Cambridge Encyclopedia » Cambridge Encyclopedia Vol. 5

Andes - Physical features, Peaks

ranges bolivia peru colombia

Major mountain range in South America, running parallel to the Pacific coast from Tierra del Fuego (S) to the Caribbean (N), passing through Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, and Venezuela; extends over 6400 km/4000 mi; rises to 6960 m/22 834 ft in the Cerro Aconcagua (Argentina), the highest point in South America; in N Argentina, Bolivia, Peru, and Colombia, there are several parallel ranges (cordilleras) and high plateaux; highest peaks are in the Cordillera Agostini on the Chile–Argentina border, with many lakes and tourist resorts; Puna de Atacama to the N, a desolate plateau, average height 3350–3900 m/11 000–12 800 ft; C Andes in Bolivia covers two-fifths of the country in an elevated plateau (altiplano) of 3000–3600 m/9800–11 800 ft, enclosing L Poopó and L Titicaca; Bolivian Andes split into E and W ranges (Cordillera Oriental/Occidental); system divides into many separate ranges in Peru; narrows in Ecuador, and includes such active volcanoes as Chimborazo (6310 m/20 702 ft) and Cotopaxi (5896 m/19 344 ft); three main ranges in Colombia (Cordillera Occidental/Central/Oriental); system continues NE into Venezuela as the Sierra Nevada de Mérida; connects via E Panama to the C American ranges.

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