Proposal of geophysical survey for paleontologic prospecting in Cerro Ballena

  • Jorge Zavalla Vásquez Sociedad Paleontológica de Chile
Palabras clave: geophysics, paleontology, fossil, gravimetry, seismic


Close to Caldera city in the Atacama Desert, a paleontological site of marine vertebrate fossils of Pliocene and Pleistocene was accidentally discovered. There were no previous studies of this coastal area until 2012, when a team of paleontologists made a quick removal of the fossils. This paper proposes a geophysical survey in this Chilean site by means of two methods: gravimetric and seismic. Most articles related to geophysics show effectiveness in measuring anomalies associated to geological units with fossil record; however, they are not focused on the search of the fossil itself. The methodology regards the study of the topography along the record of geological structures, the construction of a mesh for collecting of data, filter and interpretation. The expected results are related to quantitative gravimetric and seismic anomalies, those provide traces of the location and attitude of the stratum in which the fossils may be found. The study delivers information to sketch a fossil inventory in site without the necessity alteration of the environment. It should be noted that these geophysical methods are poorly used in the scientific enterprises linked to paleontology, so it is expected that this work may inspire future studies.


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