Tag Archives: argentina

The Trip to Salta (part 1): the backstory

(Almost ready with the first round of pictures and videos.)
Because of the ashes, the airport in Bariloche of course was still closed. So, we needed to take a bus, 16 h overnight to Mendoza and then fly from there. Fortunately, Argentina buses are really nice – reclining seats (“semi-cama”), movies, meals, wine, even bingo. We had a decent sleep on the bus and then flew (2.5 h) to Salta. We were met by our guide Mario (but not by our luggage, which took a special side trip to Buenos Aires and came later…) and spent the first night in the Selva Montana Lodge in the pleasant small town of San Lorenzo. Early the next morning we set off for El Rey National Park, about 3-4 h driving. We were there two days (full report coming soon). Then we headed back to Salta and met microbiologist Maria Farias, her husband Aldo, a big gang from her lab, and a film crew. We then headed up to “the puna”, to Tolar Grande, about 12 h driving through spectacular scenery (another full report on this day will come later). After a night at Tolar Grande, we headed even further into the puna, to the laguna at Socompa, reaching 4700 m above sea level along the way. (another full report on this day will come later). We spent that night at Tolar Grande again and then returned to Salta. We were three more days there, bird-watching and touring the city. Then, back to Mendoza on the plane and then the 16 h bus (“full cama” seats this time!) to Bariloche. A great trip as you will see as I get the stuff posted.

Hotel Selva Montana in San Lorenzo.


Back from Salta! Buried under Gigabytes of movies and pictures.

Our 10-d trip to Salta was so incredible and mind-bending that it’s taking a long time to get caught up! But watch for an update with the first installment (about El Rey National Park) soon.

Ticks AND Tapirs AND Toucans!

Mendoza 3: Finally, the wine.

After Aconcagua, we made it back to Mendoza where we spent two nights in a nice B&B.  Of course, Mendoza is famous for its wine and especially its Malbec terroir.  So, we headed out to a little town nearby called Maipu where we rented some bikes.  The weather was fantastic and we had a great day riding to various bodegas and sampling el vino.  It was 90% charming – the 10% uncharming part was riding the bikes on some sections of highway way too close to passing trucks.  At the last winery we visited, our guide was a young woman who had lived in Mesa (AZ) for several years.  El mundo chico, as they say.  Full set of Mendoza pics HERE.  (Bonus pics from earlier trip to El Bolson here.)

Rigorous scientific sampling of Mendoza productivity.

Bariloche at its best!

Some consider Bariloche to be one of the most beautiful places on Earth.  Here’s a picture to support that claim.  The wind was blowing all the Puyehue ash in a different direction and so the day was PERFECT.  The shot is taken from the top of Cerro Llao Llao, looking southwest.  This nice hike is about a 20 min drive from our house.


After a long drive up the legendary “Quarenta” (Route 40) we made it to Mendoza. More later but here’s a payoff picture.

Here’s a link to a GIGAPAN image I took:  LINK

First trip to the volcano zone

On Friday we went to the lakes to the northwest, closer to the Puyahue eruption and near the devastated town of Villa la Angostura.  (full set of pictures at: LINK)   The crew consisted of me, Monica, Esteban Balseiro, and postdoc Marcela Bastidas.  The picture below is from Lake Espejo Grande, and shows the dock and “beach”.  Obviously, a lot of pumice has accumulated here, on the downwind side.  The turquoise color of the water is also a sign of the volcano – normally the lake is dark blue and super-transparent.  Along with many other lakes, it now has the turquoise cloudiness like a lake receiving glacial flour.  But the cloudiness is from the suspended ash.  Despite a steady rain, we took pumice samples here and in an arm of Lake Nahuel Huapi, as well as water samples in a shallow lake called Lago Pire.

Pumice accumulated at the downwind end of Lago Espejo Grande, ~20 km from the Puyahue Volcano

Giant floating pumice islands – let’s go!

Posted by Jim:  Here’s a very fresh satellite image of the area around Bariloche, Argentina, where I will be on sabbatical leave starting 1 Sept.  To the northwest you can see the plume from the eruption of the Puyehue volcano in Chile, which is still ongoing.  The big blue lake is Lake Nahuel Huapi (Bariloche is on its shores, to the southeast).  Most notable are the gray swirls and blotches.  These are gigantic floating islands of pumice.    Full picture is here.

Gray rafts of floating pumice in Lake Nahuel Huapi. The Puyahue volcano is at upper left.

The pumice was deposited during the initial eruption a month ago and it has been washing ashore ever since (see Esteban Balseiro’s video).  Winter is descending in Bariloche now and we are planning a series of studies of the effects of the eruption on nutrient cycling and plankton communities in Nahuel Huapi and beyond.    Now if they would just reopen the Bariloche airport!