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6.4: The Southern Cone

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  • Learning Objectives

    1. Summarize the main physical features and regions of the Southern Cone.
    2. Identify and locate the urban centers and understand the pattern of population distribution in the three countries of the region.
    3. Describe the ethnic consistency of each country. Explain the pattern of immigration that created the region’s heritage.
    4. Explain why Argentina has great potential for economic growth.
    5. Outline how Chile has emerged as a strong and stable country and discuss its human and natural resources.

    The Southern Cone region of South America includes the countries of Uruguay, Argentina, and Chile. The name is an indication of the physical shape of the southern portion of the continent. The region is located south of the tropics. The Tropic of Capricorn runs just north of Uruguay and cuts across the northern regions of Argentina and Chile. The Southern Cone has more moderate temperatures than the tropics. Type C climates dominate in Uruguay, the Pampas region of Argentina, and central Chile. The region has extremes in weather and climate. The Atacama Desert and Patagonia both have type B climates because of a lack of precipitation, which stems from the rain shadow effect of the Andes Mountains. Highland type H climates follow the Andes chain through the region and exhibit their typical pattern of warmer temperatures at lower elevations and colder temperatures at higher elevations.

    Figure 6.35 The Three Main Regions of Chile (left); Argentina and Uruguay with the Regions of Argentina Outlined and Labeled (right)


    CIA World Factbook – public domain.