Fossil landscapes in Argentina
From Patagonia to Cuyo, the most beautiful paleontological expeditions in natural size.
Petrified forests, National Monument, Jaramillo (Santa Cruz)
The petrified forest, an amazing trace from the geologic times situated at 150 km west from Puerto Deseado in Santa Cruz province, was declared National Natural Monument. 150 million years ago, in the Jurassic period, the weather in the region was mild, humid and warm, with gigantic pine forests. At the beginning of the Cretaceous, volcano eruptions and the formation of the Andes mountain range buried part of the Patagonia under tons of ashes and lava. Some forests were petrified, and became fossilized. Earth erosion, rains and winds in the region, that turned to be arid, made them exposed to the daylight. Vegetation started to grow again in the middle of these fossilized trees and fauna is now abundant: guanacos, ñandues, pumas, eagles, falcons, etc. Visitors may go through a 2 km path to see this fossilized landscape and the araucarias of 150 million years that are up to 35 meters tall and have 3 meters diameter. It is the only petrified forest with original fossilized trees that were not carried by rivers or glaciers.
Sarmiento petrified forest (Chubut)
Like the petrified forests in Santa Cruz, José Ormachea petrified forest, near Sarmiento (Chubut), left fossilized trunks at sight, buried under the volcano ash layers 65 million years ago. However, this forest was taken to this place, and the trees were petrified in this desert at 100 km west from Comodoro Rivadavia after being carried by the gigantic currents. Besides the trunks, visitors may also see traces of leaves, roots and seeds buried in the ground.
Bois pétrifié La Leona (Santa Cruz)
Near the Viedma Lake (Santa Cruz) and El Calafate, an earth depression caused tree fossils to emerge. The trees were carried by the rivers and glaciers 150 million years ago. Also, in this completely arid rock tree landscape, probably prehistoric animal bones were discovered.
Geoparque Bryn Gwyn, Gaiman (Chubut)
Near the Gaiman city and the paleontology museum in Trelew, the Geoparque Bryn Gwyn, which is a result of many years of excavation, shows pre-historic animal fossils in a unique outdoor exhibition. The paleontological circuit goes through the traces of bees’ nests of 38 million years, a marsupial that disappeared 25 million years ago, and dolphins and whales fossils that recalls the time when the sea covered that area.
Ischigualasto Park (San Juan)
Ischigualasto park, known as Valle de la Luna, for the lack of vegetation, its relief and the grey color of its soil, offers the view of strange mineral figures dating back to 180 to 230 million years. Ischigualasto is the only place in the world where the whole Triassic period (245 to 208 million years) may be perfectly differentiated and where different fossilized animals may be found: 25 species are in its catalogue, among them: dinosaurs, reptiles, rhynchosaurs, etc. The fossils are exhibited in the museum.
Talampaya Park (La Rioja)
The Talampaya National Park (La Rioja) is one of the most interesting places in the history of vertebrates’ evolution: the Triassic period (245-208 million years). The amazing geological formations created by earth erosion and the canyon of 160 m deep preserve an exceptional patrimony: fossils, cave-type art, and archeological remains of Pre-Columbian cultures of 2,500 years. The Lagosuchustalampayensis lived in this region 250 million years ago, at the beginning of the Triassic, being one of the first dinosaurs in the world.