• See a slideshow of Andres’ travels in Peru.
God truly works in mysterious ways. In October 2008, as a senior undergrad at SMU, I attended the Geothermal Resources Council Conference in Reno, Nevada. At the time, I was still not sure what I would be doing after I graduated, but as there was no rush, I preoccupied myself with networking and building my resume. Things were moving along very well.
While walking around at the conference, I suddenly heard a very familiar accent. I stopped to see who the accent was coming from, and saw the gentleman who was speaking – I knew without a shadow of a doubt that I had found another Peruvian. My father is Peruvian, I myself am a Peruvian citizen, and I grew up in and around the culture.
At the conference, I went over to introduce myself and found out that he was part of a small delegation of the Peruvian Geological Survey, called INGEMMET. We talked a bit about what I was doing, what the delegation was doing and how the Peruvian government is trying to come up with geothermal studies to aid and promote geothermal investment, as well as to provide important resource information so that the government can know how to best section the areas to be offered as concessions for geothermal project development.
When I went back to Peru that Thanksgiving Break, I decided to call the INGEMMET delegation and pay them a visit. That visit proved to be life-changing. Throughout the visit and the subsequent tour of the facilities, I was asked a lot about heat flow maps. This didn’t surprise me – as a student of SMU, I knew the university had made a big name for itself as a result of high-quality heat flow maps produced by Dr. David Blackwell, et al. What did surprise me came at the end of the visit. I was offered a job to do the heat flow map of Peru.
When I came back to SMU, I recounted the details of my trip to Dr. Blackwell, who served as a mentor throughout my undergraduate career. He started laughing and said, “Andres, you are the luckiest son-of-a-gun that I have ever seen! You know you just got offered a dissertation on a silver platter, right?”
So the rest is history, as they say. Now I am working on my Ph.D. in geophysics, under Dr. Blackwell’s guidance. I am specializing in Geothermal Studies, and I am currently working on the Heat Flow Map of Peru for my dissertation. My goal is to complete the map in three years.
The finished product will be included in a geothermal layer on Google Earth, and it will subsequently be used by private industry, academia and the Peruvian government as the foundation for Peruvian geothermal concession law.
In photo above left: My father and I at the Colca Canyon in southern Peru. My father is Peruvian, so naturally he was extremely excited when I told him that my field area was Peru. He already has offered to be my field assistant – haha.
And right: Drinking mate with our local guide to prevent altitude sickness. At an altitude of about 4,000 m – more than 13,000 ft – altitude sickness, referred to in Peru as “soroche,” is definitely something to take seriously, particularly as the terrain is very rugged.