The Southern Andes near Santiago, Chile – May 4th, 2009
The Andes are the world’s longest exposed mountain range. They lie as a continuous chain of highland along the western coast of South America.
The range is over 7,000 km (4,400 miles) long, 200-700 km (300 miles) wide (widest between 18° to 20°S latitude), and of an average height of about 4,000 m (13,000 ft).
The Andes can be divided into three sections; here, the part known as the Southern Andes is visible. This section is located in Argentina and Chile.
In the close-up, the Chilean capital city of Santiago can be seen on the western flank of the Andes, at the top right. To the east, on the Argentinean side, two lakes are visible. The smaller one, to the North, is a reservoir created by the El Nihuil Dam on the Atuel River.
The larger of the two, to the South, is Llancanelo Lagoon. It is a wetland with an area of 650 km² located in the Malargüe Department in the south of Mendoza Province, Argentina, 75 km from the city of Malargüe. The lagoon is 1,280 meters above mean sea level, within the arid region near the Andes in the limit between the regions of Cuyo and Patagonia.