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the Degree Confluence Project
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Argentina : Córdoba

4.8 km (3.0 miles) E of El Tostado, Córdoba, Argentina
Approx. altitude: 99 m (324 ft)
([?] maps: Google MapQuest Multimap world confnav)
Antipode: 31°N 117°E

Accuracy: 5 m (16 ft)
Click on any of the images for the full-sized picture.

#2: The Cathedral at Villa Concepción del Tío #3: the interior of the Cathedral of Villa Concepción del Tío #4: a small girl is aware of the dirt road towards South #5: the bridge over the arroyo South of La Para #6: the dirt road leads over an arroyo #7: GPS #8: view to the East #9: a tall thistle growing at the confluence #10: Laguna Mar Chiquita

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  31°S 63°W (visit #1)  

#1: view to the South

(visited by Captain Peter and Werner Furlan)

21-Oct-2003 -- After having spent the night at Las Varillas we continued on the provincial road nr. 3 towards North. Passing the small settlement of Villa Concepción del Tío we were extremely surprised to see a marvelous cathedral with a wonderful interior. Then we continued towards North, and finally we bent left into the provincial road nr. 17 until the small town of La Para, which lies exactly on 63°00' W and North of the confluence. According to our IGM-map (Instituto Geográfico Militar) there was supposed to be a small road, numbered 52, straight in direction South. But on our normal road maps of 1:2,000,000 scale it was not entered. However, a small girl, whom we asked for, confirmed its existence. We subsequently found this dirt road without difficulty. Exactly as charted, a bridge, built in 1931, lead over an arroyo, a small river, and finally we reached the confluence, lying about 250 metres East of the road in an already harvested maize field and a 200 metres North of a few huts and a shed under construction for storing agricultural machinery.

All views look rather similar. We attach the view to the East. The vegetation there are mainly thistles, some of them reaching a remarkable height.

This confluence lies close to a huge salt lake, the Laguna Mar Chiquita.

This lake is the end of a closed basin with no outlet. During the 1972-1987 period Mar Chiquita underwent considerable hydrological changes resulting from a 9 m increase in water level. The resulting decrease in salinity shifted the lake's limnology from a hypersaline stage to a brackish one.

Here are a few parameters, compared between 1972 and 1987:

Maximum E-W extension:1972:76 km,1987:140 km
Maximum N-S extension:1972:30 km,1987:100 km
Volume:1972:0.15 km³,1987:2,39 km³
Surface area:1972:100 km²,1987:7,000 km²
Maximum depth:1972:1 meter,1987:9.3 meters
Salinity:1972:275 grams/liter,1987:29 grams/liter

Unfortunately, there is still little information available on the effect of such changes on the lake's ecology. A noticeable alteration was the disappearance of the crustacean Artemia sp. as a dominant species in the zooplankton. Furthermore, around 1983, the lake was invaded by the Argentine silverside fish, known locally as "pejerrey" (Basilichthys bonariensis), in coincidence with salinity concentrations under 50 g/l.

For overnight we choose the town of Miramar [link pic10marchiquita, text: Miramar was subject to heavy inundation], recommended by various ravel guides as a major tourist resort. During the rampant rise of the water level of Laguna Mar Chiquita, about half of the town has disappeared. Miramar seems to be the "Venice of Argentina". However, we found a nice room in the Hotel "Marchetti", directly on the pittoresque actual shoreline.

Local people told us that the water level remained fairly steady during the last years. Recently it even had decreased for a few centimeters.


Information about the Laguna Mar Chiquita obtained from the website "Living Lakes" of the "Centro de Zoologia aplicada Argentina", Universidad Nacional de Córdoba
www.efn.uncor.edu/dep/cza/index.htm


 All pictures
#1: view to the South
#2: The Cathedral at Villa Concepción del Tío
#3: the interior of the Cathedral of Villa Concepción del Tío
#4: a small girl is aware of the dirt road towards South
#5: the bridge over the arroyo South of La Para
#6: the dirt road leads over an arroyo
#7: GPS
#8: view to the East
#9: a tall thistle growing at the confluence
#10: Laguna Mar Chiquita
ALL: All pictures on one page (broadband access recommended)