Argentina is located on the southern end of the South American Continent. It covers a land area of 2,780,400 square km which makes it the second largest country in the continents and the 8th largest in the world. It shares international borders with Chile, Paraguay, Bolivia, Brazil and Uruguay. To the south is Drakes Passage which separates the country from Cape Horn. The country claims sovereignty on a number of Islands including the Falklands which resulted in the war with the United Kingdom in 1982. The far south of the country is close to the Antarctic region with the climate reflecting its geographical position. In fact there is a part of the Antarctic that the country has claimed it owns, but this is currently under dispute.
The far south of the country is known as Patagonia with a section of the region being in Chile. To the west of the region is the southern-most point of the Andes mountain range but generally however the land is in a steppe-like formation. These vast plains have been exposed to cold winds and cool temperatures that have left behind a barren topography. This is intermingled with large lakes that have been left behind after the ice sheets disappeared at the end of the last ice age.
There is still evidence of this period with there being some of the largest ice fields and glaciers in the south of the region to be found on the continent. The central part has also been exposed to volcanic activity and the erosion of these areas has left behind the richest soils in the region. The west of the country is dominated by the Andes Mountain Range. The Aconcagua Mountain in Mendoza province is the highest mountain in the world outside of Asia at 6,962 metres above sea level. Along the western part of the country the area is dominated by the high lands with many towering mountain peaks. The East of the country is dominated by the Atlantic coastline and there are many settlements along the coast. One of the most populated areas of the country is the Pampas region with its eastern edged reaching the Atlantic coast.
The Pampas contains the richest soils in the country and was the area where Argentina was able to farm so successfully at the end of the 18th century, that resulted in its early economic success. The region is dominated by lowlands with a temperate climate that provides perfect growing conditions and is home to the majority of the country’s population. The driest part of Argentina lies in the rain shadow of the Andes Mountains. The Gran Chaco area is a hot semi-arid lowland area and is sparsely populated. It has some of the hottest temperatures in South America and is remoteness has not aided its development within the country.
Generally the further north one travels in the country the warmer and wetter the climate becomes. The central area of the country has the hottest summers and experiences tornadoes and thunderstorms. Generally the higher the elevation the cooler the winters. The largest rivers in the country are located in the far North-East with the River Uruguay acting as the border between Argentina and, both Uruguay and Brazil. At the end of its 1600km course it meets the River Pana and then flows in to the Rio de la Plata Estuary.
The Rio Parana is the second longest river on the South American continent flowing for 4,900km from its source in to where it meets the River Uruguay. Along its routes it acts as the border between Argentina and Paraguay. It is also the home to the Iguaz’u waterfalls which are the largest waterfalls in the world, including 275 separate falls in its area. The further south in the country the river systems are not so spectacular with Patagonia being drained by the Colorado and Negro rivers which are both sourced in the Andes and flow into the Atlantic. The country has a large and varied geography.