Beyond the reach of ash and debris deposits, the volcano is surrounded by forests; the area is a national park. The largest recent eruption occurred in the early s; lava flows melted glaciers and generated lahars that spread at speeds of km per hour mph.
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Steep-sided volcanic cones along the Andes on the Chilean-Argentinean border add texture to this false-color satellite image. Of approximately 1, volcanoes scattered across this region, 28 are active and form part of the Andean volcanic belt that runs down the length of South America. For more information on other active volcanoes in the region, see the Natural hazards - volcanism subfield in the Geography section under either Chile or Argentina.
Image courtesy of USGS. This panorama looking southeast across the South American continent was taken from the International Space Station almost directly over the Atacama Desert near Chile's Pacific coast. The high plains m, 13,, ft of the Andes Mountains, also known as the Puna, appear in the foreground, with a line of young volcanoes dashed line facing the much lower Atacama Desert m elevation. Several salt-crusted dry lakes known as salars in Spanish occupy the basins between major thrust faults in the Puna.
Salar de Arizaro foreground is the largest of the dry lakes in this view. Near image center, the transition solid line between two distinct geological zones, the Puna and the Sierras Pampeanas, creates a striking landscape contrast.
Compared to the Puna, the Sierras Pampeanas mountains are lower in elevation and have fewer young volcanoes. Sharp-crested ridges are separated by wide, low valleys in this region. The Salinas Grandes - ephemeral shallow salt lakes - occupies one of these valleys. The general color change from reds and browns in the foreground to blues and greens in the upper part of the image reflects the major climatic regions: The Salinas Grandes mark an intermediate, semiarid region.
Brightly colored solar evaporation salt ponds in a desert landscape give this astronaut photo an unreal quality. The ponds sit near the foot of a long alluvial fan in the Pampa del Tamarugal, the great hyper-arid inner valley of Chile's Atacama Desert. The alluvial fan sediments are dark brown, and they contrast sharply with tan sediments of the Pampa del Tamarugal.
Nitrates and many other minerals are mined in this region. A few extraction pits and ore dumps are visible at upper left. Iodine is one of the products from mining; it is first extracted by heap leaching. Waste liquids from the iodine plants are dried in the tan and brightly colored evaporation ponds to crystallize nitrate salts for collection.
The recovered nitrates are mainly used for fertilizer for higher-value crops. They are also used in the manufacture of pharmaceuticals, explosives, glass, and ceramics, as well as in water treatment and metallurgical processes. On the border between Chile and the Catamarca province of Argentina lies a vast field of currently dormant volcanoes. Over time, these volcanoes have laid down a crust of magma roughly 3. This enhanced satellite image is tinged with a patina of various colors that can indicate both the age and mineral content of the original lava flows.
Some arroyos and alluvial fans may be seen in the upper left portion of the photo. For active volcanoes in Chile and Argentina, see the Natural hazards-volcanism field in the Geography section. Discovered by Dutch sailors on Easter Sunday and named for the holy day, the isolated Pacific island had already been inhabited for more than one thousand years, most likely settled by Polynesian sailors in canoes between A.
The most amazing cultural artifacts on display were giant stone statues, called moai, resting on ahu, raised platforms of expertly fitted stones.
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Most of the hundreds of moai on the island were carved out of volcanic rock in the crater of Rano Raraku, located in the southeastern part of the island. In addition to the many moai scattered around the coast of the island, Rano Raraku is littered with moai, some only half-carved, others that appear to have broken in the attempt to remove them from the quarry, and still others that seem to simply have been abandoned. East of Rano Raraku is Ahu Tongariki, where in a tidal wave caused by an earthquake in Chile struck the southern coastline and swept 15 moai inland for several hundred feet.
In , the site was restored by a Chilean archeologist. On the western end of the island is the only town, Hanga Roa, where most of Rapa Nui's 2, residents live. South of the town is the island's largest volcanic crater, Rana Kao. Along the crater rim looking southward over the coast, lie the ruins of Orongo, a ceremonial site containing elaborate stone carvings and other artwork. Landsat image courtesy of NASA. View of Easter Island from space.
The island is one of the most remote locations on Earth, being more than 3, km 2, mi from the closest populations on Tahiti or Chile. The island is perhaps most famous for the giant stone monoliths, known as moai, that have been placed along the coastline.
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Archaeologists believe the island was discovered and colonized by Polynesians sometime between A. Subsequently, a unique culture developed.
The human population grew to levels that could not be sustained by the island. A civil war resulted, and the island's deforestation and ecosystem collapse was nearly complete. Today, a new forest primarily eucalyptus has been established in the center of the island dark green. Less than 25 km 15 mi long, the geography of the island is dominated by volcanic landforms, including the large crater Rana Kao at the southwest end of the island and a line of cinder cones that stretch north from the central mountain.
A final feature difficult to see is the very long runway Chile's longest near Rana Kao, which served but was never used as an emergency landing site for the Space Shuttle. Cape Horn, named after a city in the Netherlands, is the southernmost headland of the Tierra del Fuego archipelago in southern Chile.
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It is frequently referred to as the "sailors' graveyard" because the waters around the area are particularly hazardous due to strong winds, large waves, strong currents, and icebergs. This entry usually highlights major historic events and current issues and may include a statement about one or two key future trends.
Prior to the arrival of the Spanish in the 16th century, the Inca ruled northern Chile for nearly a century while an indigenous people, the Mapuche, inhabited central and southern Chile. Although Chile declared its independence in , it did not achieve decisive victory over the Spanish until In the War of the Pacific , Chile defeated Peru and Bolivia to win its present northern regions.
In the s, the Chilean central government gained control over the central and southern regions inhabited by the Mapuche. Economic reforms, maintained consistently since the s, contributed to steady growth, reduced poverty rates by over half, and helped secure the country's commitment to democratic and representative government.
Chile has increasingly assumed regional and international leadership roles befitting its status as a stable, democratic nation. This entry identifies the country's regional location, neighboring countries, and adjacent bodies of water. This entry includes rounded latitude and longitude figures for the centroid or center point of a country expressed in degrees and minutes; it is based on the locations provided in the Geographic Names Server GNS , maintained by the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency on behalf of the US Board on Geographic Names.
This entry includes the name of the Factbook reference map on which a country may be found.
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Note that boundary representations on these maps are not necessarily authoritative. The entry on Geographic coordinates may be helpful in finding some smaller countries. This entry includes three subfields. This entry provides an area comparison based on total area equivalents. Most entities are compared with the entire US or one of the 50 states based on area measurements revised provided by the US Bureau of the Census.
This entry contains the total length of all land boundaries and the individual lengths for each of the contiguous border countries. When available, official lengths published by national statistical agencies are used. Because surveying methods may differ, country border lengths reported by contiguous countries may differ. Argentina km, Bolivia km, Peru km. This entry gives the total length of the boundary between the land area including islands and the sea.
This entry includes the following claims, the definitions of which are excerpted from the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea UNCLOS , which alone contains the full and definitive descriptions: This entry includes a brief description of typical weather regimes throughout the year.
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This entry contains a brief description of the topography. This entry includes both the mean elevation and the elevation extremes. This entry lists a country's mineral, petroleum, hydropower, and other resources of commercial importance, such as rare earth elements REEs. In general, products appear only if they make a significant contribution to the economy, or are likely to do so in the future.
This entry contains the percentage shares of total land area for three different types of land use: This entry gives the number of square kilometers of land area that is artificially supplied with water. This entry provides a summary description of the population dispersion within a country.
While it may suggest population density, it does not provide density figures. This entry lists potential natural disasters. For countries where volcanic activity is common, a volcanism subfield highlights historically active volcanoes. Environment - current issues: This entry lists the most pressing and important environmental problems.
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