Final Paper: Peru

Topics: Peru, Andes, South America Pages: 13 (4028 words) Published: June 17, 2013
Final Paper: Peru
GEO 102

(fig. 1) Machu Picchu is the site of an ancient Inca city, high in the Andes of Peru.

The Republic of Peru, (Spanish: República del Perú), or Peru, is a country located on the western edge of South America. It borders Ecuador and Colombia to the north, Brazil to the east and Bolivia and Chile to the southeast.

Peru has a complex geography dominated by the high and rugged Andes and the Pacific currents, which create climates and landscapes as widely varied as the desert coast, the highlands of Andes, and the Amazon rainforest. Peru is one of the most bio-diverse countries in the world and contains a wealth of major extractive resources. The modern Peruvian culture is a result of initial interbreeding between the Andean civilization, the Spanish cultural tradition and African culture. This mixture of cultural traditions has resulted in a wide diversity of expressions in fields such as art, literature, music and cuisine. The main spoken language is Spanish, although a significant number of Peruvians speak different native languages, the most widespread being Southern Quechua. Despite its economic disparities, it is a developing country with a high Human Development Index. Historically, Peru was also an origin of cultivation and one of the early cradles of human civilization on the Earth. This paper will strive to introduce and explore this diverse and unique country.

Peru is in western South America between the equator and the Tropic of Capricorn. It has an area of 1,285,220 km2 (496,226 sq. mi.), making it the twentieth largest country in size, and the third largest in South America. [1] It has an enormous variety of landscapes and natural resources due to its unique geographical conditions.

The territory of Peru is primarily shaped by the interaction of the Nazca and South American tectonic plates. Both plates share a subduction boundary that has formed Andes mountain range and the Peru-Chile Trench. [2] Due to the active subduction boundary in the region, Peru is a highly seismic country with many earthquakes and a major volcanic region in the south. The Peruvian territory is also within the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire.

The Andes Mountains divide the country into three geographic regions: coast (costa), sierra and jungle (selva). The coastal region is a flat desert that runs parallel to the coast, reaching up to 110 miles wide in the desert of Sechura. Among the geographic features that can be found in this region are cliffs, peninsulas, bays and beaches.

The sierra or highland area consists of the Andes. These mountains run roughly parallel to the coastal region from north to south. The northern Andes in Peru are lower and wetter than average and include the lowest point of the Andes, the Porculla Pass, which is 2145 meters (7037 ft.) above sea level. The central Andes are the highest and steepest. It is here where the country's highest peak, Nevado Huascaran, at 6768 meters (22205 ft.). [3] The Southern Andes are thicker than the northern and central Andes. In this sector is the plateau of Collao, also known as the altiplano [4] (high plateau).

The jungle, located to the east, is an extensive plain covered with vegetation consuming almost 60% of land area in Peru. [5] The high jungle (yungas) [6] is located across the eastern flank of the Andes and tapers easterly into the forest floor of the Peruvian Amazon rainforest.

In contrast to other equatorial countries Peru not only presents a tropical climate, the influence of the Andes and the Humboldt Current create great climatic diversity to the Peruvian territory.

The coastal regions of the country range from arid tropical to desert climate, with an average temperature ranging from 18°C (64°F) to 24°C (75°F) and annual rainfall of 150 mm (6 in.) mostly during the summer. When there is no occurrence of El Niño, the average temperature along the coast rises to a maximum of 40°C (104°F) and...

Cited: [16] Noble David Cook. Demographic collapse: Indian Peru, 1520–1620, p. 114.
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