Chile is a republic located in southwestern South America. On the north side of Chile lies Peru, to the east is Bolivia and Argentina, and on the south Peru is bounded by the Pacific Ocean. The Archipelagoes Islands extend along the southern coast of Chile from Chiloé Island to Cape Horn. Among these islands are the Chonos Archipelago, Wellington Island, and the western portion of Tierra del Fuego. Some other islands that belong to Chile include the Juan Fernández Islands, Easter Island, and Sala y Gómez. All of these islands lie in the South Pacific. Chile also happens to claim a section of Antarctica. The capital and largest city of Chile is Santiago.
Land and Resources
The most dominant physical feature in Chile are the Andes Mountains, which extend the entire length of the country, from the Bolivian plateau in the north to Tierra del Fuego in the south.
Chile can be divided in to three topographic zones: the lofty Andean cordillera on the east; the low coastal mountains on the west; and the plateau area, which includes the Central Valley, between these ranges. Three major geographical and climatological regions can be distinguished: the northern (arid), central (Mediterranean), and southern (temperate marine) regions.
The ranges of the Andes are the widest in the northern region. This forms broad plateaus that contain the country's highest peak, Ojos del Salado, which is located on the border with Argentina. The plateau area is occupied by the great Atacama Desert, which contains vast nitrate fields and rich mineral deposits.
In the central region the plateau gives way to a valley, known as the Central valley. The valley, which ranges form 40 to 80 km (25 to 50 mi) in width, is the most heavily populated area of the country. The fertile area between the Aconcagua and Biobío rivers forms the agricultural heartland of Chile. The central Andes are narrower in width and have lower elevation that those in the
Cited: Fellmann, Getis, and Getis. Human Geography, Sixth Edition, Updated Edition. McGraw Hill. New York, 2001. Hudson, Espendhade. Goode 's World Atlas, 20th Edition. Rand McNally, 2000.