Terrain shapes and bedrock
COUNTRYAAH, Colombia has great contrasts within its borders and harsh
natural environments as a result of both topography and
climate. The western part of the country is penetrated by
the Andes with their high, snow-capped peaks and cool
plateaus, while the low, hot swamps of the upper Amazon and
Orinoco rivers fill its eastern and southeastern parts.
Colombia is also the only country in South America that has
longer coastlines along both the Pacific and the Caribbean.
The highlands of the Andes, which meets the
western part of Colombia, is the dominant landform region.
It is the northernmost part of one of the world's highest
and youngest mountain ranges, which has emerged by
compressing the Nazca plate in the southeastern Pacific
Ocean and lifting the western part of the South American
plate. This process is still in operation, which is
reflected in the numerous earthquakes in Colombia. The rocks
that make up the highlands are predominantly Mesozoic and
Tertiary. The Andes are divided into three separate main
chains, of which the West Cordillera runs parallel to the
Pacific coast. However, a smaller stretch of the mountain,
the Baudagurgen, which is a continuation of the Panamanäs
mountain, runs closest to the coast to the north. The West
Cordillera is separated by the Caucasus River Valley from
the Central Cordillera, which is the tallest of the chains,
averaging 3,050 m above sea level. and with the top Huila 5
750 m above sea level. This is one of about 20 high and
partly snow-covered, active volcanoes. In eruption, they can
convert large amounts of snow into catastrophic sludge
streams. This caused 25,000 people to die in 1985, when the
Ruíz volcano erupted. On the other side of the Magdalena
wide river valley, the long eastern Cordillera branch
branches to the northeast, built up of marine sedimentary
rocks and older shales and gneisses. There are several high
plateaus, which are formed by filling the lake basin with
young weathering material, e.g. Bogotás platåland. A little
further north is the summit Sierra Nevada de Cocuy, 5 495 m
above sea level. The mountain range branches into two, of
which the west, the Perijá Mountains, forms a border between
Colombia and Venezuela. An isolated granite fall outside the
mountain range zone, the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, has
the highest point in the country, 5,775 meters above sea
Coastal plains spread within both the Pacific
and Caribbean coastlines, though significantly wider and
more undulating at the latter.
The eastern lowlands are a third landform
region, comprising two-thirds of Colombia's area. The
northern parts, which belong to Llanos, are drained to
Orinoco, the south to the Amazon River with the tropical
rain forest, Selvas. The alluvial soil in the river valleys
is suitable for cultivation, as is the volcanic, which,
however, is easily exposed to soil erosion.
Because Colombia is cut by the equator in its
southernmost part, the climate is tropical, but it varies,
depending on the altitude and precipitation. The temperature
difference during the year is slight, and the average
temperature in the lower parts remains above 24 °C. The
rainfall, on the other hand, varies; on the northern Pacific
coast and in the central Magdalena Valley and in the Amazon
region, it is around 2,500 mm per year and provides a
tropical rainforest climate.
In the Caribbean low plains there is dry season from
November to April and rainy season from May to October, with
a short dry season blown in. The rainfall here is 1,000–1
750 mm per year and the climate a tropical savannah
climate, which is also found in Llanos and in parts of
the upper Magdalena valley.
Drier conditions, a tropical steppe climate,
prevail around the Guajira Peninsula on the Caribbean with a
rainfall of less than 750 mm per year.
In the mountain areas, where the temperature varies with
the altitude, there are highland climates, and
here, as in other Andean countries, the land surface is
usually divided into different temperature zones. Up to
1,000 meters above sea level the annual average temperature
is above 24 °C and the area is called tierra caliente.
Between 1,000 and 2,000 meters above sea level. tierra
templada spreads with a temperature of 24–18 °C
according to altitude. Between 2,000 and 3,000 meters above
sea level. is called the tierra free zone, and the
temperature is 18-12 °C. At 3,000–4,500 m above sea level,
the Páramo area, temperatures are below 10 °C and
fog and wind are common. Elevations above 4,500 meters above
sea level has constant snow and ice.
The vegetation is largely dependent on the climate. The
area in the north, along the Caribbean coast, is covered by
dry to desert fields with shrubs of the genera Bromelia,
acacias, Mimosa and Prosopis as well as
cacti. Originally, there were also dry forests.
Llanos, the eastern plains to Venezuela, is covered by
grassland (partly cultivated) with scattered remains of a
former tree and shrub vegetation. The area is largely
flooded during the rainy season.
Colombia's southern and southeast half and a coastal
strip west of the Andes are covered (or covered) by moist,
very rich rainforest-type forests. In a narrow belt along
the foot of the western side of the Andes grows the
country's wettest (precipitation 4,000–10,000 mm per year)
and most rich rainforest, which is still relatively intact.
In the lower parts of the Andes there are mountain
forests (often moist) with several oak species and trees in
the families stock plants, mulberries and myrtle plants. The
trees here are rich in epiphytes of pineapple plants, ferns
and mosses. Above 3 100–3 400 m above sea level. you will
find páramo - moist grasslands with frail ions (tall
basket-flowering plants) and Sphagnum mosses.
Much of the country's original vegetation has been
destroyed by man. So today, for example, many areas at
medium height in the Andes, which were originally wooded, of
bare, heavily eroded mountain sides.
Due to the country's many and varied vegetation zones,
the species richness of animals is great. The bird fauna is
one of the world's richest; 1,695 species have been
observed, and it is expected that the list will be expanded
to over 1,800. Oven birds, ant birds, tyrants, hummingbirds
and parrots are species rich.
Of mammals, there are about 20 species of monkeys,
jaguars, cougars, bush dogs, capybara and in the Andes
mountain tapestries and eyeglasses. Among the reptiles are
caimans, iguanas and rattlesnakes. The insect fauna is very
rich, especially of beetles and butterflies. The freshwater
fish fauna is estimated at over 1,000 species.
Colombia has about 60 national parks, which occupy about
10% of the country's area. The largest is Serranía
Chiribiquete (12,800 km2). Also mentioned are
Puracé (páramo and forest with mountain tapestries,
eyeglasses and northern pudu) and Isla de Salamanca
(mangrove with rich wildlife).