Argentina - Geography

Geography

Argentina is situated in southern South America, with the Andes on the west and the South Atlantic Ocean to the east and south. Argentina has a total surface area (excluding the Antarctic claim and areas controlled by the United Kingdom) of 2,780,400 km2 (1,073,500 sq mi); of this, 43,710 km2 (16,880 sq mi), or 1.57%, is water. Argentina has six main regions. The Pampas are fertile lowlands located in the center and east. The Mesopotamia is a lowland enclosed by the Paraná and Uruguay rivers, and the Gran Chaco is between the mesopotamia and the Andes. Cuyo is at the east side of the Andes, and the Argentine Northwest is at the North of it. The Patagonia is a large plateau to the south.

The highest point above sea level is in the Mendoza province at Cerro Aconcagua (6,959 m (22,831 ft)), also the highest point in the Southern and Western Hemisphere. The lowest point is Laguna del Carbón in Santa Cruz province, −105 m (−344 ft) below sea level. This is also the lowest point in South America. The easternmost continental point is northeast of Bernardo de Irigoyen, Misiones, the westernmost in the Perito Moreno National Park in Santa Cruz province. The northernmost point is at the confluence of the Grande de San Juan and Mojinete rivers in Jujuy province, and the southernmost is Cape San Pío in Tierra del Fuego.

The major rivers are the Paraná (the largest), the Pilcomayo, Paraguay, Bermejo, Colorado, Río Negro, Salado and the Uruguay. The Paraná and the Uruguay join to form the Río de la Plata estuary, before reaching the Atlantic. Regionally important rivers are the Atuel and Mendoza in the homonymous province, the Chubut in Patagonia, the Río Grande in Jujuy and the San Francisco River in Salta.

The 4,725 km (2,936 mi) long Atlantic coast varies between areas of sand dunes and cliffs. The continental platform, the Patagonian Shelf, is unusually wide; this shallow area of the Atlantic is called the Argentine Sea. The two major ocean currents affecting the coast are the warm Brazil Current and the cold Falkland Current. Because of the unevenness of the coastal landmass, the two currents alternate in their influence on climate and do not allow temperatures to fall evenly with higher latitude. The southern coast of Tierra del Fuego forms the north shore of the Beagle Channel.

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