Chonos Archipelago

Chonos Archipelago is a series of low mountainous elongated islands with deep bays, traces of a submerged Chilean Coast Range. Most of the islands are forested with little or no human settlement. The deep Moraleda Channel separates the islands of the Chonos Archipelago from the mainland of Chile and from Magdalena Island.

The largest islands are Melchor Island, Benjamin Island, Traiguen Island, Riveros Island, Cuptana Island, James Island, Victoria Island, Simpson Island, Level Island, Luz Island.

Far out in the Pacific is Guamblin Island with the Isla Guamblin National Park. The National park comprises about 106 km². Blue whales can often be seen here.

Some groups of islands are grouped into minor archipelagoes such as the Guaitecas Archipelago. Guaitecas Archipelago have its own municipality and possesses the only settlement in the archipelago, Melinka. All islands are part of the Aisén Region.

Chonos Archipelago was mapped in the 18th and 19th centuries by José de Moraleda y Montero (1793), Robert FitzRoy (1834) and Enrique Simpson (1870–71).[1][2]

Most of the archipelago is covered by a more-less open Pilgerodendron forest with cushion plants such as Astelia pumila, Donatia fascicularis and Oreobolus obtusangulus.[3] In the western fringes of the archipelago a shrubland of c. 2 meter high Pilgerondendron and Nothofagus nitida grows. Amidst this shrubland ocacional peatlands and forest exists.[4]

Chonos Archipelago
Native name:
Archipiélago de Chonos
Archipielago de los Chonos
Chonos Archipelago can be seen in the upper right portion of the image.
Chonos Archipelago is marked with dark blue, Guaitecas Archipelago with light blue and Chiloé Archipelago is marked with red
Coordinates45°08′00″S 73°57′00″W / 45.1333°S 73.95°WCoordinates: 45°08′00″S 73°57′00″W / 45.1333°S 73.95°W
Adjacent bodies of waterPacific Ocean
Additional information
NGA UFI=-877176

See also

External links


  1. ^ Vásquez Caballero, Ricardo Felipe. "Aau, el secreto de los chono" (PDF) (in Spanish). Retrieved January 24, 2019.
  2. ^ Simpson, E. (1874). Esploraciones hechas por la Corbeta Chacabuco al mando del capitán de fragata don Enrique M. Simpson en los Archipiélagos de Guaitecas, Chonos i Taitao. Santiago. Imprenta Nacional.
  3. ^ Luebert & Pliscoff, pp. 192–195.
  4. ^ Luebert & Pliscoff, pp. 208–209.
1837 Valdivia earthquake

The 1837 Valdivia earthquake struck south-central Chile on November 17. Together with earthquakes in 1575 and 1737 the earthquake is among the historical predecessors to the great 1960 earthquake. The rupture zone was roughly from Valdivia to the south. It was felt in the cities of Concepción, Valdivia and Ancud. The earthquake was also felt by the crew whaling ships in Guafo Island and Chonos Archipelago. Various landslides were triggered in Chiloé and people are reported to have been thrown to the ground in Valdivia. In contrast in Concepción the shakings were moderate. As reported in various coastal localities the ground rose as result of the earthquake. Decades later while surveying southern Chile’s coasts Francisco Vidal Gormaz was told of islands that been submerged and some that had emerged as concequence of the earthquake. The earthquake caused a tsunami that struck Hawaii, what is now French Polynesia and Japan.In Japan the tsunami flooded rice fields, destroyed salmon traps and broke into salt evaporation ponds causing significant economic losses.

1837 in Chile

The following lists events that happened during 1837 in Chile.

Aisén Fjord

Aysén Fjord is an ~70 km long fjord stretching east from a skerry-guarded (skjærgård) region called Moraleda Channel (Spanish: Canal Moraleda), which is a body of water separating the Chonos Archipelago from the mainland of Chile. It is located at 45.26°S 73.00°W / -45.26; -73.00 and is connected indirectly to the open coast of the Pacific Ocean via the Darwin Channel. The Aysén River discharges at the head of Aysén Fjord.Puerto Chacabuco is situated by the shores at the head of this fjord. Puerto Aysén lies on the Aysén River approximately 4 km above the head of Aysén Fjord. It serves as the capital for the Aysén Province.

The region is heavily influenced by a wide tidal reach (up to 8 meters). It lies near the West Wind Drift, a major oceanic surface current which encounters the west coast of Chile at 41° S latitude. The West Wind Drift splits into the northward flowing branch which meets the Humboldt Current and the southward flowing Cape Horn Current, providing ample heat to drive vaporization of the sea water, which results in onshore precipitation of 4,000 – 7,000 mm per year in the Chilean Andes. The moisture is driven onshore by prevailing westerly winds, the Roaring Forties.The fjord was explored by Enrique Simpson in 1870 in the Chacabuco who discovering its usfullness to access more inland locations.Since January 2007 the fjord has suffered a series of minor earthquakes.

Alsodes monticola

Alsodes monticola (common name: island spiny-chest frog) is a species of frog in the family Alsodidae. It is found in southern Chile and western Santa Cruz Province, Argentina, though its presence in Argentina is disputed. Its habitat preferences are not known, but the region of the type locality (the island of Inchy, in the Chonos Archipelago) has tundra and islands of Nothofagus forest.

Archipelagoes of Patagonia

The landmass known as Patagonia hosts a series of archipelagoes, all of them located on its western and southern coast. These archipelagoes, with the exception of Tierra del Fuego and some islands in Argentina's Atlantic Ocean, lie mainly in Chile and in the Pacific Ocean, covering about one third of Chile's coast.

The United States Hydrographic Office, stated in its South America Pilot (1916):

The Patagonian Archipelago, the range of islands lying west of Tierra del Fuego and stretching along the western coast of Patagonia for 11° of latitude north of the western entrance to Magellan Strait, is about as inhospitable a land as is to be found in the globe, especially in its more southern parts. The land is mountainous, presenting an alternation of matted forest, bare rock, and deep bogs, and is cut up by deep channels into peninsulas and islands whose forms are yet very imperfectly known. Drenching rains, varied by snow and sleet, prevail throughout the year, while furious westerly gales succeed each other with rapidity. The scenery is magnificently stern, but is seldom seen to advantage, the clouds and mists usually screening the higher peaks and snow fields. Glaciers, however, extend in many places either nearly or quite to the level of the sea. In such a climate life is scarce, sea fowl and a few wild fowl being the main representatives of the animal kingdom.The scenery in the western portion of the Strait is grand and savage. The snow-capped peaks supply ice and snow for numerous glaciers, which descend nearly to the sea in some places, and frequently crown the precipices. Many waterfalls and cascades, some of which are of great height, fall into the bays, furnishing scenery that rivals the fiords of Norway. It is unfortunate for the voyager in these parts that the weather is such as to render exceptional an opportunity to witness this grandeur of the best advantage.

The archipelagoes of Patagonia include:

Guaitecas Archipelago

Guayaneco Archipelago

Chonos Archipelago

Campana Archipelago

Queen Adelaide Archipelago

Tierra del Fuego Archipelago

Hermite Islands

Ildefonso Islands

Wollaston Islands

Diego Ramírez Islands

Astelia pumila

Astelia pumila is a species of flowering plant in the recently named family Asteliaceae. It is an evergreen silver-green perennial from western Patagonia in southern Chile and nearby areas of Argentina. It grows in forests as well as wetlands. The plant is, together with Donatia fascicularis, dominant in the cushion bogs that exists in areas exposed to the Pacific coast. As such it does not usually found together with Sphagnum which tend to grow slightly more inland. Localities where the plant is found include, from north to south; Queulat National Park, Chonos Archipelago, Taitao Peninsula, San Rafael Lake, the vicinities of Caleta Tortel and Tierra del Fuego National Park.

Benjamin Island

Benjamin Island (Spanish Isla Benjamin) is an island in the Chonos Archipelago of Chile.

Cuptana Island

Cuptana Island is an island in the Chonos Archipelago of Chile. Other names in NGA are Calcai, Guabtana, and Nevada.

Darwin Channel

The Darwin Channel forms a westward continuation of the Aisén Fjord and links it to the Pacific Ocean at Isquiliac Island. It is located in the coast of Chile at approximately 45.4° south latitude. This is one of the main channels situated between the islands of the Chonos Archipelago. Darwin Channel opens in the northern part of Darwin Bay and is considered the best of those which lead to Moraleda Channel, its navigation is free of dangers.

Guafo Island

Guafo Island is an island located southwest of Chiloé Island and northwest of Chonos Archipelago, Chile. The ocean currents have a way of depositing an abundance of fish in this area which makes it one of the most productive marine areas in the Southern Pacific Ocean. Because of this numerous marine vertebrates such as fur seals, sea lions and penguins reproduce and feed in the area. The prevailing west winds and the location make this a rainy, stormy place.


Guaitecas is Chilean commune located in Guaitecas Archipelago which are part of Aysén Province and Region. The administrative centre is Melinka, the only port and town in the Chonos Archipelago.

Guamblin Island

Guamblin Island, also known as Socorro Island, Nuestra Señora del Socorro or Huamblin, is a Chilean island. It is part of the Chonos Archipelago, although it is some 25 km distant from the other islands of the archipelago, far out in the Pacific Ocean.

The island is a National Park, and listed as an Important Bird Area. It is a breeding ground of the sooty shearwater.

Guayaneco Archipelago

The Guayaneco Archipelago (Spanish: Archipiélago Guayaneco) is an archipelago in southern Chile. It was heavily glaciated during the most recent ice age. These glaciers dissected these mountain islands into a series of deep river valleys and glacial troughs. Today these glacial troughs are deep channels and fjords. The islands of the Guayaneco Archipelago comprise a series of elongated islands and deep bays that are the traces of a drowned coastal range. A number of deep channels are traversing generally north to south through the islands. These include the Messier Channel in the lower left portion of the image, and the Fallos Channel near the center of the image. Forests cover the lower slopes of the mountains throughout the many islands. Human settlement on these islands is scarce.

Following the forceful depopulation of Chonos Archipelago by the Spanish in colonial times many Chonos sought refuge in Guayaneco Archipelago.In 1741 HMS Wager wrecked in Wager Island, Guayaneco Archipelago.

James Island (Chile)

James Island (Chile) (Spanish Isla James) is an island in the Chonos Archipelago of Chile. It has an area of 388 km².

Melchor Island

Melchor Island (Spanish Isla Melchor also known as Meleguen in the NGA) is an island in the Chonos Archipelago of Chile.

Moraleda Channel

Moraleda Channel (Spanish: Canal Moraleda) is a body of water separating the Chonos Archipelago from the mainland of Chile. It is located at 44.4147222°S 73.4205556°W / -44.4147222; -73.4205556, leading to Gulf of Corcovado. Southward from the mouth of the Aisén Fjord, Moraleda Channel divides into two arms. The east arm, called Canal Costa (Costa Channel), is the main one. Farther south the name changes to Estero Elefantes (Elefantes Estuary), which terminates in the gulf of the same name. The channel runs along the Liquiñe-Ofqui Fault.

The channel is named after José de Moraleda y Montero, a Spanish navy officer who explored the area in the 1780s.The deepest part of the channel are situated in front of Magdalena Island.In 1985 the discovery of merluza fishing grounds in Moraleda Channel sparkled a fishing boom (boom merluzero) that led to the spontaneous growth of two new settlements; Puerto Gaviota and Puerto Gala.

Rivero Island

Rivero Island (Spanish Isla Rivero) is an island in the Chonos Archipelago of Chile.

Traiguen Island

Traiguen Island is an island in the Chonos Archipelago of Chile. The geological formation of Traiguén is named after the island.

Victoria Island (Chile)

Victoria Island (Chile) (Spanish Isla Victoria) is an island in the Chonos Archipelago of Chile.

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