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Andes

south divide north ranges

Andes, South America's largest mountain system, 4,500 mi (7,200 km) long and averaging 200–250 mi (320–400 km) wide, near the west coast and running almost the entire length of the continent. Aconcagua (22,835 ft/6,960 m) is the highest peak in the Western Hemisphere. The Andes rose largely in the Cenozoic era (the last 70 million years), and volcanic eruptions and earthquakes suggest the range is still rising. The South Andes divide Chile and Argentina. The Central Andes form 2 ranges flanking the high Bolivian plateau (the Altiplano), once home to the Incan civilization. The North Andes divide in Colombia and form four ranges ending in the Caribbean area. Many high Andean peaks are jagged and snowy, and glaciers fill some southern valleys. The region is an important source of copper, silver, and tin, and oil has been found in the north.

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