National Radio Astronomy Observatory
Site Studies

Chajnantor Environs

The MMA site is at 5000 m (16400 feet) above sea level to the south of Cerro El Cerrillo o Chajnantor in northern Chile. This is on the eastern edge of Chile's Region II near the borders with Bolivia and Argentina. The historic village of San Pedro de Atacama lies 40 km west of the site. The major cities in the area are the mining center of Calama, 130 km northwest of the site, and the coastal port of Antofagasta, 275 km to the WSW.

San Pedro is 2440 m (8000 ft) above sea level on the northern end of the Salar de Atacama in the Andean Basin. The MMA site near Chajnantor, only 40 km east, is on the high plateau at 5000 m. The close proximity to the site of a town at a comfortable elevation (2440 m above sea level) provides major logistical advantages. Furthermore, the paved international highway to Argentina over the Paso de Jama goes within 10 km of the MMA site.

Last modified 1998 October 27
Simon Radford