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South America


Argentina, the second-largest of the South American countries, covers an area of 1,073,399 sq. mi (2,780,092 sq. km). The Andes Mountains divide western Argentina from Chile, and in the south, known as Tierra de Fuego, this range is still partly covered with glaciers.

A large part of Argentina is a region of lowlands and plains. The northern part of the lowlands, called the Chaco, is the hottest region in Argentina. A little further south, between the rivers Parana and Uruguay, there is an area called Mesopotamia. For most of the year the area is marshland, due to flooding of the rivers during the rainy season. In the northwestern part of Argentina near the Paraguay and Brazilian borders, are found the remarkable Iguassa Falls. They are 2.5 mi (4 km) wide and 269 ft (82 m) high. As a comparison, Niagara Falls is only 5,249 ft (1,599 m) wide and 150-164 ft (46-50 m) high. The greatest part of the lowland plains are called the Pampa, which is humid in the east and semiarid in the west.

The southern highlands of Patagonia, which begins below the Colorado River, is a dry and mostly uninhabited region of plateaus. In the area known as Tierra del Fuego, the southernmost extension of the Andes is found. They are mostly glaciated, and many beautiful glacial lakes are found here. Where the mountains descend into the sea, the glaciers have shaped them so that the coast has a fjord-like appearance.

The Falkland Islands lie off the eastern coast of Argentina. They are a group of about 200 islands which mostly consist of rolling hills and peat valleys, although there are a few low mountains north of the main islands. The sea around the Falkland Islands is quite shallow, and for this reason they are believed to lie on an extension of the continental shelf.

Additional topics

Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Adam Smith Biography to Spectroscopic binarySouth America - The Highlands And Plateaus, The Andes, The Amazon Basin, The Climate, Venezuela, Ecuador - The continent, The countries, Uruguay