Mendoza River

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Mendoza River

The Mendoza River is a river in the province of Mendoza, Argentina.[1] It is formed in the Andes range between the Aconcagua and the Tupungato, by the confluence of the Vacas, the Cuevas and the Tupungato Rivers, the last being its major tributary.

The upper valley of the Mendoza begins at around 2,600 m amsl, and it is U-shaped, of glacial origin. The river reaches Uspallata, then crosses the Precordillera through the Potrerillos Valley, flows along the Cacheuta Canyon and reaches the plain. It forms an arc and turns northeast, finally emptying into the Bañados de Guanacache, which join the San Juan River, part of the system of the Desaguadero River.

The river has a mean flow of 50 m³/s, and supplies water for the main oasis in the otherwise arid province. Its course through Potrerillos, at about 1,350 m amsl, features rapids, which are employed for rafting (level III–IV in the International Scale of River Difficulty during the summer). In Potrerillos the river is also dammed, forming a reservoir, which feeds a hydroelectric power station.

The Cacheuta Spa and the Potrerillos Dam are tourist destinations along the river.

Mendoza River irrigates the Maipú and Lujan vineyards, located in Mendoza piedmont, at 30° south latitude. This region hosts 17% of the Mendoza vineyards, and about 360 wineries.[2]