Quebrada De Humahuaca

The Colors of Quebrada de Humahuaca

Jujuy Province


May 23, 2012


Just outside the town of Purmamarca, the Secretary of Tourism and Culture of Jujuy Province posted a display of large photographs and geological information.

Here is the English translation:

What we commonly call the Seven Colors Mountain is the outcropping of some rocks in different times, the result of the interaction of huge forces in the terrestrial cortex and its erosive processes which belong to the region called Easter Mountain Range.  The variety of colors is the product of the accumulation of sediments in the nautical and continental watersheds for some 600 million years.

Grey, dark green and violet like colors.  They belong to the maritime sedimentary rocks.  They are the oldest found in the Province of Jujuy and belong to the Precambrian Eocambrian period (600 million years).

Purple, dark pink and whitish colors.   They also come from rocks of maritime origin.  They are quartzite sandstones from the Superior Cambrian Period (540 million years).

Light grey to yellowish.  They belong to outcroppings of clayish sandstones and shale from the Ordovician Period (505 million years).

Red colors.  They belong to rocks of the Cretaceous Period (144 – 65 million years) with the presence of gravel (conglomerated) and sandstone.

Reddish colors going to light pinks.  They belong to more recent clay and sandstones from the Tertiary Period (starting at 65 million years ago to 25 million years).

The display panels of geological information face the Seven Color Mountain.  But the panels could have been posted anywhere along Highway 9 between Purmamarca and Humahuaca. 

This area is called Quebrada de Humahuaca – the Humahuaca Ravine.

The folds, the shapes, the colors: the ravine along the Río Grande is one of the most splendid geological formations I have ever seen.

Please see for yourself.

Any geologists in the crowd?


Cenozoic Jan

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