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Facts about the Andes Mountains for Kids


The Andes is the longest continental mountain range in the world. The Andes extend from north to south through seven South American countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela. The Andes is the location of several high plateaux – some of which host major cities such as Quito, Bogotá, Arequipa, Medellín, Sucre, and La Paz.

  • The Andes range is the world’s highest mountain range outside of Asia.
  • The highest peak, Mount Aconcagua, rises to an elevation of about 6,962 m (22,841 ft) above sea level.
  • The peak of Chimborazo in the Ecuadorean Andes is farther from Earth’s center than any other location on Earth’s surface, due to the equatorial bulge resulting from Earth’s rotation.
  • The Leeward Antilles islands Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao, which lie in the Caribbean Sea off the coast of Venezuela, were thought to represent the submerged peaks of the extreme northern edge of the Andes range, but ongoing geological studies indicate that such a simplification does not do justice to the complex tectonic boundary between the South-American and Caribbean plates.
  • The Andes are a Mesozoic – Tertiary orogenic belt of mountains along the Pacific Ring of Fire, a zone of volcanic activity that encompasses the Pacific rim of the Americas as well as the Asia-Pacific region.
  • The Andes are the result of plate tectonics processes, caused by the subduction of oceanic crust beneath the South American plate.
  • The main cause of the rise of the Andes is the compression of western rim of the South American Plate due to the subduction of the Nazca Plate and the Antarctic Plate.
  • To the east, the Andes range is bounded by several sedimentary basins such as Orinoco, Amazon Basin, Madre de Dios and Gran Chaco which separates the Andes from the ancient cratons in eastern South America.
  • The Andes range has many active volcanoes, which are distributed in four volcanic zones separated by areas of inactivity.
  • The Andean volcanism is a result of subduction of the Nazca Plate and Antarctic Plate underneath the South American Plate.
  • In the forelands of the Atacama desert some of the largest porphyry copper mineralizations occurs making Chile and Peru the first and second largest exporters of copper in the world.
  • The climate in the Andes varies greatly depending on latitude, altitude, and proximity to the sea.
  • The Andes of Chile and Argentina can be divided in two climatic and glaciological zones; the Dry Andes and the Wet Andes.
  • In the high Andes of central Chile and Mendoza Province rock glaciers are larger and more common than glaciers; this is due to the high exposure to solar radiation.
  • The small tree Cinchona pubescens, a source of quinine which is used to treat malaria, is found widely in the Andes as far south as Bolivia.
  • The high-altitude Polylepis forests and woodlands are found in the Andean areas of Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and Chile.
  • The rough terrain has historically put the costs of building highways and railroads that cross the Andes out of reach of most neighboring countries, even with modern civil engineering practices.