Tolar Grande region
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One of the proposed sites located in the Cordillera of Macon, at an altitude of 4604 meters has been monitored between 2004 and 2008. It is located in an extremely arid region, near the small town of Tolar Grande (see Figure 1), village of 121 inhabitants located in the heart of the Puna of Salta, founded around the Belgrano railroad station, when mining activity was in full operation. To reach this village from the city of Salta, it is needed to travel 387 Kms through the Quebrada del Toro, passing the town of San Antonio de los Cobres and small villages in the middle of the arid landscape of La Puna. The town has minimal infrastructure (roads, railways, communications, first aid room, etc.). The high altitude along with the desert climate, result in an extremely dry atmosphere, minimizing the electromagnetic radiation absorption due to water vapor.
The site was pre-selected because of its low opacity of the atmosphere, measured with a radiometer ("Tipper") at 210 GHz, which was loan from the Universidad Autonoma de Mexico (UNAM).
Figure 1: People of Tolar Grande, Salta, located at 3530 m.a.s.l. The mountains of Macon are in the background, one of the pre-selected sites to install the antenna of the LLAMA project.
Figure 2: Figure 2 represents the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd. quartile of the distribution of the measurements obtained with the radiometer in the Macon region, for different seasons.
The most critical climatic factor in that area is the strong wind speeds, which can generate distortions the surface of the antenna and pointing errors. As a result, new sites on the same mountain chain, with moderate winds, are currently under analysis.
Tolar Grande - Salta official website