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Latin America 
Mrs. Minks 
World Geography & Cultures
Why it matters… 
Unique blend of world cultures including 
Native American 
European 
African 
Diverse cultures have sprea...
Latin America 
Spans more than 85 degrees of latitude 
Encompasses Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean Islands, and Sou...
Largest in the World 
Longest mountain range 
Andes Mountains: 4,500 miles 
(Rockies are ???? Miles) 
Largest river in the...
Landforms 
Latin America (LA) located in Western Hemisphere 
16% of Earth’s land surface 
Divided into three subregions 
M...
Mountains and Plateaus 
Mountain Range begins in North America as Rockies and extends to South America’s 
southern tip 
Mo...
Port-au-Prince 
Plate movement continues to change the landscape. In 2010, an earthquake struck 
Haiti’s capital, Port-au-...
Mountains of Middle America & 
Caribbean 
Mexico’s Sierra Madre mountain ranges surround the densely populated Mexican 
Pl...
Andes of South America 
Andes stretch for 4,500 miles along the western edge of South America. 
World’s longest mountain c...
Highlands of Brazil 
Eastern South America marked with broad plateaus and valleys. 
The Malto Grosso Plateau is a sparsely...
Lowlands and Plains 
Brazil has one of the longest strips of 
coastal plain in the region, beginning in 
the Northeast and...
Water Systems 
Latin America’s waterways transport people and goods to different parts of the region 
and world. 
The Amaz...
How hydroelectric power works
Other Rivers 
After coursing through inland areas, the many rivers of South America flow into a 
broad estuary called Rio ...
Panama Canal 
Panama Canal is another significant 
waterway, though it is human-made. 
The canal allows ships to travel be...
How the Canal Works
TO DO 
Locate the following on the blank outline map of 
Latin America: Andes, Mexican Plateau, Mato 
Grasso Plateau, Braz...
Natural Resources 
Some LA countries among world’s leading producers of energy resources. 
Major deposits of oil and gas l...
Mineral Resources 
In addition to energy resources, Latin America is rich in a number of mineral 
resources. 
The foothill...
All is not equal… 
Because of diverse landforms, the region’s resources are not evenly distributed. 
Natural resources in ...
Elevation and Climate 
Though located in the 
Tropics, some areas of LA 
are more affected by 
elevation than by distance ...
Five vertical climate zones 
Tierra helada – “frozen land.” Zone of permanent snow and ice on peaks of Andes. 
16,000 feet...
Climate and Vegetation Regions 
Tropical Wet 
Tropical rain forest vegetation dominates much of the region. 
World’s large...
Climate and Vegetation Regions 
Tropical Dry 
Typical of the coast of 
southwestern Mexico, most 
Caribbean islands, and 
...
Climate and Vegetation Regions 
Humid Subtropical 
Prevails over much of southeastern South America. 
Winters short with c...
Climate and Vegetation Regions 
Dry Climates 
Parts of Mexico, coastal Peru and Chile, and southeastern coast of Argentina...
TO DO 
Label all of the countries in Latin America on 
your blank outline map.
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Physical Geography of Latin America

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This is a PowerPoint Presentation about the physical geography of Latin America. It includes information about landforms, waterways, natural resources, and climate and vegetation.

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Physical Geography of Latin America

  1. 1. Latin America Mrs. Minks World Geography & Cultures
  2. 2. Why it matters… Unique blend of world cultures including Native American European African Diverse cultures have spread Many Americans are of Latin American descent U.S. and many countries in Latin America are close trading partners Share democratic values based on human rights and revolt from European rule
  3. 3. Latin America Spans more than 85 degrees of latitude Encompasses Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean Islands, and South America Region of contrasts – High mountains Broad plateaus Low lying Plains Rain forests Expansive river systems
  4. 4. Largest in the World Longest mountain range Andes Mountains: 4,500 miles (Rockies are ???? Miles) Largest river in the world Amazon River 7,000,000 cubic feet per second
  5. 5. Landforms Latin America (LA) located in Western Hemisphere 16% of Earth’s land surface Divided into three subregions Middle America (Mexico to Panama) The Caribbean South America
  6. 6. Mountains and Plateaus Mountain Range begins in North America as Rockies and extends to South America’s southern tip Mountains change names: In Mexico they are the Sierra Madre In Central America they are the Central Highlands In South America they are the Andes Rugged Landscape caused by it’s location along the Pacific Ring of Fire where plates in the Earth’s crust have collided for millions of years, forming mountains and volcanoes and causing earthquakes.
  7. 7. Port-au-Prince Plate movement continues to change the landscape. In 2010, an earthquake struck Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince, causing thousands of buildings to collapse and large numbers of people to die.
  8. 8. Mountains of Middle America & Caribbean Mexico’s Sierra Madre mountain ranges surround the densely populated Mexican Plateau. Central Mexico has mild climate, fertile volcano soil, and adequate rainfall. The Central Highlands are a chain of volcanic peaks that cross Central America. Many Caribbean islands are part of the mountain range. The islands are volcanic peaks, and some are still active, which makes living there hazardous.
  9. 9. Andes of South America Andes stretch for 4,500 miles along the western edge of South America. World’s longest mountain chain and one of the highest with peaks up to 20,000 ft. Andes consist of cordilleras, several ranges that run parallel to one another. Cordilleras caused settlements to be isolated resulting in some mountain villages with centuries old social customs. In Peru and Bolivia, the Andes encircle the altiplano which means “high plain.”
  10. 10. Highlands of Brazil Eastern South America marked with broad plateaus and valleys. The Malto Grosso Plateau is a sparsely populated plateau of forests and grasslands that spreads across Brazil, Bolivia, and Peru. Further east lie the Brazilian Highlands, a vast area spanning several climate and vegetation zones. The warm climate and open spaces of the Brazilian Highlands make the Brazilian Highlands important for raising livestock. The eastern highlands plunge to the Atlantic Ocean, forming a steep slope called an escarpment.
  11. 11. Lowlands and Plains Brazil has one of the longest strips of coastal plain in the region, beginning in the Northeast and winding southward to Uruguay. The escarpment rising from the coast to the highlands presents obstacles for inland development. As a result, most of Brazil’s population lives along the coast.
  12. 12. Water Systems Latin America’s waterways transport people and goods to different parts of the region and world. The Amazon River flows about 4,000 miles from the Peruvian Andes to the Atlantic coast of Brazil. The Amazon is the Western Hemispheres longest river and the world’s second longest. South American rivers provide commercial water routes between cities and hydroelectric power – electricity generated from the energy of moving water.
  13. 13. How hydroelectric power works
  14. 14. Other Rivers After coursing through inland areas, the many rivers of South America flow into a broad estuary called Rio de la Plata or “River of the Silver” and it flows from there to the Atlantic Ocean. Middle America’s rivers are generally small, with one important exception. The Rio Grande is large and forms part of the border between Mexico and the United States.
  15. 15. Panama Canal Panama Canal is another significant waterway, though it is human-made. The canal allows ships to travel between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans without having to sail around the southern tip of South America.
  16. 16. How the Canal Works
  17. 17. TO DO Locate the following on the blank outline map of Latin America: Andes, Mexican Plateau, Mato Grasso Plateau, Brazilian Highlands, Amazon River, Rio de la Plata, Rio Grande
  18. 18. Natural Resources Some LA countries among world’s leading producers of energy resources. Major deposits of oil and gas lie in mountain valleys or in offshore areas along the Gulf of Mexico and the southern Caribbean Sea. These resources have especially helped boost the economies of Mexico and Venezuela. Oil rigs in Latin America
  19. 19. Mineral Resources In addition to energy resources, Latin America is rich in a number of mineral resources. The foothills along Venezuela’s Orinoco River has large amounts of gold Peru and Mexico are known for silver Columbian mines produce the world’s finest emeralds Chile is the largest exporter of copper Jamaica is the leading producer of bauxite, the main source of aluminum
  20. 20. All is not equal… Because of diverse landforms, the region’s resources are not evenly distributed. Natural resources in LA are kept from being developed due to Geographic inaccessibility Lack of capital (money) for development Social and political divisions
  21. 21. Elevation and Climate Though located in the Tropics, some areas of LA are more affected by elevation than by distance from the Equator. These areas have vertical climate zones in which soil, crops, livestock, and climate change as altitude increases.
  22. 22. Five vertical climate zones Tierra helada – “frozen land.” Zone of permanent snow and ice on peaks of Andes. 16,000 feet Puna – “cold zone.” Supports some grasses suitable for grazing sheep, llamas, & alpaca. 12,000 – 16,000 feet Tierra fria – “cold land.” Winter frosts common, but potatoes & barley grow well. This is Middle America’s highest climate zone. 6,000 – 12,000 feet Tierra templada – “temperate land.” Most densely populated of the zones; coffee & corn are the main crops. 2,500 – 6,000 feet Tierra caliente – “hot land.” Rain forests abounding with bananas, sugar, rice, and cacao. Sea level – 2,500 feet
  23. 23. Climate and Vegetation Regions Tropical Wet Tropical rain forest vegetation dominates much of the region. World’s largest expanse of tropical rain forest – the Amazon. Amazon rain forest shelters more species of plants and animals per sq. mile than anywhere else on Earth. Amazon Rainforest
  24. 24. Climate and Vegetation Regions Tropical Dry Typical of the coast of southwestern Mexico, most Caribbean islands, and north-central South America. High temps and abundant rainfall but also experience a long dry season. Grasslands flourish. Los Llanos, Columbia
  25. 25. Climate and Vegetation Regions Humid Subtropical Prevails over much of southeastern South America. Winters short with cool to mild temps. Summers are long, hot, and humid. Short grasses are natural vegetation. Southern Cone Grasslands, Paraguay
  26. 26. Climate and Vegetation Regions Dry Climates Parts of Mexico, coastal Peru and Chile, and southeastern coast of Argentina have desert climates and vegetation. Cold air and high elevations result in very little precipitation. The Atacama Desert in Chile is a coastal desert so arid that in some places no rainfall has ever been recorded. Areas of vegetation are called “meadows of the desert.” Atacama Desert, Chile
  27. 27. TO DO Label all of the countries in Latin America on your blank outline map.

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