Carlos Muñoz Ferrada: Chilean Astronomer and Seismologist


Carlos Muñoz Ferrada

Chilean astronomer and seismologist

Carlos Muñoz Ferrada ( Colbún , January 1909 – Villa Alemana , October 17 , 2001 ) was a Chilean self-taught sailor and astronomer . He was known for his true ability to predict earthquakes and other geographic events to such an accuracy that his margin of error could be up to 2 hours. [ 1 ]

Carlos Muñoz Ferrada
Personal information
Birth January 1909 View and modify data on Wikidata
Colbún ( Chile ) View and modify data on Wikidata
Death October 17 , 2001 View and modify data on Wikidata
German Villa (Chile) View and modify data on Wikidata
Cause of death Thrombosis View and modify data on Wikidata
nationality Chilean
Educated in University of Chile View and modify data on Wikidata
Professional information
Occupation Astronomer and seismologist View and modify data on Wikidata


He studied at the Chilean Nautical Pilot School, and in 1929 he graduated as a third pilot. Later, on April 13, 1956, he received his title as first pilot of the National Merchant Marine. He worked at the State Maritime Company (Empremar). Later he studied to be a professor of astronomy and meteorology in the Chilean Navy , and worked as a meteorological technician and became chief of meteorology at LAN Chile . [ 2 ]According to his official biography, he studied engineering and experimental physics at the University of Chile , which he complemented with courses at the astronomical societies of Paris and Milan . He would also have been a member of the Dijon Astronomical Society. In the 1940s he was a research astronomer for the government of Panama , and in 1948, during a trip to El Salvador , he met María Dolores Rivera, with whom he married and had four children, Nelson, Carlos, Lucía and Marina. [ 2 ] [ ]That same year, in 1948, he established his ” observatory ” in Villa Alemana, an artisan laboratory where he worked with second-hand equipment created by himself. [ 2 ] [ ] He died in that city on October 17, 2001, as a result of a thrombosis, at the age of 92 years.

Theories and predictions

Controversial for his insights and theories, Muñoz Ferrada relied on geodynamics to explain his seismic observations and predictions, calculated “literally by hand” [ 4 ] based on solar bursts, attractions of the planets, and cycles of geophysical disturbances. [ 3 ]He is credited with predicting earthquakes, weather changes, and volcanic eruptions. For example, he is credited with making predictions for the 1939 Chillán earthquake in 1938 [ 2 ] and the 1985 Algarrobo earthquake . [ 3 ] He would also have predicted in 1940 the appearance of a comet, which would later have been discovered by the Royal Astronomical Society of London, [ 1 ] an entity that would have recommended the Chilean name for the celestial body. appointment required ]It had many adherents as detractors. His disciple Eduardo Martínez says that Muñoz promoted a “true” school “of knowledge, which combined in a very balanced way the great contributions of the positive sciences with those knowledge from other cultures, particularly from the East, which he always advocated as highly profound and endowed with an extraordinary empiricism ». [ 4 ] Astronomer José Maza , 1999 National Exact Sciences Award , described him as a ” charlatan ” and “a typically Chilean character who did not contribute anything to science, except to have media notoriety”. [ 1 ]


  1. ↑ a b c “Carlos Muñoz Ferrada, the controversial self-proclaimed first astronomer in the country” . The Third . November 9, 2018 .Retrieved on 2019 November 21 .
  2. ↑ a b c d “Astronomer famous for his seismic predictions died . . Retrieved on 2019 November 21 .
  3. A b c “Chilean astronomer who predicted 1985 earthquake died yesterday .  Emol . October 18, 2001 . Retrieved on 2019 November 21 .
  4. ↑ a b c “The mysterious scientific laboratory of the controversial Chilean astronomer” . The Third . December 20, 2018 . Retrieved on 2019 November 21 .



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