South America Atlas Exercise

1. First let’s get some idea of the populations of the countries within the realm.  Look in the World Political Information Table and find the populations of the countries listed below.
US _305.7 million_ Brazil _197.5 million Colombia 45.3 million Venezuela 26.6 million Argentina 40.7 million Peru 29.4 million Chile 16.5 million Suriname 0.48 million

2.  What is South America's total population?
391.89 million 

3. Now flip back to the Plate tectonics map on p. 22-23.  According to this map, what similarities does South America share with Middle America?
  A major convergent plate boundary is found along the Pacific coast of South America.  Subduction is the process here.  It caused the uplift of the Andes Mountains and the cooler temperature regions.   

4. How has the process indicated by the map on p. 22-23 influenced the physical geography of South America?  Use the maps on p. 159-162 to help you figure that out.
Subduction off the Pacific coast of South America created the long, narrow, volcanic mountain chain known as the Andes.  Maps on p. 162 show that the Andes contain one of the continent’s regions of high population density.  Unfortunately, the maps also show that this region of high population density is close to natural hazards such as earthquakes, volcanoes and tsunamis.  Each of these hazards is caused by subduction.  One benefit of subduction is shown in the Minerals map. Subduction has brought valuable minerals to Earth’s surface.  The past 12 months in Chile have demonstrated the tenuous relationship between humans and the physical environment’s hazards.  In the winter Chile suffered a large earthquake caused by subduction that caused many deaths and much damage, because its epicenter was close to a population center.  Also, just two days ago the world watched as the Chilean miners were rescued from a mine.  Mining is a major part of Chile’s economy because of the concentration of valuable minerals relatively close to Earth’s surface.  Subduction brought them there.

4. Now flip to the Climate map on p. 30.  How does this map support the statement that "Chile is the mirror image of California?
Find 2-3 other maps in the thematic section that support this statement.
Chile has the same three climates found in California: Mediterranean, Marine West Coast, and Highland. 
Both California and Chile have significant areas of Mediterranean agriculture, apple and citrus production, and coastal fisheries.
5.  Turn to the Oceanic Environments map on p. 40-41.  Focus on South America's coastal environments between 0°-22°S.   Find a map that describes what resources do the 2 different coasts provide?

Pacific Coast: Shrimp, Mackerel, Anchovies
Atlantic Coast: Shrimp and Anchovies


6. Look at the population density map on p. 162.  Describe the distribution of South America's population. 
South America has fairly empty interior.  Population is focused in several large coastal urban areas.