Natural conditions and resources

Features of the relief in Latin America due to the tectonic structure. The land on which it is located, consists of ancient South American platform and the relatively young folding. The first corresponds to the plateau, the plateau (Brazilian, Patagonian and Guiana) in the field raised platform and the lowlands and plains (Amazon, La Plata, etc.) in the field of deflections. The second form of the Cordillera, which in South America called the Andes. It is the longest in the world chain of mountain ranges and massifs, extending to 11 000 km and reaching a height of 6960 m (Mount Aconcagua).

Latin America is rich in mineral raw materials. It accounts for 18% of oil reserves, 30% - of black and alloying metals, 25% - non-ferrous metals and 55% - of rare and dispersed elements of the capitalist world. In some mineral deposits by individual countries of the region ranks first among the capitalist states: for example, iron ore, niobium, beryllium, and rock crystal - Brazil, for copper - Chile; on graphite - Mexico; of antimony and lithium - Bolivia. The presence of promising, but still poorly explored geological structures can expect in the coming years for new mineral deposits. This is where the United States receive up to 70% of the capacity required of strategic raw materials, including more than 90% of tin concentrate and bauxite, about 50% copper and iron ore. This is their diversity - is a consequence of the diversity of tectonic structures.

Rivers of Latin America belong to the basins of two oceans - the Atlantic and Pacific, which are the watershed between the Andes. The first group are mainly lowland rivers, including such major watercourses as the Amazon, La Plata, the Orinoco and others, the second - mainly short mountain rivers. Drainage into the Atlantic Ocean than in the basin of the rivers of the Pacific Ocean 8 times. The most extensive river network are areas of excessive moisture in constant equatorial region and coastal areas and the coastal part of the subtropics in the south-east of South America. For shipping in the most suitable river lowlands. Increasing energy value of the rivers of Latin America, which have huge gidroenergopotentsialom. Especially the potential of mountain streams, rivers, plateaus and permanently humid plains.

In Latin America, quite a lot of lakes of different origin. Largest - withering Laguna Lake Maracaibo. In desert areas, many lakes turned into salt marshes. Large territory in the area occupied by marshes and wetlands landscapes, mainly confined to the valleys of large rivers, flooded 7-8 months of the year.

Plants and Animals


Huge tropical forests - is one of the most important forms of wealth of Latin America. Unfortunately, they are rapidly being cut down, that, as the extermination of any species of plants and animals threatened violation of the fragile balance of nature. These forests are extremely rich and diverse flora and fauna. Only in the Amazon basin, there are at least 40 thousand species of plants, thousands of species of birds 1,5 and 2,5 thousands of freshwater fish. Also, dolphins are found in rivers, electric eels and other amazing creatures. Vegetation can be called a species such as monkey-puzzle and Brazil, the giant Bromeliad, ksilokarpus (karapa), kapok, quinine, chocolate, mahagonievoe, gorlyankovoe, rosewood, voskonosnaya and coconut palms, as well as passion, purslane, "flaming sword" philodendron. The brightest representatives of the fauna: alpaca and vicuña, llama relatives (they are valued for their fur, like chinchillas), rhea (ostrich-like bird), penguins and seals (living in southern South America), a gigantic elephant tortoise. Probably few people know that Latin America - birthplace of the potato, so popular in Russia. Still here collect some reaching overseas medicinal plants. For example, sarsaparilla woody lianas. It is impossible to imagine how complex the food chain here, but you can imagine how fragile the natural ecological balance, how easy it is to break it.

Fuel and energy resources
Latin America has considerable fuel and energy resources: oil (Venezuela, Mexico, Peru, etc.), gas (Bolivia, Venezuela, etc.), coal, uranium. In recent years, have been widely assimilated hydropower. In particular, a construction of the world's largest hydroelectric complex Itaipú on the Parana River on the border between Paraguay and Brazil. Work is underway to find and develop new sources of energy. In some countries (eg Mexico) adopted the program to develop nuclear energy. Widely known Brazilian experience in the use of ethanol derived from sugar cane as a liquid fuel.

Climate and agroclimatic resources
Latin America is located in the subtropical, tropical and subequatorial zones of the Northern Hemisphere; subequatorial, tropical, subtropical and temperate zones of the Southern Hemisphere. Great influence on climate is the intersection with the equator. Due to the fact that in the equatorial region is a very large area, Latin America receives a huge amount of solar energy. This makes the growing season of plants almost year-round and allows you to engage in agriculture. For most of the region is characterized by arid climate types, where the average monthly temperatures of more than +20 ° C, and seasonal changes in climate are manifested mainly in the change of precipitation, not temperature. Seasonal fluctuations in temperature pronounced only in the extreme north and south of Latin America, calling at the subtropical and temperate latitudes (in the Chilean capital of Santiago, for example, the average temperature for the warmest month +20 ° C, the coldest +8 ° C, and Tierra del Fuego — respectively +11 and +2 ° C), as well as in mountainous areas. However, the temperature, as well as humidity depends not only (and sometimes not so much) from the geographical location, but also on topography and air masses. For example, moist air from the Atlantic (as observed here east transport of air masses), passing through the Andes, giving moisture (as rain), which returns to the plains (with the waters of mountain rivers), making the climate is humid. On the Pacific side of the Equator of the Andes (Colombia and Ecuador) and the surrounding coast annual rainfall amounts to 10 000 mm, whereas in the Atacama Desert - one of the most bezdozhdnyh in the world - 1-5 mm. If in the Amazon during the rainy season lasts almost all year round, at the extreme north-east Brazil, it does not exceed 3-4 months, and on the Pacific coast of Peru and northern Chile rains every year. In general, to areas with inadequate moisture is not less than 20% in Latin America. Agriculture is dependent on irrigation. Those mountains do not allow cold air to penetrate into the central parts of Latin America from the Pacific Ocean. But he could easily pass here from the high latitudes (because the mountains are located longitudinally), which occasionally happens, but this phenomenon is of short duration.

Stunning beaches, exceptional climate, beautiful landscapes - all this is inherent in Central America, and in particular the islands of the West Indies. Economically, the Central America and West Indies are known in the world primarily as the region developed plantation agriculture, which are of particular importance of sugar cane, coffee, pineapples and bananas. The ideal place for growing coffee is considered the Pacific Piedmont (slope of the plateau), with its fertile volcanic soil and climatic conditions. In Guatemala coffee grows in the shade of specially planted trees, it contributes to greater accumulation of aromatic substances in beans as compared with solar varieties. Around the same area of sugar cane.

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