The relief of South America

The geological structure of South America is connected with its relief. At first glance at the physical map of the continent, it can be divided into three parts: lowland – in the center, plateau – in the east, highland – in the west.

Platforms on the east of the continent correspond to large plains. On the shields stretch the vast plateaus – the Brazilian and Guiana. There are many faults that divided the plateau into separate arrays.

The products of the eruptions of ancient volcanoes form giant “steps” with numerous waterfalls on the rivers. The highest part of the Brazilian plateau is in the southeast, off the coast of the ocean. Inaccessible places of the Guiana Plateau, overgrown with dense forest, gave birth to legends about the “hidden worlds” hidden from the human eye, where giant insects and reptiles existed millions of years ago.

In the depressions of the basement of the platform, covered by a layer of sedimentary

rocks a few kilometers thick, lie the vast lowlands. One of them – the Amazonian lowland – is the largest in the area of ​​the plain of the world. Its territory is only 1.5 times smaller than Australia. The surface of the La Plata and Orinoco lowlands consists of marine and continental deposits. Low relief hardly disturbs the wide river valleys.

The extreme south of the continent within the young platform occupies the plateau of Patagonia, which in the west adjoins the mountains.

The entire western coast of the mainland is the world’s longest mountain system – the Andes, with a length of 9 thousand km. These young mountains consist of several parallel ridges, between which are located plateaus and valleys. Closer, the ridges form very high mountain nodes covered with snow. Many of them exceed 6000 m. Therefore, they say that the Andes are mountain giants whose “feet” stand in the damp heat, and their “heads” are covered with glacial and snow caps. In the Andes there is also the highest point of the entire western hemisphere – the city of Aconcogua – 6959 m.

The mountains continue to form, as evidenced by frequent earthquakes of great strength, active and extinct volcanoes that are part of the Pacific volcanic ring. Among them stands the active volcano San Pedro. From the crater of the Cotopaxi volcano, a gleaming column of steam with a strong smell of sulfur periodically bursts out.

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The relief of South America