South America

See places in South America

Amazon Rainforest

Rain forests occur in tropical areas around the equator. Intense rainfall causes rapid and luxuriant growth of vegetation. Amazon rain forest is the largest rainforest in the world and covers an area of ​​7,000,000 km ², the lower parts of the Andes to the Brazilian Atlantic coast.

Amazon rain forest is important for the environment on the globe and chewing on it wszytkich organisms. Trees assimilate carbon dioxide, contributing to the formation of the so-called. greenhouse effect, ie, global warming, which may cause melting of the polar ice caps and – consequently – the great floods. The trees also give off oxygen necessary for life to people and animals.

Some trees in the rain forest reaches rare size (over 60 m). Their leaves form umbrella-vault, which block the access of light to the lower parts of rośliności, limiting their vegetation.

The world of animals in the Amazon is surprisingly diverse and rich. At the end of the nineteenth century English naturalist am confident classified 14,712 species of animals, with over 8 thousand. until then unknown. Now we know more than 100 thousand. species of animals and birds and at least 270 thousand. beetles. Probably millions more waiting to be discovered.

 

 

Vertices Paine

Country: Chile
Frequency range: the Cordillera del Paine, Patagonia, Andy
First ascent: Christian Bonington and Don Whillans

Torres del Paine – massif belonging to the mountainous Cordillera del Paine in Chile lies in Patagonia. It is located 400 km north of Punta Arenas and about 2500 km south of the Chilean capital Santiago de Chile.

The massif consists of three towers of rock:

  • Southern: probably the highest, with a height of about 2500 m above sea level, captured by Armando Aste,
  • Middle (2460 m) was captured in 1963 by Chris Bonington and Don Whillansa,
  • North (2260 m): acquired by Guido Monzino.

Not yet been carried out accurate measurements of peak heights and measurements given are based on estimates and often differ significantly from each other.

National Park Torres del Paine

Part of a mountain with an area of ​​2.400 km ² is protected within the National Park Torres del Paine (Spanish: Parque Nacional Torres del Paine). This area was first reserve, created in 1959, then converted into a national park. In 1978, UNESCO inscribed it to an organization on the list of biosphere reserves.

In the park there are numerous glaciers and lakes, as well as the monumental rock formations. There is an abundance of animal species, including gwanako, rheas, flamingos and condors.

Andes in South America is a chain built of granite covered with a layer of shale. In niekórych places, due to movements inside the earth, the mass beneath the surface of the granite they found her in the form of columns pushed to the surface. The action of glaciers caused the erosion of these formations. Currently, these are rock towers with rounded tops and steep, sometimes vertical walls.

In this way, originated in southern Chile Paine peaks. There are two peaks built of gray granite, finished with a layer of black shale.

They just ascend to 2545 meters above sea level, however, dominate the surrounding neighborhood meadows, marshes and moss-covered multi-colored lakes of crystalline water.

Roraima massif

Country: Brazil, Venezuela, Guyana
Height: 2810 m above sea-level
Prominence: 2338 m
First ascent: 1884 E. im Thurn and H. Perkins

Roraima – tepui highest mountain (2810 m) lies on the border of Venezuela, Guyana, and Brazil, in the Canaima National Park, the Guiana Highlands. This is one of two available for visiting tepui (entrance and back together takes about 5 days and is only possible with a guide.) The conditions at the top are extremely difficult for plants.

Sources of the river are here: Branco and Caroni. The top has an interesting geological form is characterized by vertical walls and a flat top. Roraima and the surrounding tepui are considered by some of the oldest geological formations on Earth, reaching the Precambrian era. Rock formations and endemic plants like the world dating back more than a half-billion years. One-third of the plants Roraimy not occur anywhere else in the world. There also exist a few animals that have adapted to extreme conditions. An interesting discovery was a black frog, which was known previously only from Africa. This confirms the theory that these two continents were once joined. Some researchers believed that Roraima is the last lost world – that they live on that plateau last great dinosaurs, such as for example Tyrannosaurus rex and pterodactyl, big tarantulas, monkeys-like australopithecines or other fossil apes. Currently, the plateau is available on five-day guided tours so it is certain that such animals do not occur there. The first ascent to the top of Everard im Thurn made and Inniss Harry Perkins in 1884.

Highlands of Venezuela and the countries lying east of them up on the north side of the Amazon, the great semicircle of mountains table. In a place where touching the borders of three countries – Venezuela, Brazil and Guyana – the biggest lie of them, called Roraima massif. £ ańcuch this, attaining an altitude of 2810 meters, rises on the plain as the nose of the great ship.

Plateau dates back 300 million years old and was once the bottom of large, shallow lakes and deltas. With time the area was wypiętrzony by motions of the earth, and under the influence of erosion created the mountains and rocky outcrops.

In some places, preserved in the rocks left by the rippling water. It can be seen on top of the mountains. Roraima is a local name, a significant mother stream – often falling tytaj torrential rains fed rivers in the three neighboring countries.

Salar de Uyuni

Salar de Uyuni – salt pan, dried salty residue on the lake in the southwestern Bolivian altiplano in the Andes. It occupies an area of ​​10 582 km ², making it the largest solniskiem world. It is situated at an altitude of about 3653 m above sea-level and, together with the lakes Titicaca and Poopó existing remnant of the Pleistocene lake Ballivián. This is one of the most flat areas in the world (elevation difference is less than 41 cm).

Saline soils cover the surface of the shell which is extremely rich in brine point. It is estimated that 50-70% of the world’s lithium resources.

Altiplano (high plain) is a vast plateau in the Andes in Bolivia, located more than 3 thousand. m above sea-level At its southern end, there are several salt lakes, formed at the end of the last ice age (about 10 thousand. Years ago), when the ice melted and the water evaporated.

The biggest and most impressive is the lake Salar de Uyuni. Every winter it is filled with rainwater, forming a shallow body of water. In summer the water evaporates, leaving salt on the surface layer with a thickness of up to 6 m. The glossy mirror-like surface of the saline soils can drive a car.

On the southern edge of the Altiplano only grow cacti. Located on the area lakes differ in coloration and structure: they are brick-red, green, turquoise or silver-gray, depending on the minerals contained in the salt.

 

Lake Asphalt

Lake Asphalt (Pitch Lake) – the place of the natural flow of asphalt onto the surface of Earth, located on the island of Trinidad near the town of La Brea. The surface of this “lake” is 46 ha, maximum depth determined by gravimetric measurements – 106 m. Powered from shallow subsurface deposits of bitumen, is composed of a mixture of water, bitumen, and gas in the form of a semi-liquid emulsion. On the surface this mixture hardens the party, creating the hard edges of the asphalt crust.

The genesis of Lake Asphalt is not fully understood, it is assumed that the lake basin was formed due to ejections of gas and mud (mud volcano), perhaps with the participation of the earthquake. Defaulting shallowly beneath the surface of crude oil, which escapes, the process of transformation – the loss of volatile components and partially oxidize and polymerize the other, thereby forming a natural asphalt.

Lake discovered by Europeans in 1595, Sir Walter Raleigh, who used asphalt as a sealing material for the hulls of ships. In later centuries, operated on an industrial scale, since the beginning of the nineteenth century, the asphalt of the lake was used as material for road construction after the treatment is characterized by very good properties (resistance to high temperatures – above 90 ° C). It covered, among others Washington’s Pennsylvania Avenue, in which the White House.

When the English explorer Sir Walter Raleigh landed in Trinidad in the West Indies in 1595, he was the first European who heard about the Tierra de Brea or Picha, where there are large deposits of tar (bitumen or asphalt). It’s strange, but fascinating place, probably with the largest deposits of tar in the world, is now known as Lake Asphalt Trynidadzkie.

Lake occupies an area of ​​44 hectares and is 82 m deep. Created 50 million years ago from the decaying remains of sea creatures. As a result of this process produced hydrocarbons, which pass through permeable rocks. Later, the movement of rocks was elevated to the surface, and the sun spiekło skorkupę them so hard that you can walk on it.

Asphalt on the surface of the lake creates dark platinum, and in the hollows between them collected rainwater. The lake is in constant motion because the asphalt is moving from the center outwards. As a result of gas evolution, from time to time hear a strange gurgle.

 

Pantanal Swamp

Pantanal – a vast alluvial plain in South America. It extends to central-western Brazil (states of Mato Grosso and Mato Grosso do Sul), eastern Bolivia, northeastern Paraguay. The name comes from the Pantanal Portuguese word meaning swamp Pantano. When the Portuguese arrived in these areas took them inland sea. This area is regularly flooded by the Paraguay River and its tributaries. Covers an area of ​​200 thousand. km ². This area is characterized by richness and diversity of nature.

Seasonality

The plain is shaped by two seasons – dry and rainy. The rainy season lasts the summer or here from October to March. Annual rainfall from 1000 to 1400 mm. Due to the small slope (2 cm / km), water builds up and floods the entire lowlands, leaving only small fragments – located above the island, where he focuses on animals. In the dry season – from April to September – the area dries creating a savanna.

Flora

On the plain there are several ecosystems:

  • In the south of dry tropical forests, green only during the rainy season.
  • East open Cerrado savannah – High Pantanal.
  • Northern humid tropical forests.
  • Bolivia is closer to the lake, and even brackish lagoons.

Seasonal changes of climate and topographical differences meant that occur here both bog vegetation, seasonally flooded meadows like vegetation, and various types of forests. On the sands dominated by Cerrado, and grassy vegetation on clays – the so-called Low Pantanal.

Fauna

World plains animals is also very diverse.

There are about 80 species of mammals. These include among others: jaguar, puma, ocelot, maned wolf, arirania, great ant-eater, swamp deer, peccaries, tapir, giant armadillo, and capybara. The latter during the dry season is observed in flocks of up to 100 individuals. There are also five species of monkeys.

The richness of this region is above all the size of the birdlife. So far, described over 700 species of birds (about 500 in Europe). There exist 45 species of predatory birds and 26 species of parrots. In addition, mention should be made zimorodku, długoszponie, and wężówce. The stork wading birds meet, żabiru, herons, and ibis. There is also rhea. Pantanal is the largest and najzasobniejszym wintering area for birds of North America.

Among the 50 species of reptiles, caimans and should be distinguished anaconda, although the latter species is rather rare.

The rivers Pantanalu live 260 species of fish of various shapes, sizes, and colors, among them several species of piranha. It is completed by thousands of species of butterflies.

Between the Bolivian mountains in the west and the highlands of Brazil to the east is one of the largest wetlands you call. Pantanal is a region of large river plains, stretching for 160 km in length along the eastern bank of the river Paraguay and dealing with an area of ​​100 thousand. sq km, comparable eg to the surface of Iceland.

Every year, when the river pours Paraguay. Pantanal turns into a huge swamp, and water is only the tops of some hills.

Between November and March the area Pantanalu 200-300 mm of rainfalls. Floods begin in December, but the water reaches the highest level in June. During this period many of the animals living there moved to the south, in drier areas. In the waters of live caimans Pantanalu żakare, capybara (water pig) and large otter, and the anaconda, which reach a length of 6 m that lurk in the shallows, to attack the victim and suffocate them.