 41 countries, obtaining your seal of international recognition.

“A Geopark is an area with well defined boundaries, which contains a significant number of sites of geological interest of particular importance, rarity, or aesthetic and scenic relevance, where its biodiversity and its historical and cultural aspects stand out. Earth memory is part of an integrated concept of protection, education and sustainable development, geotourism and educational activities are developed in these places, through which the protection, research and dissemination of the geological heritage are promoted. ”

In the center of this first 8,100km2 Geopark, the Conguillío National Park is located, where the Llaima volcano is located, which is one of the most active in South America. This territory contains a total of six protected areas, five volcanoes, and a great geodiversity, with diverse types of landscapes and a geological history that covers the last 250 million years. This territory is also part of the Araucarias Biosphere Reserve with a great biodiversity recognized worldwide, and among its inhabitants are numerous Mapuches – Pehuenches communities that have their own worldview, where they highlight the divine character of the volcanoes and the knowledge related to the use of medicinal plants.

It is expected that the Kitralcura Geopark achieve the objective of improving the quality of life of its inhabitants, contribute to the dissemination of Earth sciences at the local, regional and national levels, and consequently motivate the establishment of new Geoparks in the country. In this territory, active volcanoes are a great tourist attraction, and considering its great dynamism, it is necessary that local communities and visitors are well informed about the associated dangers, and mitigation and emergency measures in case of possible eruptions.

The Kitralcura Geopark is located between 38º and 39º south latitude, in the Andean region of the Araucanía region and covers an area of ​​8,100 km2, which represents 25.45% of the regional area. It is made up of the communes of Lonquimay (9,099 inhabitants), Curacautín (18,135 inhabitants), Vilcún (20,887 inhabitants) and Melipeuco (5,313 inhabitants), which totals 53,434 inhabitants, concentrated mainly in nine towns: Melipeuco , Lonquimay, Curacautín, Rarirruca, Manzanar, Malacahuello, Cherquenco, Vilcún and Cajón.

This territory, with six protected wild areas, is located within the area of ​​the Araucarias Biosphere Reserve, an area of ​​biodiversity recognized for its relevance worldwide. The creation of the Geopark also aims to highlight remarkable geological features of mainly volcanic, tectonic and glacial character, which include the volcanoes Llaima, Sierra Nevada, Lonquimay, Tolhuaca and Nevados de Sollipulli.

The eastern boundary of the Kitralcura Geopark coincides with the border with Argentina, to the north it borders the Biobio Region, and to the west and south, with several communes.

The initiative will allow to value the Mapuche ancestral culture, of this territory that records a geological history of more than 200 million years.


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