Puna It is a term that derives from the Quechua language. The concept is used to name the ground high which is near the Andes mountains . For example: "The llama is a typical animal of the puna", “On vacation we visit several villages of the Puna”, “The puna is very arid: that is why it is difficult to cultivate successfully in the region”.
What is understood by puna can vary according to country . In general, it can be said that the puna is a plateau that is located in a mountain area, located in the Andean region. Peru , Chile , Bolivia and Argentina they are, in this sense, the countries that have puna.
Among the natural characteristics of the puna, the cold weather, the reduced level of precipitation, the low amount of oxygen in the air due to the altitude and the atmospheric pressure drops. Another of the peculiarities of the puna is the thermal amplitude: the days can be hot and the nights, very cold.
Beyond the characteristics in common, it is possible to differentiate different regions of the puna. The southern puna , also known as arid puna , records less than 400 millimeters of rain per year. Within the southern puna you can recognize the desert puna and the dry puna . The northern puna or wet puna , meanwhile, exceeds 400 millimeters of rain per year.
The calls , he guanaco , the vicuña , he Cougar , he Andean fox , he skunk and the Condor are some of the animals typical of the puna, which houses shrubs, grasslands and meadows of different types.
Atacama puna is called a desert plateau shared by Argentina and Chile, at 85% and 15% respectively. On its surface you can see a series of mountain ranges that cross it, which are at a high altitude with respect to sea level, but not so much if we start from the plateau , and cross the Andes mountain range in all its extension and from each of its ends.
This puna is located in a desert of great aridity that continues to that of Atacama, the driest in the world. Except for the Loa river (which, in its 420 kilometers of extension, crosses the desert just mentioned and reaches the Pacific Ocean), none of the other water courses of the Atacama puna flow into the sea.
Regarding your relief , is characterized by a remarkable diversity, although undulations predominate, with plateaus in which they are endorheic basins (areas in which the water does not present a fluvial exit in the ocean) with lagoons and lakes, most of them alkaline or saline, and long salt flats (such as those in Antofalla, Pastos Grandes, Atacama, Pocitos, Muerto, de Incahuasi and Arizaro), but also small valleys called vegas and narrow creeks.
The most important Andean folds of this puna, which are located along its surface, are the following: the Sierra de los Pastos Grandes; the Incahuasi volcano; the Sierra del Cobre; the Toconquis mountain range (which includes the Hill Gallant); the Cachi mountain range (where the summit of the General San Martin Liberator is located); the hill Diamond.
Among the plant species of the Atacama puna there is a predominance of xerophilous that have adapted to water scarcity, to soils with little organic matter and a high level of heliophany (the duration of the sun's shine). Its climate is mainly continental high, with a wide range of temperatures throughout the day; It is a very dry region, very hot in summer and very cold in winter.