Ischigualasto represents Natural Park and geological formation. It is situated in the province San Juan in Argentina, close to the border with Chile. It is border to another park, the Talampaya National Park which belongs to the same geological formation.
The natural park Ischigualasto has an area surface of 603.7 km2 and the altitude is around 1,300 m above sea level. Park typical vegetation is a desert lands (bushes, cacti and trees) which covers about 20% of area. The climate is very dry. Afternoon there is often southern wind with a speed between 20 and 40 km/h, which is sometimes followed by a zonda wind.
Ischigualasto is famous because includes Late Triassic (Carnian) sediments which are 230 million years old. Among these deposits are some of the oldest remains of dinosaurs. Those are considered as the best in the world by its quality and importance. The fact that this site is the only place in the world where all Triassic sequences are together allows research of switch between dinosaur and the first type of the mammals. The studying of this transition is still in progress.
Land around the Ischigualasto formation is also known as Valley of the Moon, thanks to its sturdy and moony appearance. During the Carnian, this area was volcanically active. The rivers were dominant and seasonal rainfall was strong.
Among the tetrapod fossils in Ischigualasto, the most dominant discoveries are definitely rhynchosaurs and cynodonts. Although discovery consists only 6% of the dinosaurs, they include very important early samples of ornithischians and saurischians (two lineages of dinosaurs).
Ischigualasto became UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000, because of its important part in geological researches and because it can give a lot of answers of evolution during million of years.
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