Terrain shapes and bedrock
Argentina’s location on South America’s wedge-shaped southern tip and with the high mountain range of the Andes as a barrier in the west causes major contradictions in the country’s natural conditions, in terms of both terrain design and climate and plant regions. The country can be divided into a large number of natural geographical regions, but four major ones appear in a general description.
In the far north (between 23 and 31 ° south latitude) and east of the Andes a large low plain, Gran Chaco, which is covered by alluvial deposits, spreads. The uniformity of the landscape complicates the drainage, which is why large areas are neglected during the rainy season, with lower productivity. To the east of Río Paraná, a narrow border area is separated from Brazil and Paraguay, which has cool topography with water-borne sinks in between. It is a plateau of sandstone and basalt covered by rainforest.
Further south, another region, Pampas, is a fertile prairie area. The plain slowly rises to the west, and in the south, a hill country takes. Characteristic for most of the region is the wind-deposited loess soil, which forms the basis for the country’s important wheat production.
According to COUNTRYAAH, South of Río Colorado, Patagonia, a slightly higher area with semi-desert plateaus, often begins with mesas. It is heavily eroded by rivers and glaciers, and the surface rises several times towards the Andes in wide steps, bounded by large end moraines. Here the bedrock consists of various crystalline rocks and tough. Both coal, oil and gas are found here, while iron and copper ore is found further north.
The fourth natural region consists of the Andes’ long mountain range with sharp ridges, valleys, plateaus and sloping surfaces. In the northwest, the 400 km wide, dry and cold Puna elevation spreads. Several outlets go southeast toward Pampas, and the Sierras de Cordoba form a separate mountain range. South America’s highest peak, Aconcagua, 6,962 m above sea level, rises on the border with Chile. The mountainous region of the Andes narrows and becomes lower to the south, but the relief is no less sharp here due to the erosion of the glaciers. Earthquakes often occur in this region; In 1944 and 1977 they demanded many deaths.
The river network is not very dense in Argentina. Río Paraná with the tributaries Pilcomayo and Río Salado opens in the large estuary Río de la Plata. So does the Uruguay border further east. The largest rivers in the south are Río Colorado and Río Negro. Lakes are most common in the formerly icy area of the southern Andes; Nahuel Huapí is one of the most visited.
According to BRIDGAT, the climate in most of the country is temperate and rainy. The temperature in January is 28 °C and July 18 °C in the north, while Patagonia has 10-13 °C and 2 °C respectively. The rainfall in the inner parts is around 100–300 mm per year, while in the northeast it is over 1,000 mm per year. The country is open in a north-south direction, resulting in large temperature changes in a short period of time and variations in air pressure with strong winds, pamperose, as a result.
Plant-and animal life
Argentina is one of the world’s richest countries with 9,400 species of vascular plants (30 percent endemic), 1,040 birds, 375 mammals, 340 crawfish and 160 amphibians. Thirteen different ecological regions have been identified, of which twelve are described below, while the thirteenth (Argentine Espinal) is basically just a transition zone between two others (Argentine Monte and Humida Pampas; see below).
In the Andes of western Argentina, especially in the northern half of the country, there are above the forest boundary puna (dry rishedar) and other alpine vegetation types. Puna has given its name to an ecoregion (divided into two zones: dry and humid, respectively), extending from northwestern Argentina through Peru to southern Bolivia. The landscape is dominated by high plateaus between high, snow-capped mountains. The extreme climate and the oxygen-poor conditions at higher altitudes have placed restrictions on both plants and animals.
Among the animals, rodents such as large chinchilla (Chinchilla chinchilla) and mountain viscaches (Lagidium) are the most common. Puma, mackerel fox and andean cat (Leopardus jacobita) are the predators. In the past, vikunja and guanaco were relatively common, but they are now crowded by man. Among the birds are condor, giantotho (Fulica gigantea) and three species of flamingo: punaflamingo (Phoenicoparrus jamesi), chile flamingo (Phoenicopterus chilensis) and andean flamingo (Phoenicoparrus andinus). Most endemic bird species, such as king-cinnamon (Cinclodes aricomae) and gray-breasted mastyr (Anairetes alpinus), live in the remaining forest populations of low-growing trees of the genus Polylepis.
In the northwest and northeast there are smaller areas with subtropical rainforest, but for the most part the lowlands in the north are covered by so-called chaco, snowy dry forest with various palm trees and acacia species. The Chaco ecoregion (divided into two zones: dry and humid, respectively) extends from northern Argentina via central Paraguay to southern Bolivia and is dominated by plains with wetlands and gallery forests along the rivers east of the Andes.
In the dry areas, different cacti form a characteristic feature. Among the mammals are the male wolf, jaguar, cougar, capybara, black crab monkey (Alouatta caraya), a species of the family night monkeys (Aotus azarae), three species of navel pig, giant ant capillary, pampas deer and South America’s largest deer marsh deer (Blastocerus dichotomus). Of South America’s total 21 species of belts, ten species are found in Chaco.
The bird fauna are rich and among the species are common nandu, pale-headed chestnut woodpecker (Celeus lugubris), savanna deer (Buteogallus meridionalis), rose spoon deer (Platalea ajaja) and three species of seed sparrows. In the rivers and marshes, South American lungfish, glasses caiman, broadnose caiman (Caiman latirostris) and a species of snake turtle (Acanthochelys spixii) live.
In order to protect nature from threatened cultivation and extensive livestock management, several reserves have been set up, including Río Pilcomayo National Park, Chaco National Park and Copo National Park.
Araucarias moisture forests
In the northernmost Argentina is the Araucaria humid forests, which got its name from the coniferous tree up to 45 m high, Araucaria angustifolia, a close relative of the bread tree. The species here is a mixture of those originating in the Andes and the Atlantic Forest (with main distribution in Brazil); more than 13 percent of plants are endemic. Over 85 percent of the region’s original forest has been harvested. Among the animal species are brown brown monkey (Alouatta guariba), Brazilian squirrel (Sciurus aestuans), paka (see packages), red-masked amazon (Amazona pretrei) and diademtangara (Stephanophorus diadematus).
Here is also the Iguaçù National Park with one of the world’s most spectacular waterfalls.
Paranás river water
The eco-region of Paranás river water comprises a piece of unique nature with a rich plant and animal life that spreads along the river Paraná. Here you will find plants such as Salix humboldtiana and coral bush (Erythrina crista-galli). Bird life is rich in species Amazon splice (Phalacrocorax brasilianus), rufescent tiger heron (Tigrisoma lineatum), streaked horn owl (Pseudoscops Clamator), Green Kingfisher (Chloroceryle americana), Great Black Hawk (Buteogallus urubitinga), roadside hawk (Rupornis magnirostris), dark legged guan (Penelope obscura), black-necked swan (Cygnus melancoryphus) and chess wood (Veniliornis mixtus). Swamp beaver and swamp deer are character animals.
Where Paraná flows into the South Atlantic, there is a large delta area, Rio de la Plata. Here, laplatadelfin lives side by side with illegitimate sea turtle, mushroom turtle and sea turtle turtle. Along the southern part of the bay wintering many waders including Gray Plover, red knot, buff-breasted sandpiper, Lesser Yellowlegs (Tringa flavipes), Hudsonian Godwit (Limosa haemastica), patagonienpipare (Charadrius falklandicus), American Golden Plover (Pluvialis dominica) and necked stilt (Himantopus mexicanus). Here you will also find olrogrut (Larus atlanticus).
The natural vegetation in the Humida Pampas ecoregion is grasslands with dry forests, rivers and coastal lagoons. Today, the region with the capital Buenos Aires is the country’s most densely populated area and very little of the original nature remains. Here, however, there are still animals such as pampas deer, guanaco, puma, pampas cat, Geoffroy’s cat, pampas fox, viscacha, a species of trynskunk (Conepatus chinga) and the small animal piglet (Galictis cuja). Among the birds are common nandu, turtle bird (Chauna torquata), spotted tinamo (Nothura maculosa) and rust-winged tinamo (Rhynchotus rufescens)). In the wetlands you will find white winged coot (Fulica leucoptera) and wormwood (Plegadis chihi).
Argentine Monte, a peninsula with cacti and Larrea species, extends from the slopes of the Andes in northwestern Argentina to the Atlantic coast in the middle of the country. In addition to well-distributed species such as guanaco, cougar, pampas fox and patagonic weasel (Lyncodon patagonicu), here live mara, mantle belt and the peculiar hair belt (Chaetophractus vellerosus). Bergsnandu, kroneremitörn (Buteogallus coronatus) and patagonia parakeets (Cyanoliseus patagonus) belong to the local bird fauna.
Patagonian steppes spread between the Andes in the west and the Atlantic in the east. The climate is dry and cold with snow and frost during the winter season. Vegetation is dominated by different grasses and shrubs with a significant feature of endemic species.
Two species in the genus Mountain Viscaches (Lagidium), Patagonian Punk Rat (Lestodelphys halli), Puma, Guanaco, Mara and Pampas fox are among the characteristic mammals. Birds that thrive in the open countryside including lakes and ponds are bergsnandu, patagonientinamo (Tinamotis ingoufi), Black-hawk (geranoaetus melanoleucus), ribbon winged Nightjar (Systellura longirostris), rosthuvad Goose (sheldgoose rubidiceps) and kamdopping (Podiceps gallardoi).
In the northeastern part of the region is the Valdesh peninsula, where a large colony of magellan penguin (Spheniscus magellanicus) with up to 100,000 pairs of nest. The Valdesh peninsula and other places further south along the Patagonian Atlantic coast are famous for their many whales and dolphins. There are no less than 33 species, including blue whales, caskets, southern capers, fold whales, gray dolphins, gate whales (Globicephala melas) and small-headed whales (Ziphius cavirostris). The Valdesh peninsula is also known for its colonies of southern sea elephant and South American sea lion, where the kids are a popular prey forkiller whale and sometimes white shark. Each year around 150,000 tourists visit the peninsula to experience the whales, dolphins and seals.
Valdivian temperate forests
The unique eco-region of Valdivian temperate forests is located in central Chile with foothills to western Argentina. Up to 90 percent of the trees here are endemic and the closest relatives are found in Australia, New Zealand and New Caledonia, indicating a common past in Gondwana 550-300 million years ago.
The region is particularly famous for its many amphibians, many of which are endemic. Also among the mammals are some unique species, including chiloé point crabs with their closest relatives in Australia. In the most inaccessible mountain areas are Chilean huemul. The bird fauna includes species such as mackerel woodpeckers, mackerel nests, bronze winged duck (Speculanas specularis) and condor.
South Andean steppe
The South Andean steppe extends along the eastern slopes of the Andes, but also includes several of South America’s highest mountains with peaks over 6,000 meters. The flora is special with several endemic species. The fauna bears many similarities to that in Puna and the Patagonian steppe, but diadem pipers (Phegornis mitchellii), rust-bent frog (Attagis gayi) and gray-breasted frog (Thinocorus orbignyianus) are three bird species with main occurrence here.
Magellanic subpolar forests
At the far south is the Magellan subpolar forests ecoregion. Only the southeastern part of the ecoregion, Eldslandet, and a small zone along the border with Chile are in Argentina, the rest is in Chile. The landscape is majestic with high mountains, deep fjords, extensive glaciers and forests with southern (Nothofagus antarctica) forests surrounded by the often wind-whipped ocean.
Several species have their main extension in the region, such as Magellanic Plover, rosthuvad goose, upland goose (sheldgoose picta), striated caracara (Phalcoboenus australis), stricklandbeckasin (Gallinago stricklandii), magellanvråk (Buteo ventralis) and Magellanic woodpecker (Campephilus magellanicus).
The Fire Park’s national park contains condor, ridge, magellan spit, magellan parakeet (Enicognathus ferrugineus), kelp goose (Chloephaga hybrida), South American beach cat (Haematopus ater) and magellan beach cat (Haematopus leucopodus). North American beaver was introduced at the end of the 1940s for the sake of the coat and found itself well corrected, but now the authorities are trying to limit its spread.
Just southeast of Fire Lake are a few smaller islands, including the Isla de los Estados, with nesting gray leopard, southern giant bird of prey (Macronectes giganteus), cliff jumping penguin (174,000 pairs) and magellan penguin (121,000 pairs).
On the Argentine mainland near the border with Chile lies Los Glaciares National Park which with its 47 different glaciers has the largest continuous ice cover outside Greenland and Antarctica. Here lives the rare deer Chilean huemul (Hippocamelus bisulcus). As only about 1 percent of the original population remains, the species has been categorized as acutely endangered. Los Glaciares was listed on UNESCO’s World Heritage list in 1981.
THE FALKLAND ISLANDS
About 500 km east of the Patagonian coast lies the Falkland Islands, an offshoot of the Patagonian steppe. In the islands no trees grow, only grass and smaller bushes. It is mainly the sea birds that attract interest.
Here, half a million pairs of black-browed albatross breed together with a total of over half a million pairs of penguins of five species: king penguin, cliff jumping penguin, donkey penguin (Pygoscelis papua), macaroni penguin (Eudyptes chrysolophus) and magellan penguin (Spheniscus magellanicus).
When the islands were discovered in 1690 there were foxland foxes as the only terrestrial mammals, but the last individual was shot in 1876 to protect implanted sheep, rabbits and cats. The marine mammals are South American fur seals, southern sea elephants, South American sea lions, and several whales (17 species) and dolphins (6 species).
Argentina has a relatively large number of national parks and other protected areas. In 2010, there were 29 national parks, of which three were listed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. Los Glaciares, Iguaçú and Talampaya.