Thursday, 17 July 2014

Cono de Arita in Argentina

Near the south border of Salar de Arizaro, the 6th largest salt flat on earth and the 2nd largest in Argentina, 70 kilometers from the village of Tolar Grande, lies a strange volcanic pyramid. An almost faultless cone, it rises suddenly in the middle of the salt pan. This is Cono de Arita and it looms splendidly 122 meters above the Salar. Its name comes from the Aymara language where Arita means “Sharp”. In the early 20th century it was supposed that such a perfect cone could only have been built by man. However Cono de Arita is natural and assumed to be a minor volcano which lacked strength to burst through the curst and so never threw lava or developed a crater. The entire thing around the cone is black salt brought to the surface by ancient magma flows underground. As per archaeological remains found in the cone, the place was a ceremonial center earlier to the arrival of the Incas.