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Andes in North Chile - Exploring Volcano Land
Crossing from Chile to Brazil

2nd April 2002 - 22.12 GMT

Coast to Coast


Paso de Jama

We waited with our stuff at the border post in San Pedro and the bus from Calama arrived almost in time. The ride was, as expected, fantastic. Lagoons, volcanoes and tarmac until the border post with Argentina, here some paper work and then on a rather bad dirt track. The landscape changed as we descended; a salt lake with octagonal crystals and the descent at night of the breath taking Cuesta de Lipan, which scared the shit out of us.

Cuesta Lipan

Cuesta Lipan

We arrived in Salta around 22:30, without a single peso and very few US-$. And we were not willing to spent a single dime on a room. We planned to get another bus and spent the night on the road, but there were only buses the next morning. Passengers were leaving the platform and suspicious people were closing in to spent the night at the bus station or do even worse.
After some more examination of the surroundings I found a gas station with a 24 hours convenience store. That was the place to be, we moved over with our stuff and checked in into the "Shell-Hotel".
So we spent the night writing dairy, eating, watching TV and sleeping at the table.
Morning came, we walked into the city, ate some more, got cash from the ATM and then got on the bus to the cataracts of Iguazu.

Foz de Iguaçu

We stayed on the argentinean side for 2 or 3 nights. It's definitely more expensive and all the closed shops were depressing, but I was afraid of the crime, we might face on the brazilian side.
And what about the cataracts ? Yes, they are amazing. Believe everything you hear about them. Spend there 2 or 3 days and make sure, you'll see both sides.

And what else ?

Not much. We took a bus to Ros' hometown Campinas and spent there some time with their family. Later on our way to São Paulo airport we had to cross the "city". Man, am I lucky that I don't live there.

Additional info

You can't enter the mine without invitation. There are fences, hi-tech security systems and armed guards. You have to know somebody in the inside.

Around Aucanquilcha
Perfect for the bike. Nice dirt track, no problem with orientation. Polan is abandoned, there is no supply at all in the area.

There are 2 or 3 buses a week from/to Calama. These buses depends on the train from Uyuni, Bolivia. Normally, you should get lucky and get a ride on a jeep or truck after some hours of waiting, but don't depend on it. Ollague has one place to eat. They also offer one basic room.

San Pedro de Atacama
Internet, travel agencies, grocery stores, restaurants, bicycle rent, horse riding, ice cream, robbery on camping grounds. In my opinion San Pedro is way too touristic, but a fine place to get your logistics in place and to have a shower.




- I

Structure & Evolution of Aucanquilcha

Located wholly within N. Chile,Aucanquilcha volcano is the site of the world's highest mine (sulphur) and permanent human habitation (Figure 17.1 and 17.3). Topographically, it forms a ridge extending about 10 km in an E-W direction, made up of several distinct cones and craters. It is one of the largest volcanic edifices in N. Chile. A well preserved débris flow (DF) is conspicuous on TM images (Francis & Wells, 1988), but its source region on the volcano is obscured because its proximal portions are largely obscured by extensive moraines (M). This indicates an age in excess of 10,000 yr for the avalanche. During glacial times, the ice cap on the volcano was extremely extensive (~45 km2), since moraines can be traced continuously over the high plateau south of the main ridge, reaching down to approximately 4, 600 m. Although the summit region is obscured by snow and ice on the TM image, a few post-glacial lava flows (LF) are apparent on the upper flanks. Sulphur is currently mined in the summit region of the edifice, which is extensively altered by fumarolic activity (Figure 17.2). Feeble fumarolic activity is encountered at the present day within pits and shafts worked for sulphur. Clark (1970) reported an unsual assemblage of native sulphur-covellite "Cu5.5x FexS6.5" in the fumarolic sulphur deposits. There are no records of historic eruptions. Extrusion of lava from a summit vent appears to have been the most recent activity. Current Activity Feeble fumarolic activity persists to the present day and is most obvious within shallow sulphur mine workings


map http://www.collahuasi.cl/comp1_1.html

aucan volcano.indstate.edu/ cvz/aucaimg.html