Transplanting giant cacti

Picture of the spectacular transplant of a giant cactus at the ALMA site, taken in June 2004. The cactus, which is about 6 metres high and weighs several tonnes, was moved during the construction of the access road. The operation was extremely delicate and required heavy machinery. ALMA is fully committed to the preservation of the environmental and cultural heritage of the site, where two endangered species of cactus grow, typically at 3000 to 4000 metres altitude. These are the relatively small, cushion-shaped Conoideo (Opuntia Conoidea) and the giant Echinopsis Atacamensis, commonly known as “Cardón grande” (in the picture). All the specimens belonging to these vulnerable species that were affected by the access roadworks were successfully transplanted.

More information is available in the book Cerca del Cielo (available as PDF).


M. Heisig/ESO

About the Image

Release date:28 January 2011, 18:37
Size:2048 x 1536 px

About the Object

Type:Unspecified : Technology : Observatory

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