Argentina Geography

Geography in Argentina

Argentina has an area of almost 3 million km², making it the second largest country in South America after Brazil. It borders the Atlantic Ocean to the east, Bolivia and Paraguay to the north, Brazil and Uruguay to the northeast, and Chile to the west. An approximately 60 km long section of the border with Chile, which is located in the southern Patagonian ice field, is not marked as a clearly drawn border, but is occupied by a special zone agreed between the two countries.

The entire western border area is occupied by the Andes, the central north of Argentina by the Gran Chaco, a hot dry savannah. To the east of it joins the hill country of the province of Misiones along the Río Paraná. There are the Iguazú waterfalls at the border triangle Argentina-Paraguay-Brazil; they are about 2.7 kilometers wide and are among the largest on earth.

To the south of it, between the great rivers Río Paraná and Río Uruguay, lies the humid and swampy Mesopotamia with the estuary of the Río de la Plata. To the west and south of the Río de la Plata extend the pampas, a grassy plain in which there are large wheat fields and grazing areas for cattle. Between the pampas and the Andes in central Argentina lie the mountain ranges of the Sierras Pampeanas with heights of 2800 m in the Sierras de Córdoba and up to 6250 m in the Sierra de Famatina in La Rioja.

Patagonia in southern Argentina, which makes up about a quarter of the country’s area, is very sparsely populated. The lowest point in the country and America as a whole is the Laguna del Carbón at 105 m below sea level. It is located between Puerto San Julián and Comandante Luis Piedra Buena in the province of Santa Cruz.

There are many mountains over 6000 m high in the Argentine Andes. They include the highest mountain on the American continent, the Aconcagua with 6961 m height and the two highest volcanoes on earth, the Ojos del Salado with 6880 m and the Monte Pissis with 6795 m. The peaks of the northern Patagonids still point in the southeast of Mendoza 4700 m altitude, and drop to the southeast. In the other areas of Argentina the mountains only reach a height of over 1000 m in exceptional cases.

Argentina’s hydrology is dominated by the tributaries of the Río de la Plata, the Río Paraná and the Río Uruguay, about a third of which are in Argentina and the rest in Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. The second largest catchment area has the Río Colorado in northern Patagonia, whose largest tributary, the Río Salado del Oeste, drains a large part of western Argentina, although a large part of its water volume already evaporates on the way due to the dry climate or seeps into marshland.

Argentina has two larger lake areas, one at the foot of the southern Andes, where a long chain of meltwater lakes extends from the province of Neuquén to Tierra del Fuego and another in the western central pampas with numerous flatland lakes, some of which are only a few meters deep and often salty.

  • Visit listofusnewspapers for mass media including newspaper and culture in Argentina. Also check smber for agriculture and fishing facts of Argentina.

Flora and fauna in Argentina

Argentina has a wide variety of vegetation areas and animal species, depending on its extent from the tropics to the South Pole. Sub-tropical rainforests with giant cedars and laurel trees can be found in the province of Misiones in the northeast. Another specialty are the extremely resistant quebracho trees (ax breaker trees) in Mesopotamia, from whose heartwood tannin and from whose bark tannins are obtained. Xeromorphs, ie plants protected from drying out by certain protective devices such as thorn bushes and cacti, are found in the Gran Chaco, wide grassland with a large variety of wild grasses in the pampa húmeda. In eastern Patagonia there are barren steppes, in southern Tierra del Fuego forests with pseudo-beeches and araucarias (Andean firs). Many different types of herbs grow throughout Patagonia, Wild grasses and blackberry bushes. In the Andes there are not only conifers, but also hard deciduous trees and alders. In the Puna, a highland in the middle of the Cordilleras, densely leafy cushion plants and especially tola heather occur above 3,500 m.

The very species-rich fauna of Argentina includes mammals such as monkeys, jaguars, pumas, ocelots, anteaters, tapirs and raccoons in the north. Native birds include flamingos and various species of hummingbirds and parrots. Armadillos, foxes, martens, wild cats, hares, deer and the rhea, an ostrich-like flightless bird, live in the pampas and partly also in Patagonia. Bird species include hawks, herons, plovers and partridges. The pig breeds that live in the wild in Patagonia today come from the domestic pig that the European settlers once brought into the country. The colder mountain regions of the Andes are home to llamas and condors, among others. In the coastal waters there are numerous fish and sea lions, in the rivers inland there are large numbers of freshwater fish.

Flora in Argentina

National parks and nature conservation in Argentina

There are 36 national parks and a large number of other protected areas in Argentina. The largest national park with an area of almost 7300 km² is the Los Glaciares National Park in Patagonia. The UNESCO World Heritage Site protects the unique landscape of the Perito Moreno Glacier, the Upsala Glacier and the Viedma Glacier.

The Nahuel Huapi National Park at the source lake of the Río Limay is almost as big. The area lies on the border between the provinces of Neuquén and Río Negro in northern Patagonia.

The 680 km² large Iguazú National Park is located in northern Argentina and protects the Iguazú waterfalls, the largest waterfalls in the world, as well as the surrounding areas of the Atlantic rainforests.

Talampaya National Park: The unique rock formations in combination with the remains of dinosaurs, petroglyphs and ruins make the national park a real experience. It has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2000.

El Leoncito National Park: The El Leoncito National Park is located in the west of the province of San Juan in an Andean valley and thus in the west of Argentina, the so-called Cuyo region. It protects a desert to steppe-like highland on which the El Leoncito observatory stands, which is known for the particularly clear sky in the region, and is 89,706 hectares in size.

About the author