Bolsón de Fiambalá - Argentina
Bolsón de Fiambalá. Bolsón de Fiambalá.

NEAREST CITY = Tinogasta

Since the beginning of the 20th century it was known that the dunes of the Bolsón de Fiambalá (Fiambalá Basin) are among the highest in the world. Geologist Doctor Alfred Stelzner called them "Sandgletscher" or "sand glaciers" estimating their height at about 800 meters (2400 ft.) However a recent expedition led by Federico B. Kirbus from Buenos Aires thanks to the OZI Explorer, showed that the heighest "médano" or dune reaches from 1615 meters at the base to about 2845 meters (equal to a effective height of circa 1230 meters, perhaps more).

Some 60 kilometers North of the small town of Tinogasta in Catamarca province, the Bolsón de (Bowl of) Fiambalá forms a semicircular valley covered over and over with sand, and lined by some of the highest sand dunes one may find anywhere. To the East of the small hamlet of Medanitos (which incidentally means "small dunes") three large dunes rise to such a height that they overpass the crest of the mountain range to reach into the neighbouring valley. From the bottom of the Bolson de Fiambalá we now measured the following altitude differences: Dune C, the situated most toward the North: Base 1735 m - Top 2219 m Dune B, the one in the middle: Base 1695 m - Top 1421 m Dune A. the southern most: Base 1615 m - Top 2845 m. The altitude difference for the latter one from bottom to top gives as a result 1230 meters. In the nearby Taton village, an incipient sand surfing practice has lately started to build up, although until now no sophisticated sandboards are used for sliding down. For the time being, lack of trasportation mediums or vehicles is the main problem for skiing on the slopes of the giant dunes. The geographic position of the great dune at its base is: 27º 32' S and 67º 34' W.

submitted by : Federico B. Kirbus