Can’t get enough geography? We’re right there with you. The world is a big, beautiful, fascinating place. Here are a few interesting geography facts related to South America.
1. South America is home to two of the largest countries in the world.
Brazil covers more than half of South America’s landmass, and is the largest country in the Southern Hemisphere and the 5th largest in the world. Argentina is the world’s 8th biggest, and is the largest Spanish-speaking country.
2. The Amazon River has has a LOT of water.
There is some debate over the longest river in the world, but when it comes to the volume rate of water flow, the Amazon river easily takes the cake. The Amazon has an average discharge of 209,000 cubic meters per second. To give you some perspective, the next on the list, the Congo River in Africa, has an average discharge of 41,200 m³/s.
3. Speaking of the Amazon – not a single bridge crosses the river.
Despite being over 4,000 miles long, no bridges cross the Amazon River. In 2010, the first bridge was built over one of the Amazon tributaries (Rio Negro) in the city of Manaus. This was the first bridge ever built in the entire Amazon River system.
4. The driest place on earth might be the Atacama Desert in Chile.
When thinking of South America, rainforests often come to mind. However, the Atacama desert is considered the driest non-polar region on earth. Some weather stations in the Atacama have never received rain.
5. Angel Falls in Venezuela is the highest uninterrupted waterfall in the world.
Located in Canaima National Park, Angels Falls is 3,212 feet high, and its water plunges for 2,648 feet uninterrupted. For obvious reasons, we wouldn’t recommend taking a trip down this waterfall in a barrel.
6. The Andes Mountains are the longest continental mountain range in the world.
The Andes form a continuous highland along the western edge of South America, stretching for 4,300 miles. They have an average height of about 13,000 feet.
7. Mount Chimborazo in Ecuador is the closest mountain to space.
No, we didn’t forget about Mount Everest, which is the highest mountain above sea level. However, thanks to a bulge in the earth’s shape around the equator, Chimborazo is farther from the earth’s center than Everest. Worth noting – by the criterion of elevation above sea level, Chimborazo is not even the highest peak of the Andes.
8. The Amazon Forest is the largest natural rainforest in the world.
At 2.7 million square miles, it covers 40% of South America. The majority of the forest is contained within Brazil (60%).
9. Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia is the world’s largest salt flat at 4,086 square miles.
In the dry season, the salt plains are a completely flat expanse of dry salt, but in the wet season, it is covered with a thin sheet of water.
10. Ushuaia, Argentina, is commonly regarded as the southernmost city in the world.
Located in the Tierra del Fuego Province in Argentina, Ushuaia has a population of 71,000. The town of Puerto Williams in Chile is actually farther south, but with a population of only 2,874, Ushuaia usually gets the nod as southernmost city.
Mark Heald is an Associate Product Manager and Sporcle Admin. He enjoys spending time with his family, traveling, and bemoaning the fact the Sonics left Seattle.