Colombia and Venezuela, Andes Mountains and Plains – April 8th, 2009
Here, the white peaks of the Andes Mountains cut through Northern Colombia (left) and northwestern Venezuela (right) in South America. East of the mountains lies an area of extensive plains. To the north, the Gulf of Venezuela contains some greenish sediments.
With 2,800 kilometres (1,740 mi) of coastline, Venezuela is home to a wide variety of landscapes. The extreme northeastern extensions of the Andes reach into Venezuela’s northwest and continue along the northern Caribbean coast.
The country’s center is characterized by the llanos, extensive plains that stretch from the Colombian border in the far west to the Orinoco River delta in the east.
Colombia is dominated by the Andes mountains. Beyond the Colombian Massif (in the Southwest) these are divided into three branches known as cordilleras: the Cordillera Occidental, running adjacent to the Pacific coast; the Cordillera Central, running between the Cauca and Magdalena river valleys (to the west and east respectively); and the Cordillera Oriental, extending north east to the Guajira Peninsula.
East of the Andes lies the savanna of the Llanos, part of the Orinoco River basin, and, in the far south east, the jungle of the Amazon rainforest. Together these lowlands comprise over half Colombia’s territory, but they contain less than 3% of the population.
To the north the Caribbean coast, home to 20% of the population, generally consists of low-lying plains, but it also contains the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountain range and the Guajira Desert.
By contrast the narrow and discontinuous Pacific coastal lowlands, backed by the Serranía de Baudó mountains, are covered in dense vegetation and sparsely populated.