Cordillera De Los Andes: Formation, Characteristics, Location, Climate

The Andes mountain range is characterized by being the longest series of mountains on the planet. The total extension of this geological formation is 8500 kilometers and is located in the western area of ​​South America.

Given the vast extension of this mountainous system, it encompasses seven countries in South America, including Argentina, Chile, Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela, Colombia, and Bolivia. This space is the scene of several of the highest volcanoes in the world, such as the Stratovolcano in Bolivia and Mount Pissis in Argentina.

Throughout the Andes mountain range, different types of climate can be appreciated, as it covers a large amount of territory with very varied characteristics. It is possible to find quite desert areas and frozen areas, as well as spaces with high levels of rainfall and even with the presence of hail.

The area that the Andes mountain range occupies is around 2,870,000 square kilometers, and at various points there are areas of high seismic and volcanic activity. Throughout the extension it is possible to find a variety of geographical features: from high altitude mountains to quite extensive plains.

The only formation that is scarcer in this territory is the transversal valley, one that is generated parallel to a mountain system; this type of valley is found mainly towards the southern area of ​​South America, in Chile and Argentina.

Training

The Andes mountain range began its formation approximately 120 million years ago, at the beginning of the Mesozoic era. The main cause of this movement was the action of the Nazca oceanic tectonic plate.

At that time this plate slid under the South American continental shelf and generated both faults and folds in this area of ​​the Earth’s crust. This process is called subduction.

Until relatively recently it was thought that the Andes mountain range had been formed as a consequence of a continuous and gradual elevation over millions of years.

However, more recently it has been estimated that the Andes mountain range was formed by a set of quite accelerated uplift shoots. This was determined by scientists at the University of Rochester, in the United States, in a report published in the journal Earth and planetary science letters in 2014.

This speed is relative, since it implies only 1 kilometer for several million years; even so, this speed is considered high considering the nature of the movements of the Earth. The values ​​that the researchers estimate correspond to about 2.5 kilometers for between 9 and 16 million years.

In essence, the Andes mountain range is thought to have been formed by accelerated upward pulses that were generated over millions of years, and were separated by long periods of stable growth, also over millions of years.

New information

The data explained above were recently complemented by information provided by a group of geologists from the University of Houston, United States, who at the beginning of 2019 released a study through which they managed to create a replica of the subduction process of the plate. Born.

This model is one of the most accurate ever built. The results of the investigation indicated that the Nazca plate did not maintain a constant and continuous subduction, but on several occasions this plate moved away from the Andes sector and thanks to this volcanic activity was generated.

characteristics

– The Andes mountain range is located on the edge of the western coast of South America, towards the Pacific Ocean.

– It is the largest continental mountain range on the planet.

– The Andes mountain range performs border functions between Argentina and Chile.

– On average, its height reaches 4000 meters above sea level. This makes it the highest mountain system in the world.

– This mountain range forms the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire, an area located in the coastal area of ​​the Pacific Ocean that is characterized by high volcanic and seismic activity.

– It covers from western Venezuela to the Tierra del Fuego archipelago, located in the southernmost area of ​​South America.

– The Andes mountain range arose thanks to the movement of the Nazca plate under the South American plate.

– This formation has both valleys and high elevations, glaciers and volcanoes.

– The Andes mountain range crosses Venezuelan, Colombian, Ecuadorian, Chilean, Argentine, Bolivian and Peruvian territory.

– It covers a physical space of approximately 2,870,000 square kilometers.

– In the Andes mountain range is located one of the highest peaks in the world, Aconcagua. The highest point of this peak is 6959 meters above sea level.

– According to its morphological characteristics, the Andes mountain range has three specific areas: the southern Andes, the central Andes and the northern Andes.

– This mountain range has four well-defined volcanic zones: the central, the southern, the northern and the southern.

Location

The Andes mountain range covers the entire coastal area of ​​South America to the west, bordering the Pacific Ocean.

This great mountain formation occupies the territory of seven South American countries: Venezuela, Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, Chile and Argentina. It was born in western Venezuela and ends in Tierra del Fuego, specifically on the island of the States.

Weather

There is no uniform climate related to the Andes mountain range, as it is very extensive and covers many territories with different conditions. Below we will detail the most important characteristics of the Andean climate in each area:

Andes Mountains in Venezuela

At the base of the mountain it is possible to get quite hot climates and at the top there are usually low temperatures, practically polar.

On average, the highest temperature reached in this area reaches 25 ° C. As for the rains, the most abundant fluvial season takes place between April and November.

Andes mountain range in Colombia

The Colombian Andes are characterized by a humid climate with a lot of cloudiness throughout the year. The average temperature remains between 16 and 24 ° C.

The hottest months are usually June, July and August, and the day with the highest temperature is July 31. On the other hand, the coldest day is October 20: that day there is usually a minimum temperature of 16 ° C.

Andes mountain range in Ecuador

Ecuador is crossed from top to bottom by the Andes mountain range and there are four well differentiated regions: the littoral region, the eastern region, the sierra region and the Galapagos Islands.

In the littoral region or coast, there are three main types of climate: between dry and humid in the south-center, arid tropical in the southwest and quite humid in the north of the region.

The average temperature is 24 ° C. Regarding rainfall, it can present between 60 and 2000 mm; In general, it is a rainy area, the humid air that comes from the ocean produces rain and this allows it to release said humidity.

Andes mountain range in Bolivia

In Bolivia, the Andes mountain range naturally divides humid and warm climates (found in the north) from those that are more arid and colder, which are located in the south.

The temperature ranges from 15 ° C in the highest areas to about 30 ° C in the Amazon plains. The rainiest season in the Bolivian Andes runs from November to April, while the dry season is perceived from May to October.

Andes mountain range in Peru

Thanks to the presence of this mountain range, Peru is characterized by having a range of cold climates: the cold alpine climate typical of high mountains can be found, as well as the mountainous subtropical climate.

The coastal zone of Peru is extremely arid; This is because the Andes mountain range prevents eastern rains from entering the territory.

Among the types of climate that stand out in the Andean zone of Peru is the temperate subhumid, with a rainy season during the first five months of the year, a fairly arid winter and average temperatures of 20 ° C.

The tundra climate is also perceived, with an average temperature of 5 ° C, rains and snowfalls between January and May, and winters characterized by dry frosts. The boreal climate, also in the Peruvian Andes, has an average temperature of 13 ° C, frosts in winter and heavy rains in summer.

Finally, the freezing climate offers temperatures below 0 ° C, a lot of dryness and constant snow at the top of the mountains.

Andes mountain range in Argentina

From November to March you can perceive warmer temperatures: on average they reach a maximum of 18 ° C.

From May to August the lowest temperatures can be felt, the average temperature reaches 10 ° C. The cloudiness varies depending on the time of year —as well as the rains— and between May and September there is a presence of snow.

Andes mountain range in Chile

According to the Köppen climatic classification, the Chilean Andes are characterized by having a Mediterranean oceanic climate, which implies that summers are dry and winters are rainy and somewhat temperate.

On average, in the Chilean Andes there is a temperature of 15 ° C. The temperature peaks reach 35 ° C, while the lows narrowly exceed 0 ° C.

Flora

Calceolaria corymbosa

It is a very common plant in the southern landscape. It can measure up to 45 cm, is intense yellow in color and has two petals.

Its roots must be permanently immersed in water, which is why it tends to grow on the sides of rivers and swamps. It is not resistant to snow, but it is resistant to sporadic and short frosts down to -5 ° C

Lenga

It is a deciduous tree that appears reddish in the fall. It is considered the southernmost tree in the world, as its habitat includes especially the forests of Patagonia.

It can be up to 30 meters high, although there are areas where the snow puts weight on it and makes it impossible for it to grow much; in those cases it can reach just 2 or 3 meters in height.

Copihue

It is the national flower of Chile. It is a vine type plant that grows in temperate forests. There are at least 25 different varieties of this plant and they range from white to red.

Its fruits can be eaten and it is used by some people to treat various conditions, among which rheumatism stands out.

Fauna

Andean condor

The Andean condor has a wingspan of between 2.8 m and 3.2 m. It can weigh up to 15 kilos and normally feeds on carrion, although it can sometimes prefer newborn or dying animals.

It is the largest bird in the world and can glide for long distances without having to move its wings. Its beak is large and hooked, thanks to which it can gnaw on the bodies of the animals it eats.

Cougar

The puma inhabits a wide variety of climates and ecosystems, from tropical forests to deserts. Males are up to 2.4 meters long and females reach 2.05 meters.

The preferred prey of the puma corresponds to the cattle of those who live near their usual spaces. Until a few years ago the puma was in danger of extinction, but today it is a protected species.

Guanaco

Guanacos are capable of ingesting up to 700 kilos of grass daily and their usual spaces are in the high mountains. This is because they have more red blood cells than other animals, which allows them to withstand heights without problems.

It is estimated that there are about 600,000 guanacos on the planet. The male is up to 1.3 meters tall and the color of his abundant coat is mustard. One of the characteristics of the guanaco is its long and narrow neck, and its thin legs.

References

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  5. “Archipelago of Tierra del Fuego” in Wikipedia. Retrieved on October 28, 2019 from Wikipedia: wikipedia.org
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  12. “Los Andes (Chile)” in Wikipedia. Retrieved on October 28, 2019 from Wikipedia: wikipedia.org
  13. “Calceolaria corymbosa” in Chile Flora. Retrieved on October 28, 2019 from Chile Flora: chileflora.com
  14. Costa, M. “The bioclimatic belts of the Venezuelan Andes in the State of Mérida” in Research Gate. Retrieved on October 28, 2019 from Research Gate: researchgate.net
  15. Lim, H., Kim, Y. and others. “Seismicity and structure of Nazca Plate subduction zone in southern Peru” in Science Direct. Retrieved on October 28, 2019 from Science Direct: sciencedirect.com
  16. “Climate and average monthly weather in San Martín de los Andes (Neuquén Province), Argentina” in Weather and Climate. Retrieved on October 28, 2019 from Weather and Climate: weather-and-climate.com
  17. “Climate of Peru” in Wikipedia. Retrieved on October 28, 2019 from Wikipedia: wikipedia.org

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