We explain what the Andes Mountains are, how this mountain range originated and what its general characteristics are.

What is the Andes Mountains?

The Cordillera de los Andes is an important mountain system , whose name can have different meanings in terms of its etiology, but the one that has had the most acceptance has been the word " Anti" , which is a Quechua word and which means: raised crest .

The Cordillera covers more than 7,000 km of extension crossing countries like Argentina , Colombia, Peru , Venezuela , Chile , Bolivia ; which indicates that it is located in South America , whose coordinates include 11º north latitude and 55º south. This mountain range contains a very varied geomorphology, which includes volcanoes , glaciers, valleys, among others . This coupled with a diversity in terms of flora and fauna.

The Andes Mountains are also very important in terms of history and economy , due to the implications of this important territory, which also houses certain regions of great importance and significance worldwide.

Next, and as a summary, we expose the main characteristics, its climate, relief , origin and importance.

Characteristics of the Andes Mountains :


It is considered as the longest and most extensive mountain range on the planet with 7294 km of route and occupying an area of 3370794 km2.

Highest mountain system in the world

Highest mountain system in the world

As the Himalayas system is the highest mountain system on the planet with 8,844 meters above sea level (meters above sea level), the Andes mountain range is in second place with 6,960 meters above sea level.

It has more than 100 high peaks

In the entire extension of this great mountain system there are more than 100 peaks that exceed 6000 meters in altitude.

Has the highest peak to be climbed

Its highest point is Aconcagua, at 6,959 meters above sea level , which is the second highest peak in the world. Those who were in charge of reaching its peak were Zurbriggen and Vines, in the year 1897.



It does not present a specific climate throughout the mountain range. Rather, different places  can present quite varied climates , where it can be found from droughts to excess rainfall, but there may even be frozen areas or areas where hail precipitates, and although there is no specific factor for this, the most determining could be the height above sea level .

Subdivision of the Andes Mountains

Although there have been several modifications that the way of classifying the Andes mountain range has undergone, perhaps the most specific was that made by Augusto Gansser (geologist) who proposed a classification based on morphological characteristics , so that they would remain three zones: Northern Andes, Central Andes and Southern Andes.

Origin of the Andes Mountains

Origin of the Andes Mountains

The origin of the Andes can be explained by the movement of tectonic plates and specifically by the subduction of oceanic plates that were under the South American plate. And it is due to subduction and its consequences that there are areas in this mountain range with volcanic activity. And the 4 known areas are:

  • North volcanic zone. That covers Colombia and Ecuador ;
  • South volcanic zone. That covers Argentina and Chile;
  • Central volcanic zone. It includes Argentina, Peru, Bolivia and Chile;
  • Austral volcanic zone. Chile and Argentina.

More in: Tectonic Plates .

It has the highest volcanoes on the planet

Within these mountainous areas there are at least 10 of the volcanoes that are considered the highest in the world, and among which we can name: Nevado Ojos de Salado and Monte Pissis (Argentina) and the Stratovolcano (Bolivia).

It has one of the best places for skiing

It is the "Valle Nevado" , and is considered one of the best places to practice snowboard. Its base is at 2850 meters above sea level while its highest point is at 3670 meters above sea level. It is located close to 2 hours from Santiago de Chile.

It has the most beautiful snow in the world

It has the most beautiful snow in the world

A summit of 5947 meters above sea level, it is the Alpamayo and has received this categorization by the highest body to do so, UNESCO. It is located in Peru.

The above content published at Collaborative Research Group is for informational and educational purposes only and has been developed by referring reliable sources and recommendations from technology experts. We do not have any contact with official entities nor do we intend to replace the information that they emit.


MA student of the TransAtlantic Masters program at UNC-Chapel Hill. Political Science with a focus on European Studies. Expressed ideas are open to revision. He not only covers Technical articles but also has skills in the fields of SEO, graphics, web development and coding. .

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