There's a lot more to the Andes than merely a mountain range.
The Andes range is the longest in the world. The South American and Pacific tectonic plates collided about 50 million years ago, and that was the beginning of the formation of the Andes Mountains.
They are made up of a number of mountain chains that are joined together in what are known as orographic knots. Most of them can be considered high altitude plateaus that have allowed for the creation of human settlements, such as the Bolivian Altiplano.
On the Andean plateaus, modern towns in Andes like La Paz, Quito, Arequipa, Cuenca, Sucre, and Medellin are among the most well-known. The Andes also has a beautiful spot at its highest peak at the highest mountains. Volcanic mountain chains make up the vast majority of the Andes Mountain ranges. Ojos del Salado, the world's highest active volcano at 7,590 yd (6,940.29 m), is located along the dry Andean slopes. Here we'll discuss some fascinating facts about it as well as its location. Read on to learn more!
Where are the Andes Mountains located?
The Nazca Plate is a dense oceanic lithosphere that is driven down beneath the South American Plate, a more buoyant continental lithosphere, falling by a process known as subduction.
The existence of the Peru-Chile (or Atacama) Trench on the ocean surface indicates this. The subducting oceanic plate cannot slide smoothly due to friction between the plates. It pulls on the overlying plate as it falls, causing it to fracture and distort. This causes regular shallow-focus earthquakes, which get deeper as the ocean plate descends further, forming a Benioff Zone of earthquake foci.
The Andes range, with a total length of 5,592 mi (8,999.45 km), is counted among the highest mountain ranges in the world outside Asia. It runs along the western coastal regions of South America as a continuous chain of highlands, passing into Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia. The range stretches for approximately 4,350 mi (7000.64 km), is 124 mi (199.55 km) broad to 435 mi (700.06 km) wide, and exhibits a median height of roughly 4,444 yd (4,063.59 m).
The Andean range is divided into multiple ranges through its length; usually, two large ranges, the Cordillera Oriental and the Cordillera Occidental, which are separated by an intermediate depression. The Andes Mountains, often known as the Andean States, stretch across seven countries and some major cities. The seven countries are Peru, Chile, Argentina, Colombia, Bolivia, Venezuela, Peru, and Ecuador.
The Andes are divided into various ranges throughout their length, separated by various troughs. Several tall plateaus dot the Andes, many of which are home to large towns. After the Tibetan Plateau, the Altiplano Plateau is the next highest plateau in the world.
These mountains are further divided into three primary climatic groups: they are the Dry Andes, the Wet Andes, and the Tropical Andes towards the South American plate. The northern Andes are the tropical group, with the farthest points, whereas the southern plate contains both the wet plates and the dry plates.
Formation Of The Andes Mountains
The Andes formed as a result of tectonic action, in which the Earth is raised when one plate (the oceanic crust) subducts beneath another (the continental crust). It is uncommon to have such a high mountain range in a subduction zone, which emphasizes the need of determining when and how it occurred.
Over the last decade, however, there has been significant debate about when the Andes Mountain chain uplift occurred. According to popular belief, the Andes became a mountain range between 6-10 million years ago when a massive amount of rock fell from the the base of the Earth's crust as a result of over-thickness in this area. The thick substance was removed as a massive chunk.
Around 250 million years ago, the crustal plates that make up the Earth's landmass were brought together to form the supercontinent Pangaea. Following the breakup of Pangaea and its southern half, Gondwana, these plates dispersed outward, forming the shape and location of today's modern continents. Many of the rocks that make up today's Andes and the Cordilleras are quite ancient. Between 250-450 million years ago, sediments eroded off the Amazonian craton (or the Brazilian shield), an ancient granitic continental relic that makes up much of Brazil, and were deposited on the Craton's western flank.
The Nazca Plate's eastern boundary was thrust beneath the South American Plate's western edge roughly 168 million years ago, resulting in the plate's westward shift in reaction to the opening of the Atlantic Ocean to the east, causing this complex geological matrix to be elevated. The intrusion of large amounts of magma from the mantle, which was observed to be in a form called the volcanic arc, through the western edge towards the South American plate in the form of the injection of hot solutions into surrounding continental rocks, resulted in numerous dikes and veins containing concentrations of economically-valuable minerals and Andean condor flowing towards the Andes chain and the western Peru, where almost all of South America exists. The Dry Andes and the Tropical Andes are most famous for tourist attractions, considering they are the highest mountains.
How big are the Andes Mountains?
The Andes are considered as the world’s second-largest mountain ranges, home to the famous Inca Civilization or Inca Empire and the highest or the longest peaks of the Andes include Machu Picchu and Lake Titicaca, although the Bolivian Andes are also considered to be quite impressive. The origin of the name Andes is unknown; however, it is believed to have originated from the Quechua word which means ‘anti.'
The Andes Mountain range can be found running a length of 4,500 mi (7,242.04 km). The Andes extend for up to 500 mi (804.67 km) towards the western coast of great Southern America.
The Andes Mountains have about 99 of the most impressive tropical glaciers towards Southern America, which are perennial rivers of ice at high enough heights to avoid being impacted by the tropical temperatures. On the Chile-Argentina border, the Andes are also home to Ojos del Salado, which is considered the world's tallest volcano. In the 15th century, the Incas established themselves in the North Peruvian Andes, only to be driven out by internal warfare and sickness brought by European invaders.
Until July 24, 1911, when locals brought Yale University professor Hiram Bingham to Machu Picchu, at an elevation of 2,570 yd (2,350 m) in the Peruvian part of the mountain range, the existence of the Inca Empire was mostly unknown to the outside world. Machu Picchu provided a peek into the lives of the Incas since it remained relatively undisturbed, and scientists think it functioned as the royal compound of Pachacuti Inca Yupanqui, who reigned from 1438-1471. It is currently a popular tourist site in the Andes region, towards the southern tip, and for many Peruvian farmers towards the northern part.
Before heading southwest and entering Colombia, the ranges travel parallel to the Caribbean Sea coast of Venezuela. They are divided into three massifs: the Cordilleras Orientales, the Centrales, and Occidentales. They create two parallel cordilleras in Ecuador, one facing the Pacific Ocean and the other descending into the Amazon River basin. These ranges extend southward into Peru, with Mount Huascarán in the Cordillera Blanca being one of the highest peaks in the country. The Andes divide Bolivia into two different areas, with the Altiplano in between, along with the seven Andean countries.
They form a complicated chain along the Chile-Argentina border, with their highest peak, Mount Aconcagua, reaching an elevation of 7,610 yd (6,958.58 m). A section of the Cordillera Blanca dips into the sea in southern Chile, forming several islands. In between the eastern side of the famous ocean, the Pacific Ocean, and the rest of great South America, the Andes form a vast barrier. South America's climate is influenced by this barrier. Rainy and warm weather is frequent in the Andes' northern reaches. The Atacama Desert in northern Chile is located on the west side of the central Andes, which is exceedingly dry. The eastern half of the central Andes is much wetter.
Towards the southern region or Southern America, the Western Andes tend to be moist, but Argentina's eastern lowlands lie under a rain shadow and tend to be relatively dry. Many of the Andes' summits receive a lot of snow and have glaciers, and the same is true towards the northern Andes too. The Loja Knot (4° S) represents the transition between the Peruvian Cordilleras and the Ecuadorean Andes in southern Ecuador. The Ecuadorean Andes, the Colombian Andes, and Venezuelan (or Caribbean) Andes or Cordilleras are all included in the northern Andes.
Some Facts About The Andes Mountains
Here are some more amazing facts about the Andes Mountain. The Andes are significant because they play an important role in national economies, accounting for a major portion of the region's GDP, providing large agricultural areas, mineral resources, and water for agriculture, hydroelectricity, and domestic use, as well as housing some of South America's largest business centers.
The Andes are much more than just a mountain range.
When the Pacific and South American tectonic plates clashed, it led to the creation of the Andes Mountains.
These events took place more than 50 million years ago.
The Andes Mountain range is made up of a number of mountain chains wherein orographic knots connect them.
The high-altitude plateaus of the range present along the western coast have allowed human settlements to flourish.
On the Andean plateaus, modern-day towns like Arequipa, Quito, Sucre, Cuenca, Medellin, and La Paz are the most well-known cities that the Andes consist of.
The majority of Andean summits are volcanic. Volcanic mountain chains make up a considerable portion of the Andes.
Ojos del Salado, which is the highest active volcano, is 7,590 yd (6,940.29 m) tall and is located in a distant spot near the Chilean-Argentine border.
Cotopaxi, is only 47 mi (75.63 km) south of Quito, Ecuador's capital. The gigantic ice settlements in Cotopaxi's basin would be the biggest hazard from an eruption (which is regarded as 'imminent').
Mount Aconcagua, which is located in Argentina, is the tallest peak in the Andes, rising to 7,658 yd (7,002.47 m).
Those beautiful islands? They're Andean peaks, to be sure!
The Andes practically fall into the sea at the continent's southern and northern ends, forming a slew of islands. Caribbean hotspots like Curacao, Aruba, and Bonaire are really summits of a vast submerged prolongation of the Andean mountains.
There are other islands in Patagonia's southern reaches that are part of a similar mountain group. The Andes form a significant portion of the broader American Cordillera, a nearly continuous series of mountains that runs north into North America.
The Andes contribute to the world's food supply by producing important crops like tomatoes and potatoes. More than 3,500 different varieties of potatoes are grown between southern Peru south to northern Chile south.
Coca leaves are also widely cultivated along the southern Andes and are used to prepare the popular coca beverage. However, cocaine which is a derivative of coca leaves, is the cause of problems in most Latin American countries. However, coca tea is widely used for treatment of altitude sickness symptoms.
The world's largest Andean peaks are here! Several of the world's natural superlatives may be found in the Andes.
Lake Titicaca, which is the highest lake in the world, and the biggest salt plain in the world at Salar Uyuni, at an altitude of 3,960 yd (3,621.02 m), are both found in Bolivia.
Is there a highest point on the planet? It's right in front of you.
The top of Ecuador's Mount Chimborazo is really the farthest point from the earth's surface to its core due to our planet's equatorial bulge. Ecuador's tallest mountain, at 6,889 yd (6299.30 m), is considered dormant because the last eruption occurred over 1,500 years ago.
Amazingly, you can drive 5,363 yd (4903.92 m) and then trek the final stretch, which is a difficult hike, towards the southern Andes.
The Andes are a never-ending playground for adventurers, particularly towards the southern and the central Andes. For energetic travelers, the Andes are the most rewarding location in Latin America.
There is no more promising a region for aficionados of high-altitude activities than the Andean mountains. Climbing, hiking, white-water rafting, cycling, horseback riding, skiing, stargazing, and many more activities are just a few of the incredible ways for you to make the most of your Andes Mountain vacation. If you're planning a trip to the South American countries, make sure to visit these plateaus!
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