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Chilean Coast Range
Range
View from Cerro Oncol
Country Chile
Part of Andes
Highest point Cerro Vicuña Mackenna
 - elevation 3,114 m (10,217 ft)
Length 3,100 km (1,926 mi), north-south
The eastern border of the Chilean Coast Range is marked with yellow. Uncertain borders are marked with dots

The Chilean Coast Range (Spanish: Cordillera de la Costa) is a mountain range that runs southward along the coast parallel with the Andean Mountains, from Morro de Arica to Taitao Peninsula where it ends at the Chile Triple Junction. The range has a strong influence on the climate of Chile and produces a rain shadow behind. This allows a more exuberant vegetation to grow in the range than in the interior. Compared to the coast and the Intermediate Depression the coast range is sparsely populated. Land use in the coast range varies from protected areas to grazing and silviculture. The range is present in all Chilean regions except for Coquimbo Region and Magallanes Region. The Chilean Coast Range does not show any sign of volcanic activity at present.

Contents

Geography

Like the Andes, the coast range becomes overall lower with increasing latitude. The range begins at Morro de Arica in the north and reaches its highest point, of 3114 m, in Sierra Vicuña Mackenna in Antofagasta Region. The range is absent in south of Copiapó River and north of Aconcagua River in the so called Norte Chico. Here the range is fused into one the Andes. At the site of Santiago the range separates from the Andes but come close to it again at Angostura de Paine and San Fernando . From Santiago in the north the range loses height until reaching the Bío-Bío River, beyond of which the Cordillera de Nahuelbuta rises. Nahuelbuta Range reaches about 1500 m at its central parts. South of Nahuebuta Range, at the coast of Araucanía Region the coast range is replaced by a flatland area. South of Toltén River the range rises again as the Cordillera de Mahuidanchi. This range converts into Cordillera Pelada beyond the heights of Corral. At the site of Chacao Channel the range is penetrated by the sea, leaving its southern emerged parts as islands and peninsulas. Chiloé Island is the largest of these islands and has two ranges; Piuchén Range from Chacao Channel to Cucao Lake and Pirulil Range in the southern half. South of Chiloé the emerged parts of the range forms Guaitecas Archipelago and Chonos Archipelago. The southern extreme of the range is made of Taitao Peninsula and its sub-peninsula Tres Montes.

The range can be divided in several minor ranges. Some of these ranges are:

Geology

The range is a combined horst, forearc high and accretionary wedge structure. The range was separed from the Andes during the Tertiary rise of the Andes due to the subsidence of the Intermediate Depression.

The range is made of different lithological units. From Valparaíso Region to Lanalhue Fault Carboniferous-Permian granitoids makes upp a large part of the bedrock. These igneous rocks was once part of a proto-Andean magmatic belt. South of Lanalhue Fault most of the range is an accretionary wedge formed by at least since the Paleozoic along the subduction zone at South Americas western margin. From Lanalhue to Pirulil Range the range is dominated by medium grade metamorphic rocks including schists. The analogous granites of the northern part of the coast range are placed inside the Andes in this latitudes.

References

See also

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