A simple and educational tour around the cliffs of Gaiman helped us make contact with the famous geological and paleontological formations in Argentinian Patagonia.
Bryn Gwyn, which stands for “white hill” in Welsh, was the reference we had. We chose a sunny afternoon to see the geological park, whose excavations have been designed to be visited on foot.
We followed the road of the farms and then took a detour to the paleontological park. We reached the station called Campo Inferior, on the side of the cliff. This is the first site of its kind in South America and the tour is self-guided.
Our first step was to take the brochure that would let us spot each finding and learn something about them. The report read that scientific research carried out in the lower valley of the Chubut River discovered formations that date back from millions of years ago.
We made ourselves comfortable with our camera and carried our backpack on our shoulders, so as to free our hands. We followed the circuit chronologically, from prehistory till this date. We ascended gradually and little by little came to the various geological stratums, and saw the objects anticipated by the brochure.
Sarmiento is the name of the first formation, originated 40 million years ago. The sea had flooded the Patagonian woodlands, which represented a large plain similar to the ones in Africa. The studies carried out give evidence of the fact that in that period the region experienced high temperatures. Furthermore, the remains of mammals and some kinds of wasps were found in its arid hillocks.
We moved onto the next level, called Gaiman. It dates back to 23 millions ago and features fossils of sharks, penguins, carnivorous dolphins and whales. The next formation is Puerto Madryn, whose age ranges between 10 and 12 million years. That was the moment when the sea waters receded and left fossilized marine mammals on the surface.
As we reached the highest part, we saw the Patagonian shingle formations, generated by volcanic eruptions and then transported by the glaciers and rivers. They are estimated to be around 100,000 years old.
This amusing hike did not make us tired, in spite of the heat, which forced us to rest here and there to recover our energy. We thanked researchers such as Simpson, Feruglio and the Ameghino brothers for shedding light upon a topic that turned out to be so distant for us.
That journey back in time let us walk around sites that have existed for millions of years, and then return to the land that welcomes and shelters us. All that in only one hour.
Opening hours: Everyday. Timetables change according to season.
How to get here: It lies on the southern cliff of the lower valley of the Chubut River, just 8 km away from the center of Gaiman.
Bear in mind: Wear sunscreen, comfortable clothes and shoes. Carry mineral water.