Chile Geography

By | September 22, 2021

As an Unitary Republic on the basis of the Constitution which entered into force in March 1981 (subsequently modified with the referendum of 30 July 1989), Chile is a presidential democratic Republic. Executive power is exercised by the President of the Republic, elected every 6 years by direct universal suffrage. Legislative power is entrusted to the National Congress, formed by the Chamber of Deputies (renewed every four years) and the Senate (whose members are partly elected and partly appointed by the armed forces). The judiciary is based on the Spanish code, with influences deriving from the French and Austrian system. Justice is administered in its highest degree by the Supreme Court; There is also a Constitutional Court, appellate courts and courts of first instance. The country does not accept the emanations of the International Court of Justice. The death penalty, abolished in 2001, remains in force only for war crimes. The defense of the state is entrusted to regular forces (army, navy, air force), but the. The conscription is compulsory from the age of 18, but it is also possible to carry out a service on a voluntary basis. The conscription lasts 12 months in the army and 2 months in the navy and air force.


As a country located in South America according to usprivateschoolsfinder, the Chilean geography, while varied and contrasting, depends entirely on the Andes. The chain dominates the entire territory with its western side, formed by the side of a mighty anticline surmounted by volcanoes and by buildings of intrusive granite rocks. This folding stretches, before sinking into the oceanic trenches, into another and milder anticline that gives rise to a low mountainous alignment near the coast (Cordillera della Costa). Between the two folds there is a long synclinaldepression which becomes above all wide and well marked in the median section, where it forms the Valle Central or Valle del Chile, a fertile area characterized by alluvial soils. The same tectonic motif continues in the southern sector of the country, where, however, the marine entrances have given rise to a characteristic island fragmentation (Isla Grande de Chiloé, Archipiélago de los Chonos, Isla Madre de Dios, etc.) which culminates at Cape Horn (Cabo de Hornos). The Andes have very different aspects in their long and uninterrupted development. In the northern section they represent the continuation of the Peruvian highlands, consisting of an ancient peneplanate plate, covered by Mesozoic and Cenozoic formations; morphologically they appear as a succession of endorheic basins (the largest is occupied by the Salar de Atacama) dominated by the large volcanic cones of Lascar (5592 m), Socompa (6031 m), Llullaillaco (6739 m). These other lands slope down towards the coastal mountainous rim with not very harsh slopes, in a very arid environment, indeed considered the driest place in the world, corresponding to the Atacama Desert (Desierto de Atacama) which follows, to the N of the Loa river, the ‘equally deserted Pampa del Tamarugal. Towards the S the Andean chain tends to narrow and becomes more powerful, rising over 6000 m, not only with large volcanic cones but also with gigantic intrusive masses (Ojos del Salado, 6893 m, the main active volcano of the continent), culminating finally in Aconcagua (6959 m, the highest elevation on the continent), flanked by Cerro Tupungato (6750 m). AS of these massifs the cordillera progressively lowers; the sedimentary and schistose structures tend to gradually replace the effusive formations (to which the beautiful succession of the Villarrica, Osorno, Puyehue volcanoes is connected) and intrusive, gigantic batholithic masses that give the Andean relief a disunited shape, characterized by massive blocks, separated from each other by marked depressions. In the merid. the massifs often rise above deep marine penetrations, real fjords formed following a general eustatic movement that affected the entire southern apex of the continent; the most superb massif, in this section of the Chilean Andes, is Fitz Roy (3340 m), with its beautiful granite towers while the highest peak is San Valentín (4058 m). The southernmost part of the territory extends to Tierra del Fuego (of which, however, only the western section is Chilean), dominated by the Cordillera Darwin (2467 m) and the islands that continue the fragmented outer mountain ridge. In relation to the same structural forms, the long coastal contour of Chile is very variable: in the southern part, as mentioned, it is very indented, broken by islands, peninsulas, deep penetrations; in the central and northern ones, on the other hand, it is continuous, not very bumpy, with narrow coastal alluvial plains at the mouths of the rivers that descend from the Andes and few natural shelters.


The configuration of the country prevents the development of hydrography. All rivers ran short; those of the northern section, generally impetuous watercourses with torrential regime, do not even reach the sea, getting lost in the salares (the only river of a certain importance is the Loa, which flows to the S of Iquique): their importance is essentially linked to the possibility of using the water for irrigation, which is responsible for the existence of some oasis areas. Only in the middle section of the country, where the depression between the Andean chain and the coast widens, is the development of the hydrographic basins greater and, due to the more abundant rainfall, the more consistent flow: this is where the Biobío flows., the most important Chilean river. There are numerous lakes, starting from the 40th parallel, shaped by glacial erosion; the largest are Llanquihue, at the foot of the Osorno volcano, General Carrera and O’Higgins, the latter two divided with Argentina.

Chile Geography