Puente del Inca

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Puente del Inca in July
Antiguas Termas de Puente de Inca

Puente del Inca (Spanish "The Inca's Bridge"), is a natural arch that forms a bridge over the Vacas River, a tributary of the Mendoza River. It is located in Mendoza Province, Argentina, near Las Cuevas.

Puente del Inca is also the name of the nearby hot springs. Scientists speculate[1] that interaction of extreme elements like ice and hot springs was involved in the origin of the formation. They suppose that in ancient times ice covered the river and acted as support for avalanches of snow, dust and rocks. So the dust over the ice over the river would have served as a path for the sulfurous water and petrified the surface, so when the snow melted, the bridge remained by itself.

In March 1835, Charles Darwin visited this natural marvel, and made some drawings of the bridge with great stalactites.

In the early 20th century there was a large thermal resort and spa that used the hot springs to cure certain illnesses (a spa still survives further down the river at Cacheuta). There was a railway station, which is still standing, and tourists arrived by train to the resort. This was one of the last Argentine stations of the Transandine Railway before the train continued into Chile, traveling through a long tunnel under the Andes.

Puente del Inca panorama

The abandoned railway station has been turned into a mountaineering museum (the "Museo del Andinista"), founded by a group of mountain climbers from the Argentine city of Rosario[citation needed] to display the cultural history of the Aconcagua area. The museum is open to the public during the summer and is run by the founding group of friends.[2]

Climate[edit]

Situated at 2,740 m (8,990 ft) above sea level, Puente del Inca has a cold semi-arid climate (BSk, according to the Köppen climate classification), with moderate summers and snowy winters.

Puente del Inca
Climate chart (explanation)
J F M A M J J A S O N D
 
 
2
 
20
6
 
 
2
 
20
6
 
 
5
 
19
4
 
 
11
 
15
1
 
 
89
 
9
−2
 
 
90
 
5
−6
 
 
50
 
5
−5
 
 
38
 
8
−3
 
 
17
 
9
−2
 
 
27
 
11
−1
 
 
9
 
16
3
 
 
2
 
18
5
Average max. and min. temperatures in °C
Precipitation totals in mm
Source: Climate and Temperature Information
Climate data for Puente del Inca
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 30.0
(86)
28.0
(82.4)
25.0
(77)
23.5
(74.3)
21.0
(69.8)
21.0
(69.8)
18.5
(65.3)
17.5
(63.5)
21.0
(69.8)
24.0
(75.2)
25.5
(77.9)
26.0
(78.8)
30.0
(86)
Average high °C (°F) 20.7
(69.3)
19.8
(67.6)
18.0
(64.4)
15.0
(59)
10.2
(50.4)
5.7
(42.3)
4.9
(40.8)
6.1
(43)
9.1
(48.4)
11.5
(52.7)
15.4
(59.7)
18.5
(65.3)
12.9
(55.2)
Daily mean °C (°F) 14.3
(57.7)
13.0
(55.4)
10.9
(51.6)
8.0
(46.4)
4.6
(40.3)
0.8
(33.4)
−0.7
(30.7)
0.6
(33.1)
3.0
(37.4)
5.7
(42.3)
9.7
(49.5)
12.7
(54.9)
6.9
(44.4)
Average low °C (°F) 6.8
(44.2)
5.8
(42.4)
3.3
(37.9)
1.2
(34.2)
−0.9
(30.4)
−3.8
(25.2)
−6.0
(21.2)
−4.7
(23.5)
−2.9
(26.8)
−0.7
(30.7)
2.6
(36.7)
4.8
(40.6)
0.5
(32.9)
Record low °C (°F) −8.7
(16.3)
−10.2
(13.6)
−11.8
(10.8)
−15.0
(5)
−13.7
(7.3)
−10.6
(12.9)
−10.7
(12.7)
−11.5
(11.3)
−12.6
(9.3)
−12.4
(9.7)
−11.7
(10.9)
−9.7
(14.5)
−15.0
(5)
Precipitation mm (inches) 4
(0.16)
2
(0.08)
2
(0.08)
8
(0.31)
55
(2.17)
114
(4.49)
52
(2.05)
33
(1.3)
22
(0.87)
23
(0.91)
4
(0.16)
1
(0.04)
320
(12.6)
Avg. precipitation days 2 2 1 2 7 9 7 6 4 4 2 2 48
Avg. snowy days 0.4 0 0.4 1 3 7 6 5 4 3 2 0.7 32.5
 % humidity 26 26 25 27 37 50 45 45 41 34 26 24 34
Mean monthly sunshine hours 310.0 296.6 279.0 252.0 186.0 144.0 148.8 192.2 222.0 254.2 279.0 294.5 2,858.3
Percent possible sunshine 71 79 73 75 57 48 46 57 62 63 67 67 64
Source #1: Servicio Meteorologico Nacional[3]
Source #2: UNLP (sun, extremes and snow only)[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Geoscience for Andean Communities accessdate=2008-01-16
  2. ^ (Spanish) Climber's Museum[dead link]
  3. ^ "Datos Estadísticos (Período 1971-1980)" (in Spanish). National Meteorological Service of Argentina. Retrieved August 23, 2012. 
  4. ^ "Datos bioclimáticos de 173 localidades argentinas". Atlas Bioclimáticos (in Spanish). Universidad Nacional de La Plata. Retrieved April 8, 2014. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 32°49′S 69°55′W / 32.817°S 69.917°W / -32.817; -69.917