The Andes Mountains have lots of rocks. Lots. In southern Peru’s Corani District there are enough rocks together to form a stone forest. The same day Rocío and I visited Jaylluwa Stone Forest we also ‘rang’ a bell stone, saw the result of lightning and searched for uranium.
Jaylluwa Stone Forest
Near Aymaña in Corani District is the Jaylluwa Stone Forest (Bosque de Piedras de Jaylluwa), a large area covered in rocks. Approximately 4,000 metres high in a remote part of the Andes, Jaylluwa receives fewer tourists than other stone forests I’ve visited including Turkey’s Cappadocia, Bolivia’s Moon Valley, and Argentina’s La Leona. In fact, here we didn’t see another tourist.
Sign welcoming people to the Jaylluwa ‘Stone Forest Natural Ecotourism Sanctuary’
The Jaylluwa Stone Forest with snow capped mountains peaking in the background
Many forest rock formations have local nicknames based on their resemblance including penguins, a camel and a hand.
These rocks resemble a giant hand sticking up out of the ground
Sheep, alpacas and llamas wander through the stone forest, grazing any grasses they find while potatoes are grown around the forest clumps. We came across graziers checking their hut and livestock. Out of courtesy, Rocío gave them some food we had.
Graziers, their dog and a friendly sheep checking up on their stone hut
That same hut is dwarfed by the surrounding Jaylluwa Stone Forest
Rock formations form a cliff behind potato fields
Lightning is a powerful force and in the past it struck a giant Corani stone, splitting it into two pieces.
The two unequal halves of the lightning stone
The larger half’s huge size is clear with Rocío standing next to it
The Bell Stone
Also in the Corani District is a second rock oddity: a stone that resembles a bell when hit with another stone. Only the top stone provided such sounds with the bottom stone sounding dull. Rocío strongly believed the bell stone arrived as a meteorite.
The bell stone is the top rock
To hear the sounds for ourselves, we took turns in ‘ringing’ the bell stone.
Rocío striking the bell stone
Video of ringing the bell stone, demonstrating the difference in sounds between the top and bottom rocks
Searching for Uranium
The Carabaya Province is geologically rich with gold, uranium, silver, lead and zinc found. Radiation from uranium in Ollachea likely destroyed my camera’s flash. We were told that once, locals, including children, brought stones containing uranium to a mining company for payment.
Earlier in the day guide Ulices showed us the yellow-coloured uranium in rocks outside Macusani. At pre-Incan settlement Marca Marca we again searched for this metal. Having lived a long time in Japan and being passionate about geology, uranium fascinated Rocío.
Rocío and Ulices looking for yellow uranium in white stone