Argentina Geography

What is the terrain and geography like in Argentina?


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 topsoils 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

The 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

Argentina Use of Natural Resources

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 the northern half, flat to rolling plateau of Patagonia in the south, the rugged Andes along the 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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