What comes to your mind when we say Peru?

The most common answer is the solemn, sleeping ruins of Machu Picchu. Peru has been known for this historical site forever. However, it is time to tip the ancient ruins over and make a place for the iconic mountain peaks of Vinicunca.

What’s so special about the Vinicunca?

Believe it or not but these mountains are naturally multi-colored.

Almost five years ago the world discovered this hidden gem amidst the Andes in Peru. It is now called the ‘Rainbow Mountain’ because of its candy-striped exterior.

How many colors can we count? More than four for sure!

The painted mountain is covered in sediments of icy blues, pastel pink, rusty gold, and red. There is also a tinge of green and orange peeking from here and there due to the merger of these layers.

Photo via. PeruBestPrice

How is this possible?

This can’t actually be real right?

That is exactly what we thought, which is why we did some investigation. The reasoning we found behind the kaleidoscopic colors of the mountain seems pretty legit.

Apparently, the colors you see are the sedimentary mineral layers that had previously been unseen due to the rocky exterior. However, years of erosion has led to the mineral core being exposed. Moreover, most of the colors are formed due to oxidation.

Come again?

Photo via. Ayni Peru Expedition

Well, in simpler words we can say that the minerals have become rusty like the iron nail kept outside for too long. This is because the iron minerals in the ridges react with the air and water vapors found in the surroundings. This reaction converts the iron into iron oxide which has a rusty reddish golden shade.

Hence, through some awesome chemical reactions, we get to experience this beautiful unfiltered sight!

You might still be wondering:

How did we just discover this place?

Photo via. Outdoor Project

The world was never blind to the wonders of Peru; it is just that this particular one was well hidden.

According to the locals living there, the mountain peaks of Vinicunca used to be covered in a blanket of snow which hid the mineral sediments.

Then who went digging to strip-off snow from the tectonic plates? We guess nature did.

In the recent years as global warming reached new heights, the Peruvian ice gradually melted away. As a result, we were able to witness the majestic Picasso like ridges in all its glory.

Looks like global warming has its perks after all!

The impact

Photo via. The Daily Attack

Now that the secret is out, almost every trekker is heading towards the striped slopes. It isn’t just the traveling buffs; the geologists are also making their way to catch a glimpse of this marvelous geological miracle.

All these visits have caused the tourist industry to expand tenfold in a short span of five years. Hence, the discovery gave the economy of the region the financial boost it long needed.

So did we just give you a new travelling goal?

Or are you worried like many that all this trampling will lead to the mountain losing the very colors the people came for?