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Colored Mountains of Vinicunca

A cache by Elcaballero Send Message to Owner Message this owner
Hidden : 01/19/2017
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Size: Size: other (other)

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Geocache Description:

Vinicunca near Cusco is famous for its colorful mountains. High altitude and a fairly long hike are some of the challenges you have to pass to reach this site but a unique landscape makes it all worth it.

Vinicunca, cerca de Cusco es famoso por sus montañas coloradas. La altitud y un camino largo y agotando proporcionan un desafío, lo cual es necesario para lograr esta cache.

Vinicunca or the colored mountains are located about 80 km southeast of Cusco near the mountain of Ausangate (6348m) which is also the fourth highest mountain in Peru. The elevation of the viewpoint to where most trips will lead you is 5040m. The area is part of the South American Andes which are formed by subduction of the Nazca plate underneath the South American plate. This initiated mountain building and uplift of the mountain range.[1]

Vinicunca is situated in the Cordillera Vilcanota ("Willkanuta - house of the sun"), a mountain range located in Peru southeast of Cusco, on the boundary between the regions of Cusco and Puno.[3]

The regional geology is largely represented by older pre-Cambrian, metamorphic schists and quartzites, which are overlain by Ordovician slates. Upper paleozoic brown-red shales and sandstones occur in the area of Urcos.[2]

The reason we see the rainbow coloration in the stratigraphic layers of Vinicunca is due to weathering and mineralogy. The coloration is due to different environmental conditions and mineralogy when the sediment was originally deposited and subsequently diagenetically altered.[1]

Red coloration of sedimentary layers often indicates iron oxide rust as a trace mineral. Introduction of goethite or oxidized limonite will introduce brownish coloration to sandstones. The bright yellow coloration could be due to iron sulphide as trace minerals. The varying shades of green color depend on chlorite in different diagenetic states and concentrations.[1]


1. (Q1) Describe which geologic phenomenon you see on the mountain west of the parking area.

2. (Q2) Estimate the angle of the geological layers to your right (looking up).

3. (Q3) As you are not allowed to enter the actual colored mountain, here is a similar geologic formation. Estimate the average grain size of the multicolored layers.

4. (V1) (Optional) Take a photograph of you and your GPS at the given coordinates at the peak of the viewpoint.

Send me the answers and log your find. If there are some issues I shall send you a message. Enjoy your trip!


Vinicunca o las montañas coloradas se encuentran 80 km al sureste de Cusco cerca del Ausangate (6248 m), lo cual es la montaña cuarta más grande de Perú. La altitud del mirador donde ustedes se van a dirigir es de 5040 metros. La area se constituye de parte de los Andes Suramericanos los cuales se formaban por un proceso de subducción de la placa de Nasca bajo la placa Suramericana {ilustración 2}. Eso iniciaba la construcción y la elevación de la cadena montañosa.{1}

Las montañas coloradas se encuentran en la Cordillera Vilcanota („Willkanuta - casa del sol“), una cadena montañosa situada en Peru also sureste de Cusco, en la frontera entre las provincias de Cusco y Puno. {3}

La geología regional se constituye de esquistos y quartzites precámbricos metamórficos, superpuesto por pizarras del Ordovicio. En la area de Uros se encuentran esquistos y areniscos marrones-rojos.{2}

La razón por la coloración en los estratos como un arco iris se explica por erosión y mineralogía. La coloración existe por varias condiciones ambientales y por mineralogía cuando el sedimento se depositaba y luego se transformaba diageneticamente.{1}

Coloración roja de los estratos sedimentarios frecuentemente es derivado de trazas de oxido de hierro. Introducción de goethite o limonite oxidado puede causar coloración marrón en areniscos. La coloración amarilla brillante puede derivar de hierro sulfúrico. Finalmente los varios tonos verdes dependen de chlorite en varios estados diagenéticos y concentraciones.{1}


1 (Q1) Describe cual fenómeno geológico se ve en la montaña al oeste del parqueo.

2 (Q2) Estima el ángulo de los estratos a la derecha (mirando arriba)

3 (Q3) Como ustedes no están permitidos de entrar a la montaña colorada, aquí se encuentra un formación geológica similar. Estima el tamaño medio de los granos de los estratos multicolores.

4 (V1) (Opcional) Toman una foto de ustedes con su GPS en las coordenadas finales encima del cumbre.

Me manden sus respuestas y ustedes pueden escribir su log inmediatamente. Si hayan errores, me voy a dirigir a ustedes. Feliz viaje!


[1] Victor Oppenheim: Geological Reconnaissance in Southeastern Peru. (1946)


[3] Radio San Gabriel, "Instituto Radiofonico de Promoción Aymara" (IRPA) 1993, Republicado por Instituto de las Lenguas y Literaturas Andinas-Amazónicas (ILLLA-A) 2011, Transcripción del Vocabulario de la Lengua Aymara, P. Ludovico Bertonio 1612 (Spanish-Aymara-Aymara-Spanish dictionary)

[4] Picture (2): Yahoo answers.

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