Argentina Geography

What is the terrain and geography like in Argentina?

Overview:

Argentina is South America's second largest country, after Brazil, in land area and population. It occupies most of the continent's southern region between the Andes Mountains and the Atlantic Ocean. Argentina stretches from 22'S to 55'S latitude a distance of about 2,300 miles and is shaped roughly like an inverted triangle that tapers southward from a base about 1,000 miles wide.

Argentina's area of 1,072,067 square miles is about one-third that of the U.S. In climate, size, and topography, Argentina can be compared with the portion of the U.S. between the Mississippi River and the Rocky Mountains, although the North American region has colder winters. The humid lowlands of eastern Argentina, especially along the rivers of the Rio de la Plata system, resemble the Mississippi Valley. In northern Argentina, the savannas and swamps of the Chaco region find a parallel in coastal Louisiana. Westward, the humid pampa (plain) gives way to rangeland and finally to desert that is broken only by irrigated oases, just as the Great Plains of the U.S. become drier toward the west. The Andes present a far more imposing barrier than the Rockies, but both mountain systems mark the western end of the plains.

The variety of vegetation in Argentina is striking. The vast Pampa region fanning out 500 miles from Buenos Aires stands in sharp contrast to such areas of limited agricultural potential. The most extensive level grassland in South America, the Pampa region covers roughly one-quarter of the nation, and its abundance can be credited for turning Argentina into a rising star country at the beginning of the 20th century. Containing some of the richest topsoil in the world, the Pampa is extensively cultivated in wheat and corn and provides year-round pasturage for most of Argentina's 50 million head of cattle.

The Andean region extends from the dry north to the heavily glaciated and ice covered mountains of Patagonia. Its trajectory includes the dry mountains and desert west of Cordoba and south of Tucuman and embraces the irrigated valleys on the eastern slopes and foothills of the Andes.

Patagonia is a region of arid, windswept plateaus, covering about 300,000 square miles. Except for some irrigated valleys, this is poor, scattered pastureland.

The Argentine Mesopotamia, which consists of the provinces between the Uruguay and Parana Rivers, is made up of floodplains and gently rolling grassy hills.

Geography - note:

second-largest country in South America (after Brazil); strategic location relative to sea lanes between the South Atlantic and the South Pacific Oceans (Strait of Magellan, Beagle Channel, Drake Passage); diverse geophysical landscapes range from tropical climates in the north to tundra in the far south; Cerro Aconcagua is the Western Hemisphere's tallest mountain, while Laguna del Carbon is the lowest point in the Western Hemisphere

Climate:

The vast Pampa region fanning out 500 miles from Buenos Aires has an average annual rainfall range of 20 inches in the west to 40 inches in the east.

The Andean region extends from the dry north to the heavily glaciated and ice covered mountains of Patagonia. Its trajectory includes the dry mountains and desert west of Cordoba and south of Tucuman and embraces the irrigated valleys on the eastern slopes and foothills of the Andes. Annual precipitation ranges from 4 to 24 inches in the arid regions and 20 to 120 inches in the heaviest rainfall areas.

Patagonia is a region of arid, windswept plateaus, covering about 300,000 square miles. Except for some irrigated valleys, this is poor, scattered pastureland. Far south, the weather is continuously cold and stormy; the region has no summer, and winters can be severe.

The alluvial plain of the Chaco in the north has a subtropical climate with dry winters and humid summers. Rainfall decreases from 60 to 20 inches, and temperatures reach 120 °F.

The Argentine Mesopotamia, which consists of the provinces between the Uruguay and Parana Rivers, is made up of floodplains and gently rolling grassy hills The greatest precipitation falls in the extreme north of Misiones Province, where it amounts to about 80 inches yearly.

Buenos Aires, located on the southern bank of the Rio de la Plata, borders on the vast Pampa. The terrain within the city varies from low flatland only inches above the high tide line to slightly rolling countryside with a maximum elevation of 129 feet. Average rainfall in Buenos Aires is 39 inches, distributed evenly throughout the year. Humidity is high year round (the yearly mean is 76%). High humidity makes winters seem colder and summers hotter. Abrupt temperature changes are experienced throughout the year, bringing relief from summer's heat and winter's cold.

Argentina Use of Natural Resources

Argentina Environment

Climate:

The vast Pampa region fanning out 500 miles from Buenos Aires has an average annual rainfall range of 20 inches in the west to 40 inches in the east.

The Andean region extends from the dry north to the heavily glaciated and ice covered mountains of Patagonia. Its trajectory includes the dry mountains and desert west of Cordoba and south of Tucuman and embraces the irrigated valleys on the eastern slopes and foothills of the Andes. Annual precipitation ranges from 4 to 24 inches in the arid regions and 20 to 120 inches in the heaviest rainfall areas.

Patagonia is a region of arid, windswept plateaus, covering about 300,000 square miles. Except for some irrigated valleys, this is poor, scattered pastureland. Far south, the weather is continuously cold and stormy; the region has no summer, and winters can be severe.

The alluvial plain of the Chaco in the north has a subtropical climate with dry winters and humid summers. Rainfall decreases from 60 to 20 inches, and temperatures reach 120 °F.

The Argentine Mesopotamia, which consists of the provinces between the Uruguay and Parana Rivers, is made up of floodplains and gently rolling grassy hills The greatest precipitation falls in the extreme north of Misiones Province, where it amounts to about 80 inches yearly.

Buenos Aires, located on the southern bank of the Rio de la Plata, borders on the vast Pampa. The terrain within the city varies from low flatland only inches above the high tide line to slightly rolling countryside with a maximum elevation of 129 feet. Average rainfall in Buenos Aires is 39 inches, distributed evenly throughout the year. Humidity is high year round (the yearly mean is 76%). High humidity makes winters seem colder and summers hotter. Abrupt temperature changes are experienced throughout the year, bringing relief from summer's heat and winter's cold.

Terrain:

rich plains of the Pampas in northern half, flat to rolling plateau of Patagonia in south, rugged Andes along western border

Natural Resources:

fertile plains of the pampas, lead, zinc, tin, copper, iron ore, manganese, petroleum, uranium

Natural Hazards:

San Miguel de Tucuman and Mendoza areas in the Andes subject to earthquakes; pamperos are violent windstorms that can strike the pampas and northeast; heavy flooding in some areas

volcanism: volcanic activity in the Andes Mountains along the Chilean border; Copahue (elev. 2,997 m) last erupted in 2000; other historically active volcanoes include Llullaillaco, Maipo, Planchon-Peteroa, San Jose, Tromen, Tupungatito, and Viedma

Irrigated Land:

60 Square Miles
155 Square Kilometers

Environmental Issues:

environmental problems (urban and rural) typical of an industrializing economy such as deforestation, soil degradation, desertification, air pollution, and water pollution

note: Argentina is a world leader in setting voluntary greenhouse gas targets

Environment - International Agreements:

party to: Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Seals, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands, Whaling

signed, but not ratified: Marine Life Conservation

Argentina Geography

Geographic Location South America
Total Area 1,073,512 Square Miles
2,780,400 Square Kilometers
Land Area 1,056,636 Square Miles
2,736,690 Square Kilometers
Water Area 16,876 Square Miles
43,710 Square Kilometers
Land Boundaries 6,127 Miles
9,861 Kilometers
Irrigated Land 60 Square Miles
155 Square Kilometers
Border Countries Bolivia 832 km, Brazil 1,261 km, Chile 5,308 km, Paraguay 1,880 km, Uruguay 580 km
Coastline 3,100 Miles
4,989 Kilometers
Geographic Coordinates 34 00 S, 64 00 W
Terrain rich plains of the Pampas in northern half, flat to rolling plateau of Patagonia in south, rugged Andes along western border
Highest Point 6,960 Meters
Highest Point Location Cerro Aconcagua 6,960 m (located in the northwestern corner of the province of Mendoza; highest point in South America)
Lowest Point -105 Meters
Lowest Point Location Laguna del Carbon -105 m (located between Puerto San Julian and Comandante Luis Piedra Buena in the province of Santa Cruz)
Natural Resources fertile plains of the pampas, lead, zinc, tin, copper, iron ore, manganese, petroleum, uranium
Time Zone UTC-3 (2 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
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