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Dinosaur trails by the Flower of the dessert PICA.

By Ale Mcalister

Pica, a small oasis in the north desert, poetically called the Flower in the Sand, is located 114 kms from Iquique going through the Inca trail. The place where the first Spanish Expeditions settled in Chile leaded by Diego de Almagro and different Pre-Columbian cultures first existed.

Anthropologists and Authorities wish to make Chacarilla 60kms southeast of Pica, as a place of world-wide importance for the dinosaur study and archeology. By the end of the 50's, during the first oil prospection in Chile developed by the ENAP (Chilean National Oil Company) North American geologists Dingman and Galli were in this place in 1962 and made the first investigation.

Thanks to this obtained data, paleontology of the University of Yale in the United States I determine that the footsteps corresponded to three great groups of dinosaurs: Sauropods, Theropods, Stegosaurs between others. There were no developed studies since 37 years.

The site remained undiscovered with a small amount of visitors until the summer of 1999 when a group of specialists among them geologists and biologists were two weeks in field to measure and to classify the big amount of footsteps or ichnites as the scientists denominate and call the fossilized tracks, determining that these dinosaurs moved in herds.

One hundred million years the Great North of Chile was an extensive jungle territory, with great rivers that ended at a near sea. The continents still were in formation process for that reason South America was united to Africa and the dinosaurs dominated the territory.

These great prehistoric animals, walked next to the water channels and left their footsteps marked in the mud. For this reason, today, on the XXI century, the humans could find the tracks fossilized of the extinct dinosaurs, that existed by 65 million years ago.

To the Southeastern, 40 kilometers of the commune of Pica it is possible to find these tracks in the hills that are part of the mountain stream of Chacarilla. There are at least five officially recognized sites and each one of them counts with footsteps of at least seven different species.

Some of these tracks has a dimension of 75 centimeters in length and would correspond to dinosaur that stood itself with four legs and that would have been of a bigger size than the Giganotosaurus Carolini, found a few years ago at the Argentinean Patagonia, considered as one of the biggest dinosaurs of the world, with bigger dimensions than the well-known carnivorous Rex Tyrannosaur.

It is recommended to visit nearby the mountain streams where you can admire the tracks from a distance between noon and 3pm in the afternoon because the light can reflect the shade and mark the depth and silhouettes of the footsteps.

Attractive places of Pica: Salar de Copsa, where there are 3 varieties of flamencos, The Balneario de la Cocha de Resbaladero de Pica, which are natural thermal water hot springs slopes, The main Square and Church of Pica remaining from the XVI century, the Gólgota del Reencuentro, a religious sanctuary, ideal for meditation.

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  • 30, 1899, 00:00

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