While not the easiest destination to reach, Argentina's Valley of the Moon is completely unlike any other landscape on earth... However, it does match a landscape that's not on earth. With eerily similar features as that of the moon, this valley derives its name and its formations from the same rock that flys around the earth's orbit. For those planning a trip to Argentina, this is definitely somewhere to explore.

Valley of the Moon can be found in Ischigualasto National Park and everything, even down to its pale sand, is otherworldly. The atmosphere of this area of the park is even quiet and still, resembling, even more, something that one would find on the moon's surface before they found it on earth. Even the rocks in the part of the park are slightly unusual and to make things even more interesting, there's a tall, red rock formation not far from this landscape that resembles Mars.


So what's the real story with this unearthly landscape, and is it actually a replica of a world unknown? Not quite, but it does have some unusual aspects.

Even The Rocks Are Moon-Like

The formation of the Valley of the Moon, also called the "Painted Valley", was due to an event that was actually quite sudden and tragic. The desert that lies there now was once a lake surrounded by lush greenery and many animals until a torrential rainstorm flooded the lake and its surrounding area.

This was the perfect storm for destruction, as a mudslide is responsible for burying everything in its path, including all the plant and animal life that once called this region home. Once the mud dried, what was left behind is the park region we now know as Valley of the Moon, and anything beneath our feet has been perfectly preserved under layers and layers of dried mud.

Formations Seem To Defy Gravity

The interesting thing about Ischigualasto National Park is its many layers. Since the park dates back millions of years, it has revealed to researchers that it also serves as somewhat of a time capsule.

As the land itself has been subject to quakes and movements, various, new things have been unearthed, such as geological clues and remnants from a time period we know not much about.

What visitors can see as they walk through the park are structures that seem to be held up by some unseen force, similar to what one would see in a canyon or gorge. These tall columns remain today thanks to the lack of precipitation and human interference.

Fossils Were Found Here

Perhaps one of the greatest discoveries in this moon-like setting is the discovery of fossils. The plants and animals that were buried by the early mudslide were unearthed by plate movements.

As the ground shifts and changes position, scientists are able to dig a little deeper into the things that are being unearthed, slowly but surely. It's not just fossils which have surfaced, though - rocks from various time periods, dating up to 200 million years - have also emerged.

Related: 19 Ancient Sites Older Than Stonehenge (Worth Planning Your Next Trip Around)

Guided Tours Are Necessary To See This Strange Park

While many parks can be walked on their own, Ischigualasto National Park requires a guided tour to see. Visitors can check in on their own but will need to ride in the tour shuttle to see the park in its entirety. For those who want a more personal tour, they have the option to hire a private tour guide with a private shuttle for the day.

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