Virtual Altiplano
3735 m

After two days of running around lava flows, we decided to go for a drive. Our destination was a fall deposit between the Salar de Ascotan and the Salar de Carcote, but we also wanted to go to get a glimpse of the volcanoes Ollagüe and Aucanquilcha.

The Salar is home to several Boron and Lithium mines as well as the first wildlife we had seen since leaving Antofagasta! Both Flamingos and Vicuna call the Salar home, drinking from the water that remains in the trapped lakes. These lakes also contain an endangered and very rare species of fish known as Orestias ascotanensis.

Astronauts on board the International Space Station took this picture of the Salar de Ascotan in October 2007. (Image Science and Analysis Laboratory, NASA-Johnson Space Center. "The Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth.")

Additional Sources

  • Jara, F. et al. 1995. Reproduction in Captivity of the Endangered Killifish Orestias ascotanensis (Teleostei: Cyprinodontidae). Copeia, Vol. 1995, No. 1 (Feb. 15, 1995), pp. 226-228
  • Johnson, A.W., Behn, F. and Millie, W. The South American Flamingos. The Condor, Vol. 60, No. 5 (Sep. - Oct., 1958), pp. 289-299