Rainbow Mountain Peru: Why does it have those amazing colors?

When you first see a picture of the Vinicuna Mountain, it might seem photoshoped or a surreal painting. But it isn’t. The vivid colors of turquoise, lavender, red-violet and gold are real. You probably wonder how can this be possible.  Without any doubt, this is a question that many people would like to answer. To understand this strange phenomenon, we have to search the answer in geology and metereology. Now, in Explorandes we will explain why the Rainbown Mountain has those amazing colors.

Why the Rainbown Mountain has this coloration?

There are different reasons why the Vinicuna or Rainbow Mountain is striped with colors ranging from turquoise to lavender to maroon and gold. However, they are largely due to weathering and mineralogy.

The subduction of the Nazca plate underneath the South American plate initiated mountain building and uplift of the Andes mountain range. This produced significant volcanism and the introduction of rare and varied mineralogy to the Andes Mountains. Different layers of sediment rocks, like sandstone, halite, gravel, clay and other minerals were compacted one above the other to form different layers.

As time passes, movement and collision of tectonic plates gave rise to new mountains and also new colors. This is because sediments will change of color when exposed to environmental conditions, like snow, wind and water. For example, red coloration of sedimentary layers often indicates iron oxide rust as a trace mineral. In addition, the bright yellow coloration could be due to iron sulphide as trace minerals within the pore cement.

Importance of geographic location

High altitude is another important factor. The mountain sits at an elevation of 6,384 meters above the sea level. Due to the hostile environment of the area, there is almost no vegetation, making it visible this outstanding show.


Visit the Rainbow Mountain in Peru with Explorandes

You can visit the Rainbow Mountain as part of the our Ausangate trek. Ausangate in known as one of the most precious and sacred mountains in the Vilcanota Mountain Range. Prepared to be amazed at the most remarkable colors of nature. In 5 days and 4 nights of trek you will admire turquoise lagoons, soaring glaciers, rolling farmlands, and the spectacular snowcapped Ausangate mountain alongside the iconic Rainbow Mountain.

If you want to visit the Vinicuna or Rainbow Mountain in Peru, Explorandes has the perfect trek for you. To learn more bout the tour and our services, contact us.

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