Facts and Data

Official Unesco Page
Ischigualasto Formation, Argentina (University of California Museum of Paleontology, Berkeley)
Parque Nacional Talampaya (Provincia de la Rioja)

Basis Data:
Unesco World heritage since: 2000
Size of heritage: 275,369 ha

Longitude: -68,000°
Latitude: -30,000°


These two contiguous parks, extending over 275,300 ha in the desert region on the western border of the Sierra Pampeanas of central Argentina, contain the most complete continental fossil record known from the Triassic Period (245-208 million years ago). Six geological formations in the parks contain fossils of a wide range of ancestors of mammals, dinosaurs and plants revealing the evolution of vertebrates and the nature of palaeo-environments in the Triassic Period.

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Ischigualasto / Talampaya Natural Parks: A UNESCO World Heritage Site in Argentina

The Ischigualasto / Talampaya Natural Parks, located in the provinces of San Juan and La Rioja in Argentina, are two distinct but interconnected protected areas that have been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site since 2000. These parks are renowned for their exceptional geological and paleontological significance, offering a glimpse into the Earth's history and the evolution of life.


The history of Ischigualasto / Talampaya Natural Parks dates back millions of years. The region was once a vast floodplain, and over time, the forces of nature sculpted the landscape into a unique and captivating terrain. The parks are home to a wealth of fossils, including the remains of early dinosaurs, reptiles, and mammals, providing invaluable insights into the Triassic period.

Scientific exploration of the area began in the early 20th century, with numerous paleontological expeditions unearthing remarkable discoveries. The most famous of these is the "Sanjuansaurus gordilloi," a dinosaur species found exclusively in the Ischigualasto Formation. These findings have contributed significantly to our understanding of the Earth's ancient ecosystems and the evolution of vertebrates.

Current State

Today, Ischigualasto / Talampaya Natural Parks are meticulously preserved and managed to protect their geological and paleontological treasures. The parks cover a combined area of approximately 275,369 hectares, ensuring the conservation of their unique ecosystems and promoting scientific research and education.

Visitors to the parks can explore the stunning landscapes and witness the geological wonders that have been shaped over millions of years. The Ischigualasto Park, also known as the "Valley of the Moon," features a surreal desert-like environment with colorful rock formations, deep canyons, and towering cliffs. The Talampaya Park, on the other hand, showcases impressive red sandstone formations, ancient petroglyphs, and a diverse array of flora and fauna.

Guided tours are available in both parks, allowing visitors to learn about the geological processes that shaped the area and the fascinating paleontological discoveries made within its boundaries. The parks' visitor centers provide educational exhibits and information about the region's natural and cultural heritage.

Efforts are continuously made to ensure the sustainable management of Ischigualasto / Talampaya Natural Parks. Conservation programs focus on preserving the parks' biodiversity, protecting endangered species, and promoting sustainable tourism practices. The parks also serve as important research sites for scientists studying the Earth's history and the evolution of life.

Ischigualasto / Talampaya Natural Parks stand as a testament to the Earth's ancient past and the importance of preserving our natural heritage. Their UNESCO World Heritage status recognizes their outstanding universal value and serves as a reminder of the need to protect and appreciate the wonders of our planet.