Personally, I think it should be renamed Valle de Martes, since to me, the colours more resemble the surface of Mars rather than the Moon. Whichever you want to call it, it certainly does seem 'other worldly'.
It is an incredible place, which has been sculpted by wind and water over the years, and is part of the Salar de Atacama. Salt deposits occur from the water which comes down from the mountains. Over time the deposits built up and became compacted. Tectonic movements over the years have folded the layers and created strange curves of rock, sometimes perpendicular to their original orientation. A mixture of salt, rock and sand, form strange almost man-made looking, structures.
|The Three Marias|
|Me in front of the 'Amphitheatre'|
Anyway, I feel I'm getting a little too fixated on this valley naming business!
One cool feature there is in Valle de la Muerte, is a layer of volcanic ash, trapped in amongst the rock formations. There are many volcanoes around San Pedro, many of which are now inactive, but had plenty of activity in years gone by. In fact, not too far from San Pedro is the most active volcano in all of Chile - the Lascar Volcano. Apparently, there has been an 'amber' alert of activity on this volcano for the past 2 years.
|The white-ish layer is volcanic ash|
|While the Sun was still up|
|And once the Sun had gone down|