July 15, 2012

0279 CHILE (Los Lagos) - Osorno volcano

"It is even difficult to get a single glimpse of the Cordillera: during our first visit, once only the volcano of Osorno stood out in bold relief, and that was before sunrise; it was curious to watch, as the sun rose, the outline gradually fading away in the glare of the eastern sky," wrote Charles Darwin in his diary in 1834, during his famed voyage on the HMS Beagle, which is the first official mention of this stratovolcano lying between Osorno Province and Llanquihue Province, in Los Lagos Region of Chile.

Despite its frequent appearance on postcards, Osorno Volcano is actually a rare sight, because it's perennial overcast. It rains more than 200 days a year in the area, with many fierce squalls rolling in off the South Pacific. The poet Pablo Neruda, who grew up in nearby Temuco, at the heart of the Araucanía Region, called the rain "the one unforgettable presence" of his childhood.

A symmetrical, nearly perfect cone, the mountain rises steeply between Todos los Santos and Llanquihué lakes, which provide splendid views of Osorno's glacier-clad flanks on those occasions when the sky clears. Osorno, now in Chile's oldest national park, Vicente Pérez Rosales, founded in 1926, was constructed over a roughly 250,000 year old stratovolcano, La Picada, that has a mostly buried 6km wide caldera.

The 2652m high dominantly basaltic to basaltic-andesite Osorno is one of the most active volcanoes of the southern Chilean Andes, with 11 historical eruptions recorded between 1575 and 1869. During the past 14,000 years have occurred frequent explosive eruptions, including pyroclastic flows and surges, and the lava flowed until it reached Llanquihué lake.

In a clear night, on January 19, 1935, the same Charles Darwin witnessed a midnight eruption from the deck of the Beagle: "At midnight the sentry observed something like a large star, which gradually increased in size till about three o'clock, when it presented a very magnificent spectacle. By the aid of a glass, dark objects, in constant succesion, were seen, in the midst of a great glare of red light, to be thrown up and to fall down. The light was sufficient to cast on the water a long bright reflection. Large masses of molten matter seem very commonly to be cast out of the craters in this part of the Cordillera."

The first and the fourth stamp belong to the Valparaíso, Patrimonio de la Humanidad set, about which I wrote here.

The third stamp is part of a series of 4 (with the values of 10CLP, 20CLP, 50CLP, and 100CLP) about Rapa Nui (Easter Island) Takona Body Painting, designed by Mauricio Navarro G. and issued on August 5, 2011:
• Man with painted face (10 CLP) - it’s on other postcard
• Man with painted face (20 CLP) - it’s on this postcard
• Man with painted face (50 CLP) - it’s on other postcard
• Man with painted face (100 CLP)

The fifth belongs to the Personajes Típicos Chilenos (Chilean Traditional Characters) series, designed by Roberto Sepulveda B. and issued on February 25, 2008. The set contain the following 10 stamps:
Barrendero  / Road Sweeper (20 CLP)
Afilador / Knife Sharpener (20 CLP)
Fotógrafo / Photographer (30 CLP)
Manicero / Peanut Vendor (30 CLP) - it’s on other postcard
Heladero / Ice Cream Seller (50 CLP) - it’s on other postcard
Lustrabotas / Shoe Shiner (50 CLP)
Organillero / Barrel Organ Grinder (100 CLP) - it’s on this postcard
Palomita / Bread Roll & Cake Seller (100 CLP)
Chinchinero / One Man Band (500CLP)
Suplementero / Magazine Vendor (500CLP)

I intentionally left the second stamp to the end, because it fits with the theme chosen by Viridian for this Sunday, namely "flag stamps or patriotic stamps, from your country or another country". This stamp is part of the series Bicentenario de Chile (Bicentenary of Chile), issued on April 20, 2009 (only in 30.000 copies), who contains not less than 16 stamps with the same denomination, 310CLP (I'd like them all, glued of course on postcards, but unfortunately isn't possible):

• O'Higgins Monument – it’s on the postcard
• Carrera Monument
• San Martin Monument
• General Blanco Monument
• Jose Ignacio Zenteno
• Admiral Cochrane
• Declaration of Independence
• Battle of Chacabuco
• Battle of El Roble
• Battle of Maipo
• Battle between Frigates Lautaro and Esmeralda
• Capture of the Maria Isabel
• Departure of the Liberating Squadron
• Abdication of O'Higgins
• First Chilean Congress
• Chile 2010 Bicentenary logo

The Bicentennial of Chile, i.e. the anniversary of two centuries since the beginning of the Independence process in Chile, with the first Government Junta of Chile, took place on September 18, 2010. The choice of this data has been criticized by some, because the country gained its Independence on February 12, 1818, when Bernardo O'Higgins, then the Supreme Director of Chile, approved the Independence act. However, the Centennial of Chile was celebrated on 1910, and 15 of the stamps of the present series are based on the series issued in that year (in a graphical manner adapted), plus the stamp with the bicentennial logo. What I really like.

This is a post for Sunday Stamps #79, run by Viridian. Click on the button to visit her blog and all the other participants.

Osorno – Global Volcanism Program
Volcán Osorno, Chile – Sierra Magazine
The Voyage of the Beagle, by Charles Darwin – books.google.ro
Bicentenary of Chile stamps series – UPU official site

sender: Hernán (direct swap)
sent from Santiago (Chile), on 07.05.2012


  1. The patience of the photographer has been rewarded, I wonder how long was the wait for a clear day, what a fascinating volcano and area. I'm impressed by the postcard senders neat writing lines, and the variety of stamps.

  2. Great card and I love the variety of stamps too, esp since it comes from a rather rare country! The Bicentenary stamp is very nice too!

    Have a great Sunday Danut!

  3. I really like that large letter postcard and the message is very neat and informative. It has a nice assortment of stamps too.

  4. nothing better than a selection of different stamps on one postcard! fascinating history too...i bet the volcano looks beautiful shrouded in mist too!

  5. A very interesting post for me as I only have one stamp from Chile.

  6. Hernan is an extraordinary person and is in the first 5 places in my personal swappers top. He is always very careful with the details and I really appreciate that. :)

  7. A wonderful array of stamps. And you included a little geology, which I always like. I have the stamp of the chinchinero and have featured it on Sunday Stamps before.
    Thank you for joining in!

  8. Beautiful stamps and the info that comes with it. Visiting a postcard blog is always a learning experience. :)