Geography of Chile

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The geography of Chile is extremely diverse as the country extends from a latitude of 17° South to Cape Horn at 56° (if Chilean claims on Antarctica are included Chile would extend to the South Pole) and from the ocean on the west to Andes on the east. Chile is situated in southern South America, bordering the South Pacific Ocean and a small part of the South Atlantic Ocean. Chile's territorial shape is among the world's most unusual. From north to south, Chile extends 4,270 km (2,653 mi), and yet it only averages 177 km (110 mi) east to west. On a map, it looks like a long ribbon reaching from the middle of South America's west coast straight down to the southern tip of the continent, where it curves slightly eastward. Cape Horn, the southernmost point in the Americas, where the Pacific and Atlantic oceans turbulently meet, is Chilean territory. Chile's northern neighbors are Peru and Bolivia, and its border with Argentina to the east, at 5,150 km (3,200 mi), is the world's third longest.

Geographic coordinates: 30°00′S 71°00′W / 30°S 71°W / -30; -71

Contents

A long, narrow nation

The northern two-thirds of Chile lie on top of the telluric Nazca Plate, which, moving eastward about ten centimeters a year, is forcing its way under the continental plate of South America. This movement has resulted in the formation of the Peru-Chile Trench, which lies beyond a narrow band of coastal waters off the northern two-thirds of the country. The trench is about 150 km (93 mi) wide and averages about 5,000 m (16,404 ft) in depth. At its deepest point, just north of the port of Antofagasta, it plunges to 8,066 m (26,463 ft). Although the ocean's surface obscures this fact, most of Chile lies at the edge of a profound precipice.

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