Ischigualasto National Park
Ischigualasto Park is a protected area located in the northwestern part of Argentina, in the small provincial town of San Juan. This park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and if its name is translated into the local Indian language, it means “Valley of the Moon”, and is often popularly called “The Place where the Moon rests.”
Ischigualasto Provincial Park covers an area of 600 km2. It rises 1300 m above sea level. The park is characterized by desert vegetation, so many cacti and low-growing trees grow on its territory. Due to arid climatic conditions, rains in the valley occur mainly in the summer.
But the territory of the Moon Valley was not always dry. It is known that 200 million years ago, there was a river here that dried up due to climate change. Having visited the lunar valley, it is impossible not to be surprised by the bizarreness of its relief. During sunset, the multiple broken straight lines and angles of the Ischigualasto landscape acquire extraordinary beauty, making the park resemble the lunar surface.
The area where there are many unusual stone blocks in the shape of balls deserves special attention. This area is called the "Ball Playground". All balls have a diameter from 50 cm to 70 cm, but the most interesting thing is that even scientists cannot explain the origin of these stone formations. In addition, the birth of new balls has been repeatedly observed here, while the old ones are destroyed over time. There is a theory that the origin of the balls is related to soil depths. It is believed that in some way still unknown to science, they are overgrown with rock, which over time acquires a solid state. But there is still no answer to what exactly the rock can stick to and how the balls end up in the valley.
During archaeological excavations, rock inscriptions, drawings and fossilized skeletons of dinosaurs that inhabited this area millions of years ago were found in the valley. At the same time, paleontologists made a statement that some of the varieties of dinosaurs existed exclusively here. It was in Ischigualasto that the remains of a raptor, the size of which was 1 meter, were once found. In total, 50 different types of reptile remains were found in the valley.
A museum has been created in the Moon Valley, by visiting which tourists can see models of many dinosaurs. But visiting it is possible only during a tourist excursion and accompanied by a local guide. Many who have visited Ischigualasto Park recommend going to see its beauty during the full moon. It is at this moment that you can see all its beauty and feel like a real astronaut taking a walk on the Moon.