November 3, 2013

0855 ARGENTINA (San Juan) - Ischigualasto Natural Park (UNESCO WHS)

Part of the western border of the Central Sierras, that rise sharply from the surrounding pampa region of Northwest Argentina, Ischigualasto Natural Park is a desert area, formed by layers of continental sediments deposited by rivers, lakes and swamps over the entire Triassic period (245-208 million years ago). It is the only place in the world where nearly all of the Triassic is represented in an undisturbed sequence of rock deposits. The sediments contain fossils of a wide range of plants and animals including the ancestors of mammals and dinosaurs. They constitute the world's most complete continental fossil record known from the Triassic, revealing the evolution of vertebrates as well as the environments they lived in during this period. This is why this park was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, in 2000, together with Talampaya Natural Park.

The park gets its nickname, Valle de la Luna (Valley of the Moon), because of the rugged, otherworldly geological structures that dot the landscape. Some of these rocks are as round and smooth as marbles because of the constant wind that has shaped them through erosion. The main four rock formations in the park are El Gusano (looks like a worm), Cancha de Bochas (rocks shaped as balls), El Hongo (looks like a mushroom), and El Submarino (viewed from a certain angle looks like a submarine - it is in the postcard). Before the Spanish conquest, the area was inhabited by several groups of semi-nomadic hunters and gatherers, so the cultural value of Ischigualasto-Talampaya is also of great significance, even though a detailed study of rock art, artefacts and archaeological sites has only recently begun.

About the stamps
The first two stamps are from Archaeological Artifacts definitives issued in 2000:
• Ceremonial ax - Santa María culture (0.10 ARS)
• Siku - Argentine Northwest (0.25 ARS)
• Vertical loom - Mapuche culture (0.50 ARS)
• Poncho - Pampas (0.60 ARS)
• Funerary mask - Tafi culture (0.75 ARS)
• Basket - Mbayá Indians (1.00 ARS)
• Kultrún - Mapuche culture (2.00 ARS)
• Ceremonial  jaguar mask - Culture Chané (3.25 ARS)
• Funerary urn - Belén culture (5.00 ARS)
• Suri - Puna (9.40 ARS)
• Vessel - Yocavil culture (10.00 ARS)

The following stamp is part of the serie 50th Anniversary of Argentine Federation of Philatelic Entities - Insects, issued on September 21, 2002:
• Green bug - Edessa meditabunda (0.25 ARS)
• Locust - Elaeochlora viridis (0.50 ARS)
• Rose beetle - Chrysodina aurata (0.75 ARS)
• Long horned beetle - Steirastoma breve (1.00 ARS)

The last one, issued in 1976, depict even Ischigualasto Natural Park. 

Ischigualasto Natural Park - Wikipedia
Ischigualasto / Talampaya Natural Parks - UNESCO official website
Ischigualasto - Atlas Obscura

sender: Rubén Silva (direct swap)
sent from ? (Argentina), on 04.10.2013

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