The Andes in South America is the longest mountain range in the world.
A mountain range or a mountain chain is a series of geologically linked mountains. These mountains are similar in age, form, and size.
A mountain range can stretch across countries and sometimes even continents.
Here is a List of the Most Extended Mountain Ranges in Descending Order
|Mountain Range||Continent||Length (approx.)|
|The Andes||South America||4,350 miles (7,000 kilometers)|
|The Southern Great Escarpment||Africa||3,100 miles (5,000 kilometers)|
|The Rocky Mountains||North America||3,000 miles (4,800 kilometers)|
|The Transantarctic Mountains||Antarctica||2,200 miles (3,542 kilometers)|
|The Great Dividing Range||Australia||1,900 miles (3,059 kilometers)|
|The Himalayas||Asia||1,600 miles (2,576 kilometers)|
The Andes is the longest mountain range in the world.
These listed mountains are also some of the most famous mountain ranges in the world.
The Andes Mountains is the most extensive mountain range in the world. It stretches over seven countries in South America, namely Venezuela, Columbia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile, and Argentina.
The Andes has three sections – The Southern Andes, The Central Andes, and The Northern Andes.
The Andes stretches for 4,300 miles (7,000 kilometers) and is 120 to 430 miles wide (200 to 700 kilometers), covering the entire western coast of South America.
The highest peak in the Andes is the Aconcagua on the border of Argentina and Chile. It has an elevation of 23,000 feet (7,000 meters).
The world’s highest volcano, Ojos del Salado (22,615 feet/6,893 meters) lies on the border of Argentina and Chile. This mountain range also holds over 50 volcanoes that elevate up to the height of 19,685 feet (6,000 meters).
The Andes mountain range houses a myriad of different volcanoes, glaciers, desert, lakes, grasslands, and forests. The endless exploration opportunities in the archaeological sites, indigenous culture, and the rare flora and fauna attract numerous visitors. Owing to this diverse geography and ecosystem, Andes is one of the major tourist sites in the world.
The Climate of the Andes
The Andes acts as a wall between the Pacific Ocean and South America. Because of this, the impact on climate is tremendous.
Eastern and the southwestern part of the Andes is typically wet. Eastern plains in Argentina have dry weather. West of the range is also arid and is the home of the Atacama Desert in Chile. The northern part is mostly rainy and warm.
The Andes Mountains hold 99 percent of tropical glaciers and are not affected by the balmy temperatures found in the tropics.
Human Settlements in the Andes
The Andes is home to many cities. Some of the major cities are –
- Huarazile (Peru)
- Quito (Ecuador)
- La Paz (Bolivia)
- Bogata (Columbia)
- Pucon (Chile)
The rough terrain and high altitudes make living conditions severe for survival. The oldest remains of civilization date back to 12,000 years.
The renowned ancient civilization, The Inca Civilization, lived in the Andes between the 15th and the 16th centuries before being destroyed by the diseases carried by the European explorers.
Flora and Fauna of the Andes
The Andes is abundant in plant and animal populations. The longest mountain range in the world is home to about 30,000 plant species.
Cinchona pubescens trees found in the region, which produce quinine, is fancied as a treatment for malaria.
It’s fascinating to know that the Andes is also the origin place of potatoes and tomatoes!
Also, coca leaves originated in the Andes. Cocaine is derived from this plant. However, Coca is used as a medicine for altitude sickness and is used as a tea in the Andes.
Forests of Polylepis, members of the rose family, are also found in abundance.
The Andes is home to over 1,000 amphibians, 600 mammals, 1,700 birds, 600 reptiles, and 400 fish species.
The animals found here are rugged, agile, and can keep themselves warm. Some of the well-known animals from the region are Chinchilla, llamas, vicuna, and alpacas.
World’s largest gold mine is in Yanacocha, Peru. An estimated 13,000 tonne of gold is waiting to be extracted.
About 50% of the mined copper is from the Andes. 750 million tons of copper deposits are still lying in the Andes. Approximately 250,000 tons of silver and 20 million tons of molybdenum are yet to be discovered.
The Andes mountain range attracts a considerable number of tourists every year. Tourists who love high-altitude expeditions flock to this mountain range for trekking, hiking, cycling, white water rafting, skiing, stargazing, and rock climbing.
The iconic destination, Machu Picchu, the Lost City of the Incas is a renowned tourist destination.
Some of the major tourist attractions include –
- Andean trek, the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, the ‘Lost City’ of the Incas
- Torres del Paine National Park, one of the world’s top trekking routes
- UNESCO Heritage cities – Cuenca and Quito Indigenous handicraft market, Otavalo, Ecuador
- Avenue of the volcanoes
- Salar de Uyuni, the world’s largest salt flat, also the breeding area of the flamingos
- Perito Moreno Glacier in Argentina
- The Devil’s Nose train ride
- The crater lake, Quilotoa
- Thermal springs in Papallacta
Some Other Facts About the Andes
- The Andes Mountains is called Cordillera de Los Andes or Los Andes in Spanish.
- Altiplano is the second-highest plateau in the world
- Many peaks in the Andes are volcanic and active
- Cotopaxi, Ecuador, is the highest active volcano in the world
- Ojos del Salado is the world’s highest volcano situated on the border of Chile and Argentina
- Amazon is the largest river in the world, having its origin in the Andes.