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What is the longest mountain range on Earth?

The Andes is the world’s longest above-water mountain range, stretching 7,000 km (4,300 mi) from north to south through seven countries in South America.

They are the highest mountain range outside Asia and are separated into several ranges by intermediate depressions.

They are part of the American Cordillera, a chain of mountain ranges forming the western “backbone” of North America, Central America, South America, and Antarctica.

How Many Countries do the Andes Pass Through

The mountain range spans 7 different countries

  • Argentina
  • Bolivia
  • Chile
  • Colombia
  • Ecuador
  • Peru
  • Venezuela

List of the Longest Mountain Ranges in the World

RangeContinentApprox Length
AndesSouth America7,000 km (4,300 mi)
Southern Great EscarpmentAfrica5,000 km (3,100 mi)
Rocky MountainsNorth America4,800 km (3,000 mi)
Transantarctic MountainsAntarctica3,500 km (2,200 mi)
Great Dividing RangeAustralia3,500 km (2,200 mi)
HimalayasAsia2,600 km (1,600 mi)
Ural MountainsAsia and Europe2,500 km (1,600 mi)
AlpsEurope1,200 km (745 mi)

Geology

The Andean mountain system results from global plate-tectonic forces during the Cenozoic Era that built upon earlier geologic activity. The rocks comprising the present-day cordilleras are of great age and were metamorphosed by pressure and heat.

Under the crust of the Earth, tectonic plates came together to make the Andes.

The Andes Mountains are a Mesozoic – Tertiary orogenic belt of mountains along the Pacific Ring of Fire. They result from tectonic plate processes between the Nazca and South American Plate.

Several volcanoes are active in the Andes range, which is divided into four volcanic zones. Depending on the activity style, products, and morphology of the volcanoes, the belt has a lot to offer.

Facts for Kids
Facts for Kids

Flora and Fauna

Through the Atacama Desert and Caribbean Venezuela, the Andean region crosses several natural and floral regions.

It is home to 30,000 species of vascular plants, half endemic to the region.

Wildlife in the Andes

They are rich in fauna, with almost 1,000 species, including almost 600 mammals, 1,700 species of birds, 600 species of reptiles, and 400 species of fish.

The vicua, guanaco, llama, and alpaca are all found in the Altiplano, while the chinchilla and huemul are in the alpine regions.

Several species of hummingbirds and tinamous are found in the humid Andean forests, including the threatened mountain tapir, spectacled bear, and yellow-tailed woolly monkey.

Threats to the Andes

One of the biggest problems in the Andes is deforestation. In fact, according to the World Wildlife Fund, nearly half of the original forest cover has been lost since 1990. While the cause of deforestation is complex, it is mainly due to increased population numbers, agricultural expansion, mining activities, and tourism development.

Increased population sizes mean more people require food, water, and energy. This increases the demand for land for agriculture, which often involves clearing trees and other vegetation. Mining operations also lead to deforestation by digging up large land areas to access minerals such as gold, silver, copper, zinc, tin, and coal.

Tourism is another major factor that contributes to deforestation. Many tourists want to see wild nature, and the natural beauty of the Andes makes it easy to justify destroying a part of the environment to experience it.

Deforestation affects the animals in the area and the local communities that rely on these resources. As well as being affected by the lack of plants and animals, poor communities suffer from a decreased income. They lose out on jobs and opportunities and have less clean drinking water and sanitation facilities.

About 50% of the mined copper in the world comes from the Andes.

While it is important to protect the environment, it is equally important to protect the region’s humans. There are already too many people in the Andes, and while it is difficult to predict how many people will move into the mountains over the next few decades, we know it will be a problem.

Does anyone live in the Andes Mountains?

There aren’t many people in the Andes from Patagonia to Bolivia’s Altiplano; a few shepherds and farmers live on the lower slopes.

What is the climate in the Andes mountains?

It is rainy and warm in the northern part of the Andes. There is a lot of rain and cold weather in the south and a lot of dry weather in the center.

Mountain ranges influence the climate in the surrounding areas, especially in the interior, where the Andes border the rainforest.