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Venezuela Geography
 
 
 

General

Venezuela's mainland rests on the South American Plate; 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. Pico Bolívar, the nation's highest point at 4,979 metres (16,335 ft), lies in this region.

The country's centre 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. To the south, the dissected Guiana Highlands is home to the northern fringes of the Amazon Basin and Angel Falls, the world's highest waterfall. The Orinoco, with its rich alluvial soils, binds the largest and most important river system of the country; it originates in one of the largest watersheds in Latin America. The Caroní and the Apure are other major rivers.

The country can be further divided into ten geographical areas, some corresponding to climatic and biogeographical regions. In the north are the Venezuelan Andes and the Coro region, a mountainous tract in the northwest, is home to several sierras and valleys. East of it are lowlands abutting Lake Maracaibo and the Gulf of Venezuela. The Central Range runs parallel to the coast and includes the hills surrounding Caracas; the Eastern Range, separated from the Central Range by the Gulf of Cariaco, covers all of Sucre and northern Monagas. The Llanos region comprises a third of the country's area north of the Orinoco River. South of it lies the Guiana Shield, a massive two billion year old Precambrian geological formation featuring tepuis, mysterious table-like mountains. The Insular Region includes all of Venezuela's island possessions: Nueva Esparta and the various Federal Dependencies. The Deltaic System, which forms a triangle covering Delta Amacuro, projects northeast into the Atlantic Ocean.

Though Venezuela is entirely situated in the tropics, its climate varies substantially; it varies from that of humid low-elevation plains, where average annual temperatures range as high as 28 °C (82 °F), to glaciers and highlands (the páramos) with an average yearly temperature of 8 °C (46 °F). Annual rainfall varies between 430 millimetres (17 in) in the semiarid portions of the northwest to 1,000 millimetres (39 in) in the Orinoco Delta of the far east. Most precipitation falls between May and November (the rainy season or "winter"); the drier and hotter remainder of the year is known as "summer", though temperature variation throughout the year is not as pronounced as at temperate latitudes.


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