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Sunday, May 2, 2010

Wind and water have eroded sedimentary rocks in a part of Argentina’s San Juan Province known as Valle de la Luna (Valley of the Moon).

Finally much later, perhaps some ninety million years ago, the movements geologically known as ‘orogenesis andina’, or mountain formation, actually began.

These movements in turn, produced balancing movements, fractures, folds, landslides, and the ascension and descension of ancient crystal blocks, forming the hills that today surround the region and the most recent layers of sediments.

Since the large reptiles had already disappeared in the Holocene era, some 10,000 to 12,000 years ago, the valley was populated by pumas, guanacos, Creole hares, and a new type of animal--the birds. Descendants of the dinosaurs-the most spectacular birds of this valley are the condors and the South American ostrich. On the contrary, of the ‘true reptiles’, only the small lizards and some poisonous snakes (the coral and yarara) remain.

Man arrived here only a few million years ago and decorated the zone with his rock-paintings or petroglyphs and scattered his arrowheads in the area. Bear in mind that the first scientists only appeared in the valley in the second half of the last century whereas, approximately one decade ago, the recording of the last mutation of fauna coincided with the arrival of the first tourists, who came to see this mysterious ‘Valley of the Moon’.

The existing infrastructure consists of nothing more than a small house for the park rangers and an onsite museum. Travelers may, and it is strongly suggested they bring their own provisions, beverages, sunblock, etc. or whatever they feel necessary.. The tour around the park (40 km). Visitors are accompanied by a park ranger in their own vehicle, in a caravan with other cars, taking about four hours. Travelers can find lodgings in the charming village of San Agustin of Valle´ Fertil, or Pataquia, and Villa Union.
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