Argentina has a mainland surface area of almost 2.8 million square kilometers, making it the world’s eighth largest country and Latin America’s second largest. It shares borders with Chile, Paraguay, Brazil, Uruguay, and South Atlantic Ocean. The highest elevation in Argentina is Aconcagua in the province of Mendoza at 22,838 feet above the sea level while the lowest elevation is the Laguna del Carbon in Santa Cruz Province with an elevation of -344 feet below sea level. Argentina is divided into seven geographical regions with diverse natural beauty. One of the outstanding geographical features of Argentina is the mountains. These mountains are discussed below.
Aconcagua is the highest mountain located outside of Asia, and the highest peak in both the Southern and Western Hemispheres. The 22,638-foot mountain is located in the Andes Mountain Range in the Mendoza Province. Its summit is 5 kilometers from San Juan Province and 15 kilometers from the border with Chile. The mountain and its surrounding form part of the Aconcagua National Park. The history of the mountain is divided into three basic periods Jurassic Period, Mesozoic Sequence, and Cenozoic Era. Aconcagua is the highest non-technical mountain in the world for climbers. However, despite the easy climbing, the effects of altitude are adverse with altitude sickness affecting most climbers. The mountain and the surrounding area is home to diverse flora and fauna species. As such, it is listed as a protected area.
Ojos del Salado
Ojos del Salado is a stratovolcano on the border between Argentina and Chile. It is the world’s highest active volcano at an elevation of 22,615 feet above the sea level. It is also the highest mountain in Chile and the second highest in Argentina. Ojos del Salado experiences dry conditions due to its location near the Atacama Desert. Despite the dry condition, the mountain has a crater lake of about 100 meter in diameter at an elevation of 20,960 feet. The crater lake is possibly the highest of its kind in the world. The name of the mountain translates to “Eyes of the Salty One” because of the salt deposits that appear similar to eyes on the glaciers. The most recent volcanic activity on Ojos del Salado took place 1,300 years ago. It has two summits, one in Argentina and the other in Chile, with the borderline between the two countries running between the two summits.
Monte Pissis is the third highest mountain in the Western Hemisphere at an elevation of 22,293 feet. It is an extinct volcano located north of Aconcagua in La Rioja Province. The mountain was named after a French geologist, Pedro Jose Amedeo Pissis. Monte Pissis also has dry conditions due to its location in the Atacama Desert. Its peak is the most glaciated in the desert, but the glacier is smaller compared to the size of the mountain. The mountain received little attention because it was very tall and remote. However, the opening of the mining in the area has opened it to more tourists who also visit the Atacama Desert. Monte Pissis was first climbed in 1985.
Other Large Argentine Mountains
Other famously high mountains in Argentina include Cerro Bonete, Llullaillaco, Mercedario, Incahuasi, Tupungato, Reclus, and Antofalla. These mountains are famous as hiking and sight-seeing spots for tourist. They are also habitats for diverse flora and fauna.