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What are the regions in South America?

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Quick Answer

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.

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Full Answer

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.

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