South America Physical Geography
Land - Desert Atacama Desert
Driest non-Arctic desert in the world
1 mm of rain per year
Average daily temperature is from 32º-68º F
Similar to the surface of Mars
Land – Andes Mountains Andes Mountains
Run along the Pacific Coast
Longest mountain chain in the world (4,500 miles)
2nd highest mountain ranges in the world (Himalayas are #1)
Soil is extremely rich and fertile, good for farming
Land – Amazon Basin Amazon River
A large area completely surrounded by higher ground (similar to a valley)
Contains the largest tropical rainforest in the world
Land - Highlands
Brazilian Highlands Largest highland area in
Land - Patagonia
Patagonia Large area of plains
located in southern Argentina
South America has two countries that are landlocked Bolivia and Paraguay
Landlocked Surrounded on all
sides by land with no access to the ocean
How does this affect trade in these countries?
Water - Borders
East – Atlantic Ocean West – Pacific Ocean North – Caribbean Sea
Water - Lakes Lake Titicaca
Highest commercially navigable lake in the world
Water - Rivers Amazon River
2nd largest river in the world
Carries more water than any other river in the world
Contains 20% of all fresh water in the world
Serves as a major trade route inland and creates fertile land
Water - Rivers Negro River
Tributary of the Amazon
Largest black water river in the world
Deep, slow-moving channel that flows through forested swamps and wetlands. The color results from the leaching of tannins from the decaying leaves of adjoining vegetation.
Climate Varies greatly
because of the size of the continent (8 zones) Below 0º in the
Andes and over 80º in the Amazon Basin
Receives over 118” of rain in the Amazon Basin each year
Most of South America has a tropical climate
Most of South America is covered by dense rainforests and grasslands
Lumber from the rainforests Medicines are
created from the rainforest
Soil is rich for farming Coffee
Wheat, sugar cane, cotton and rice
Valuable Venezuela Location, climate and natural resources affect
where people live and work. Physical Features . . .
Coastline gives them easy access to trade w Mountains, grassy plains & tropical jungles
Climate in Venezuela . . . Hot and humid – just north of the equator Cooler in the Andes Mountains Rainy
Major natural resource . . . Oil
Where do people choose to live?
Along the coast of the Caribbean Sea and nearby mountain valleys
Mostly urban areas – 88%
Many people work in the rich oil industry.
Large middle class – but also large amounts of poverty
Environmental Issues Oil-related pollution – Venezuela
Water pollution along both coasts and Lake Maracaibo
Severe deforestation, oil spills and air pollution
Oil spills have hurt the fishing industry and closed tourist resorts
Oil is main source of income, so people are motivated to keep drilling, producing, and burning oil…and polluting.
I’ll Trade with You! Venezuela . . . .
Oil products are the government’s main source of revenue
Major trading partners are its neighbors USA, Brazil and Colombia USA provides much of Venezuela’s food
imports since agriculture isn’t a strong industry there.
Where do people choose to live?
Most live near the Atlantic coast in urban areas . . .
Amazon Rainforest used to be sparsely populated, BUT . . .
Government built the Trans-Amazon Highway to connect the coast to Peru.
New capital – Brasilia – was established just south of the Amazon Basin
Tourism to the Amazon Rainforest has also increased
Development in the Amazon is controversial . . . . WHY?
Destruction of rainforests in Brazil…
Trade in Brazil?
Brazil is the largest country on South America . . . Highest population . . . Healthiest economy
Key location along the Atlantic Ocean . . . Allows shipment of goods around the world Top 2 trading partners . . . USA and
Agricultural Products . . . Sugarcane and oranges Coffee – world’s largest producer