El Leoncito National Park

El Leoncito National Park

Infobox_protected_area | name = El Leoncito National Park
iucn_category = II

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locator_x = 109
locator_y = 67

location = San Juan Province, Argentina
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area = 760 km²
established = 1994
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governing_body = Administración de Parques Nacionales

The "El Leoncito National Park" is a national park of Argentina, located at the Calingasta Department, in the southwest of the province of San Juan. It has an area of 760 km². It was created in 1994 as a reserve and became a national park in 2002, in order to protect representative samples of the Puna and High Andean scrublands, as well as historical and paleontological sites (including a portion of the Inca's Way).

Given the lack of atmospheric pollution in this area, it is particularly suitable for astronomical observations. Within the park are two astronomical observatories: Félix Aguilar Observatory and the Leoncito Astronomical Complex. (Compare this with Mount Catequilla in Ecuador, as described under Astronomical observations in the article about the equator.)

The climate is cold, with permanent ice, in the High Andean region. In the Puna, the climate is cold and dry, with large thermical amplitudes. The average annual rainfall is 200 mm. The flora is mostly made up of shrubs, typical of dry mountainous areas. The fauna include important species like the guanaco and birds of prey such as the peregrine falcon (the fastest bird on Earth).


* [http://www.parquesnacionales.gov.ar/i/03_ap/10_leoncito_PN/10_leoncito_PN.htm Administración de Parques Nacionales] - Argentina's National Park Administration (in Spanish)

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