South America has three physical regions: coastal plains, river basins, and mountains and highlands. Each of these regions contains unique biomes, with the coastal plains containing desert biomes, the river basins containing tropical rain forest and grassland biomes, and the mountains containing alpine biomes.
Low flat areas along the coast, or coastal plains, can be found in South America where the Atlantic Ocean meets the northeastern coast of Brazil and where the Pacific Ocean meets the western coasts of Peru and Chile. Both areas of coastal plains are extremely arid, with the western coastal plains housing the driest region in the world, the Atacama Desert.
South America has three significant river basins belonging to the Amazon, Orinoco and the Paraguay and Parana river systems. The Amazon basin, the largest river basin in the world, covers most of northern South America. The Orinoco River originates in Guiana and empties into the Atlantic Ocean in Venezuela. This basin covers 80 and 20 percent of Venezuela and Colombia, respectively. The basin of the Paraguay/Parana River system extends into Brazil, Bolivia, Paraguay and Argentina.
The Andes, the longest mountain system in the world, stretches from the north coast to the southern tip of South America. Most of the continent's mountains and highlands are part of this system. Two smaller, unconnected highland areas, the Brazilian Highlands and the Guiana Highlands, are located to the south of the Amazon river and between the Amazon and Orinoco Rivers, respectively.Learn More
There are 12 countries and three major territories in South America. The countries include Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, Chile, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana and Suriname. The three major territories include French Guiana, the Falkland Islands and the Galapagos IslandsFull Answer >
As of 2014, Suriname is the smallest country in South America. Suriname is located in northern South America, between French Guiana and Guyana. Suriname comprises an area over 63,000 square miles, making it a little larger than the U.S. state of Georgia. Suriname is bordered by the North Atlantic Ocean.Full Answer >
The Strait of Magellan, also called the Magellan Strait, is one strait in South America. The Strait of Magellan sits at the southern tip of South America, and links the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. This strait appears as a wide channel, which serves as a navigable sea route for numerous vessels and watercrafts.Full Answer >
The Andes, Serra do Mar, Serra de Mantiquiera, Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta and the Tumuk Humak Mountains are some mountain ranges located in South America. There are 12 countries in South America, and the continent is very mountainous with a number of ranges extending from the northern region down to the south.Full Answer >