Friday, July 19, 2013

Geography of Col;ombia

The Republic of Colombia is located in the northwestern region of South America, bordering to the east with Venezuela and Brazil; to the south with Ecuador and Peru; to the North with the Atlantic Ocean, through the Caribbean Sea; and to the west with Panama and the Pacific Ocean.26th largest nation in the world and the fourth-largest country in South America after Brazil, Argentina, and Peru. Despite its large territory, Colombia's population is not evenly distributed, with most Colombians living in the mountainous western portion of the country as well as the northern coastline, most living in or near the capital city of Bogotá. The southern and eastern portions of the country are mostly sparsely inhabited tropical rainforest, and inland tropical plains containing small farming communities and indigenous tribes.
 natural region, from the Andes mountain range, a region shared with Ecuador, Venezuela; the Pacific Ocean coastal region shared with Panama and Ecuador; the Caribbean Sea coastal region, shared with Venezuela and Panama; the Llanos (plains), shared with Venezuela; to the Amazon Rainforest region shared with Venezuela, Brazil, Peru and Ecuador. Colombia is the only South American country which borders both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.
Near the Ecuadorian frontier, the Andes Mountains divide into three distinct, roughly parallel chains, called cordilleras, that extend northeastward almost to the Caribbean Sea. Altitudes reach more than 18,700 ft (5,700 m), and mountain peaks are permanently covered with snow. The elevated basins and plateaus of these ranges have a moderate climate that provides pleasant living conditions and in many places enables farmers to harvest twice a year. Torrential rivers on the slopes of the mountains produce a large hydroelectric power potential and add their volume to the navigable rivers in the valleys. In the late 1980s, approximately 78 percent of the country's population lived in the Andean highlands
Colombia usually classifies its geography into five
Despite this The World Factbook makes no difference between Amazon region of Colombia (predominantly jungle) and the Orinoquia region of Colombia (predominantly plains). The World Factbook considers most appropriate to divide the country into four geographic regions: the Andean highlands, consisting of the three Andean ranges and intervening valley lowlands; the Caribbean lowlands coastal region; the Pacific lowlands coastal region, separated from the Caribbean lowlands by swamps at the base of the Isthmus of Panama; and eastern Colombia, the great plain that lies to the east of the Andes Mountains.
The chief western mountain range, the Cordillera Occidental, is a moderately high range with peaks reaching up to about 15,000 ft (4,572 m) (4,670 m). The Cauca River Valley, an important agricultural region with several large cities on its borders, separates the Cordillera Occidental from the massive Cordillera Central. Several snow-clad volcanoes in the Cordillera Central have summits that rise above 17,000 ft (5,182 m). The valley of the slow-flowing and muddy Magdalena River, a major transportation artery, separates the Cordillera Central from the main eastern range, the Cordillera Oriental. The peaks of the Cordillera Oriental are moderately high. This range differs from Colombia's other mountain ranges in that it contains several large basins. In the east, the sparsely populated, flat to gently rolling eastern lowlands called llanos cover almost 60 percent of the country's total land area.
This cross section of the republic does not include two of Colombia's regions: the Caribbean coastal lowlands and the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, both in the northern part of the country. The lowlands in the west are mostly swampy; the reed-filled marshes of the area are called ciénagas by the people of Colombia. The Guajira Peninsula in the east is semiarid. The Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta is a spectacular triangular snowcapped block of rock that towers over the eastern part of this lowland. Here can be found the highest peak of the country named Pico Cristobal Colon (5775 m).
The Caribbean lowlands consist of all of Colombia north of an imaginary line extending northeastward from the Golfo de Urabá to the Venezuelan frontier at the northern extremity of the Cordillera Oriental. The semiarid Guajira Peninsula and Guajira-Barranquilla xeric scrub, in the extreme north, bear little resemblance to the rest of the region. In the southern part rises the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, an isolated mountain system with peaks reaching heights over 5,700 meters (18,701 ft) and slopes generally too steep for cultivation.
The Caribbean lowlands region is in roughly the shape of a triangle, the longest side of which is the coastline. Most of the country's commerce moves through Cartagena, Barranquilla, Santa Marta, and the other ports located along this important coast. Inland from these cities are swamps, hidden streams, and shallow lakes that support banana and cotton plantations, countless small farms, and, in higher places, cattle ranches
The western third of the country is the most geographically complex. Starting at the shore of the Pacific Ocean in the west and moving eastward at a latitude of 5 degrees north, a diverse sequence of features is encountered. In the extreme west are the very narrow and discontinuous Pacific coastal lowlands, which are backed by the Serranía de Baudó, the lowest and narrowest of Colombia's mountain ranges. Next is the broad region of the Río Atrato/Río San Juan lowland, which has been proposed as a possible alternate to the Panama Canal as a human-made route between the Atlantic and the Pacific oceans. Colombia occupies most of the Andes mountain range northern extremity sharing a bit with Venezuela which splits into three branches between the Colombia-Ecuador border.
The area east of the Andes includes about 699,300 square kilometers, or three-fifths of the country's total area, but Colombians view it almost as an alien land. The entire area, known as the eastern plains, was home to only 2% of the country's population in the late 1980s. The Spanish term for plains (llanos) can be applied only to the open plains in the northern part, particularly the piedmont areas near the Cordillera Oriental, where extensive cattle raising is practiced.