The Atacama Station UC is located in the far north of Chile, 70 km to the south of the city of Iquique in the Tarapacá Region. The Alto Patache Fog Oasis lies within Chile’s Coastal Range in the midst of the Atacama Desert, an area known for its extreme aridity. The presence of coastal fog permits the growth of specially adapted vegetation which, in turn, provides habitat for a diversity of animal species.
The station’s research programme was launched in 1998 and focuses on study of the fog and its relation to wildlife. The aim of the programme is to conduct research and conservation and to provide environmental education. A number of universities are currently engaged in research in these fog ecosystems, exposed as they are to the effects of climate change. Studies focus on the quantity, quality and potential use of water derived from the fog, as well as solar energy and its various applications and associated technologies.
Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. Alto Patache. A fog oasis in the desert. Heritage Route No. 57, Ministry of National Assets, 100 pages.
The Alto Patache Fog Oasis National Protected Asset was granted in concession to the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile for a period of 25 years (by means of Exceptional Decree No. 363 of 10 August 2007) for the purposes of conservation, scientific research, environmental education, and the sustainable development of its resources.
With the aim of creating a Heritage Route in the area, which would provide access to the general public and promote the natural heritage of the Alto Patache Oasis, a working agreement was formed between the Ministry of National Assets and the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. Work was carried out by team at the Atacama Desert Centre, which was responsible for the design of the Alto Patache Heritage Route. The team also produced the photographic material and text included in this guide, as well as the content and locations for a system of signage that guides the visitor safely around the Route, providing information along the way.