physical geography of latin america

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This is a PowerPoint Presentation about the physical geography of Latin America. It includes information about landforms, waterways, natural resources, and climate and vegetation.


  • 1. Latin AmericaMrs. MinksWorld Geography & Cultures

2. Why it mattersUnique blend of world cultures includingNative AmericanEuropeanAfricanDiverse cultures have spreadMany Americans are of Latin American descentU.S. and many countries in Latin America are close trading partnersShare democratic values based on human rights and revolt from European rule 3. Latin AmericaSpans more than 85 degrees of latitudeEncompasses Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean Islands, and South AmericaRegion of contrasts High mountainsBroad plateausLow lying PlainsRain forestsExpansive river systems 4. Largest in the WorldLongest mountain rangeAndes Mountains: 4,500 miles(Rockies are ???? Miles)Largest river in the worldAmazon River7,000,000 cubic feet per second 5. LandformsLatin America (LA) located in Western Hemisphere16% of Earths land surfaceDivided into three subregionsMiddle America (Mexico to Panama)The CaribbeanSouth America 6. Mountains and PlateausMountain Range begins in North America as Rockies and extends to South Americassouthern tipMountains change names:In Mexico they are the Sierra MadreIn Central America they are the Central HighlandsIn South America they are the AndesRugged Landscape caused by its location along the Pacific Ring of Fire where platesin the Earths crust have collided for millions of years, forming mountains andvolcanoes and causing earthquakes. 7. Port-au-PrincePlate movement continues to change the landscape. In 2010, an earthquake struckHaitis capital, Port-au-Prince, causing thousands of buildings to collapse and largenumbers of people to die. 8. Mountains of Middle America &CaribbeanMexicos Sierra Madre mountain ranges surround the densely populated MexicanPlateau.Central Mexico has mild climate, fertile volcano soil, and adequate rainfall.The Central Highlands are a chain of volcanic peaks that cross Central America.Many Caribbean islands are part of the mountain range.The islands are volcanic peaks, and some are still active, which makes living therehazardous. 9. Andes of South AmericaAndes stretch for 4,500 miles along the western edge of South America.Worlds longest mountain chain and one of the highest with peaks up to 20,000 ft.Andes consist of cordilleras, several ranges that run parallel to one another.Cordilleras caused settlements to be isolated resulting in some mountain villages withcenturies old social customs.In Peru and Bolivia, the Andes encircle the altiplano which means high plain. 10. Highlands of BrazilEastern South America marked with broad plateaus and valleys.The Malto Grosso Plateau is a sparsely populated plateau of forests and grasslandsthat spreads across Brazil, Bolivia, and Peru.Further east lie the Brazilian Highlands, a vast area spanning several climate andvegetation zones.The warm climate and open spaces of the Brazilian Highlands make the BrazilianHighlands important for raising livestock.The eastern highlands plunge to the Atlantic Ocean, forming a steep slope called anescarpment. 11. Lowlands and PlainsBrazil has one of the longest strips ofcoastal plain in the region, beginning inthe Northeast and winding southward toUruguay.The escarpment rising from the coast tothe highlands presents obstacles forinland development. As a result, most ofBrazils population lives along the coast. 12. Water SystemsLatin Americas waterways transport people and goods to different parts of the regionand world.The Amazon River flows about 4,000 miles from the Peruvian Andes to the Atlanticcoast of Brazil.The Amazon is the Western Hemispheres longest river and the worlds secondlongest.South American rivers provide commercial water routes between cities andhydroelectric power electricity generated from the energy of moving water. 13. How hydroelectric power works 14. Other RiversAfter coursing through inland areas, the many rivers of South America flow into abroad estuary called Rio de la Plata or River of the Silver and it flows from there tothe Atlantic Ocean.Middle Americas rivers are generally small, with one important exception. The RioGrande is large and forms part of the border between Mexico and the United States. 15. Panama CanalPanama Canal is another significantwaterway, though it is human-made.The canal allows ships to travel betweenthe Atlantic and Pacific Oceans withouthaving to sail around the southern tip ofSouth America. 16. How the Canal Works 17. TO DOLocate the following on the blank outline map ofLatin America: Andes, Mexican Plateau, MatoGrasso Plateau, Brazilian Highlands, Amazon River,Rio de la Plata, Rio Grande 18. Natural ResourcesSome LA countries among worlds leading producers of energy resources.Major deposits of oil and gas lie in mountain valleys or in offshore areas along theGulf of Mexico and the southern Caribbean Sea.These resources have especially helped boost the economies of Mexico andVenezuela.Oil rigs in Latin America 19. Mineral ResourcesIn addition to energy resources, Latin America is rich in a number of mineralresources.The foothills along Venezuelas Orinoco River has large amounts of goldPeru and Mexico are known for silverColumbian mines produce the worlds finest emeraldsChile is the largest exporter of copperJamaica is the leading producer of bauxite, the main source of aluminum 20. All is not equalBecause of diverse landforms, the regions resources are not evenly distributed.Natural resources in LA are kept from being developed due toGeographic inaccessibilityLack of capital (money) for developmentSocial and political divisions 21. Elevation and ClimateThough located in theTropics, some areas of LAare more affected byelevation than by distancefrom the Equator.These areas have verticalclimate zones in which soil,crops, livestock, and climatechange as altitudeincreases. 22. Five vertical climate zonesTierra helada frozen land. Zone of permanent snow and ice on peaks of Andes.16,000 feetPuna cold zone. Supports some grasses suitable for grazing sheep, llamas, & alpaca.12,000 16,000 feetTierra fria cold land. Winter frosts common, but potatoes & barley grow well. This isMiddle Americas highest climate zone. 6,000 12,000 feetTierra templada temperate land. Most densely populated of the zones; coffee & cornare the main crops. 2,500 6,000 feetTierra caliente hot land. Rain forests abounding with bananas, sugar, rice, and cacao.Sea level 2,500 feet 23. Climate and Vegetation RegionsTropical WetTropical rain forest vegetation dominates much of the region.Worlds largest expanse of tropical rain forest the Amazon.Amazon rain forest shelters more species of plants and animals per sq. mile thananywhere else on Earth.Amazon Rainforest 24. Climate and Vegetation RegionsTropical DryTypical of the coast ofsouthwestern Mexico, mostCaribbean islands, andnorth-central South America.High temps and abundantrainfall but also experience along dry season.Grasslands flourish.Los Llanos, Columbia 25. Climate and Vegetation RegionsHumid SubtropicalPrevails over much of southeastern South America.Winters short with cool to mild temps.Summers are long, hot, and humid.Short grasses are natural vegetation.Southern Cone Grasslands, Paraguay 26. Climate and Vegetation RegionsDry ClimatesParts of Mexico, coastal Peru and Chile, and southeastern coast of Argentina havedesert climates and vegetation.Cold air and high elevations result in very little precipitation.The Atacama Desert in Chile is a coastal desert so arid that in some places norainfall has ever been recorded.Areas of vegetation are calledmeadows of the desert.Atacama Desert, Chile 27. TO DOLabel all of the countries in Latin America onyour blank outline map.