6. Geography Of Chile -
Chile, a South American country, has a highly diverse geography as it extends from 17° latitude in the north to 56° latitude in the south (Cape Horn). The country is bordered by the South Pacific Ocean to the west and the Andes Mountain Range to the east. The country also borders a small part of the South Atlantic Ocean in the south. Chile shares its political borders with Peru and Bolivia in the north and Argentina to the east. The Chile-Argentina border is the third longest one in the world, stretching for a distance of 5,150 km. On a map, the country appears like a long ribbon that tapers slightly to the east at the southern tip of the South American continent. Chile extends for a length of 4,270 km from north to south while its average width is only 177km.
The Chilean landscape is dotted with mountains. 80% of the land exhibits mountainous terrain, and large parts of these mountainous regions are uninhabited or sparsely populated.
5. Mountain Ranges In Chile -
The majestically snowcapped peaks of the Andes Mountain Range in Chile provide a stunning backdrop to much of the scenery in the country. However, there are several other less formidable mountain ranges in the nation. The non-Andean mountain ranges in Chile in the far north and near north of the country mostly comprise of transverse mountain chains that extend in various shapes and forms from the Andes to coastal Chile giving rise to several valleys in between the ranges. The other type of mountain range in Chile is the coastal range of mountains. These mountains run parallel to the Andes along the coasts of the country. The Cordillera de Nahuelbuta is one of the significant mountain ranges among the coastal mountains. The Central Valley of Chile which hosts the maximum population of the country, the biggest Chilean cities, industries and agricultural lands, lie in between the Andes to the east and the coastal mountains to the west.
4. Tallest Mountain In Chile -
The Ojos del Salado (22,615 ft), part of the Andean mountains, is the tallest mountain in Chile as well as the highest active volcano in the world. It is also the Western and Southern Hemisphere’s second tallest mountain after Mount Aconcagua. The proximity of the tallest mountain in Chile to the Atacama Desert influences the precipitation patterns in the mountain habitat. The conditions are extremely dry with snow cover visible only during the winter. However, the region is also subjected to fluctuating weather conditions and a snowstorm in summers is not too surprising. The Ojos del Salado also hosts a permanent crater lake at 20,960 feet that span an area of 330 feet. The tallest mountain in Chile is relatively easy to climb than many other mountains of similar heights. The first ascent to the summit of this mountain was made by members of a Polish expedition in 1937.
3. The Andes Mountains, Chile -
The Andes is the longest mountain range in South America, extending for over 7,000 km through the seven South American nations of Venezuela, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Chile, Bolivia, and Argentina. The mountain range is 300 km wide in most parts of its range and the average elevation of is mountains is about 13,000 feet. Argentina and Chile house the Central Andes. The Andes mountains are geologically relatively young and include about 620 volcanoes in the Chilean territory alone. This volcanic nature of the Andes Mountains in Chile makes the nation prone to volcanic eruptions. Almost 60 of the 620 volcanoes in the Chilean Andes had erupted in the previous century.
2. Mountain Habitat And Biodiversity -
The Valdivian temperate forest ecoregion in Chile covers the narrow continental strip between the Pacific Ocean to the west and Andes to the east, running between the latitudes 35º to 48º. The tree lines in this region vary between 2,400 m in Central Chile to 1,000 m in the south of the ecoregion. The temperate forests gradually give way to the Andean vegetation in the Valdivian ecoregion. Temperatures drop from west to east as the altitude of the Andean mountain ranges increases in the same direction. Annual precipitation increases from 1,000 mm in the north to 6,000 mm per year in the south. The relative isolation of the ecoregion in Chile (due to the presence of the dry desert to the north, high Andes Mountains to the east and the vast Pacific Ocean to the west as barriers to neighboring lands) has allowed the evolution of a set of unique, endemic species in the country. Terrestrial mammals in the country number 103 of which 18 are endemic. The Patagonian puma, a wild carnivore, inhabits the mountains in Chile. Guanacos, pudú, culpeo, feral minks, opossums are some of the mammalian species living the mountains of Chile. Condors live in the high peaks in the Cordilleras while tricahue parrots, wild ducks, and mountain partridges can also be sighted in the mountains forests in Chile.
1. Mountaineering And Mountain-Related Tourism In Chile -
The mountains in Chile provide ideal and picturesque settings for the development of a booming tourist industry. Several national parks are located in the mountainous regions of the country where tourists arrive to catch a glimpse of the spectacular Chilean landscape and observe and explore its interesting flora and fauna.
One of the most famous tourism destinations in the mountains in Chile is the Torres del Paine National Park which features lakes, mountains, and glaciers. Three granite peaks known as the Towers of Paine are the center of attraction of this park. Water and snow skiing, hiking and mountain climbing, white water rafting, horseback riding can all be enjoyed at the Torres del Paine National Park. Another tourist hotspot in the mountains in Chile is the Lauca National Park. The park encompasses the Lago Chungará, one of the world’s highest lakes and the Volcán Parinacota which is a dormant volcano famous for its perfect dome-shaped peak. Located in the foothills of the Andes Range, the Chilean Lake District boasts of thick forests, deep lakes, rich farmlands with a backdrop of snow-capped mountain ranges.