8 Argentina Geographic Regions

Argentina geographic regions are very dissimilar. There are plains and mountain ranges; woods and jungles; arid, swampy or clayish lands. Traversing the country along its latitude (3.779 km, according to IGN) is a long way.

From the point of view of geography, Argentina can be divided into eight different regions defined by a homogeneous climate and relief; these, in turn, are sub-divided according to its most salient features; to learn more about the climate in different regions see  Types of Climate of Argentina

8 Argentina geographic regions
8 Argentina geographic regions

1- Plata Plain Region

This great surface of 463,322 sq. mi. (1,200,000 km2) is located in the north-east of the country and its boundaries are set to the north by Pilcomayo, Paraguay and High Paraná Rivers; to the south, by Colorado Rivers; and the west boundary is set by the foot of the big mountainous masses.

The Plata Plain is, in turn, divided into the following regions:

Chaco Plain Subregion

Vista aérea de la Llanura Chaqueña
Llanura Chaqueña

The Chaco Plain is located to the northeast of Argentina. It limits the north with the Pilcomayo River, east to the Paraguay River and in the south with the mountains of Cordoba and the Salado river to its confluence with the Paraná river.

It occupies the north part of the region and integrates four morphological units: the High Chaco, whose soil has thick sands and slime; the Depressed Chaco, which presents wide surfaces covered by swamplands and marshlands; the Low Chaco, characterized by its clayish-sandy soil and by the numerous swamplands and frequent floods; finally, there is the Fluvial Diagonal of Santiago del Estero, with its vast swamplands.

Vista aérea de la Diagonal Fluvial de Santiago del Estero
Diagonal Fluvial. Santiago del Estero

Corrientes Marshlands Subregion

Vista de la vegetación de los Esteros Correntinos
Esteros. Corrientes

The estuaries and marshes are depressed areas, located in the Province of Corrientes, which is part of the Plata Plain , and is located between the Paraná and Uruguay rivers.

The waters of Alto Parana, whose channel was moving westward was leaving sandy sediments and contributing to the formation of dunes that were fixed by vegetation.

Different changes of relief and climate determined the formation of marshlands; the most important ones in this area are those of Iberá, Maloyas, Batel y Santa Lucía.

Pampean Plain Subregion

Vista del infinito horizonte de un camino en la Llanura Pampeana
Camino en la Llanura Pampeana

It is located in the south of the region. Three different types of low sierras are found in this area: Mahuidas, Tandilia y Ventania.

The Pampa Plain is divided into three parts: the undulating Pampa, whose territory presents soft slopes, where you can distinguish ravines and fluvial terraces; the depressed Pampa, with permanent floods and the high Pampa, where some salty lagoons, salt-pits and dune formations can be found.

Edificación y arboleda en un valle en la Pampa Ondulada
Valle en Pampa Ondulada

Entre Ríos Slopes Subregion

Vegetación del Palmar en Entre Ríos
Palmar. Entre Ríos

This sub-region can be found towards the east of this region and the south of the Corrientes Marshlands.

With a slightly undulating relief, it presents clayish soils and copious rainfalls.

Vegetación de las Lomadas Entrerianas
Lomadas. Entre Rios

Deltaic Plain Subregion

Vista de ambas márgenes de un Arroyo en el Delta
Arroyo de Islas de la Planicie Deltaica. B. Aires

This area of 14000 m2, is at the south of the Entre Ríos Slopes, and it is limited by Entre Rios, Santa Fe and Buenos Aires canyons.

The islands characterizing this region were formed by the constant deposit of sediments from Paraná River. A slow and permanent delta forming process determines the constant change in the shape and size of the islands.

Vegetación y sendero peatonal en las Islas del Delta
Camino en Islas del Delta. Buenos Aires

2- Sub-tropical Plain Region

Panoramic view of Sub-tropical Plain at Misiones
Sub-tropical Plain. Misiones

This region is located towards the north-east area of Argentina, its boundaries coincide with those of Paraguay and Brazil, and it is separated from the Plata Plain by the Aguapey River.
The frequent rains determine the vaulted relief of this plateau due to the erosion they produce. Furthermore, it presents some hills which are about 3,280 ft (1,000 m) high.

The rivers in this area usually have waterfalls and brooks and define the important hydraulic potential of the region. Las Cataratas del Iguazú fueron declaradas Patrimonio Natural de la Humanidad por la Unesco en 1984.

Vista panorámica de las Cataratas del Iguazú, Misiones
Cataratas del Iguazú. Misiones

3- The North-West Region

As indicated by its name, it is located in the north-west area of the country. It is divided into three sub-regions:

Puna Subregion

Vista de ruta en un paisaje de la Puna desde Cafayate, en los Valles Calchaquíes en el sudoeste de la Provincia de Salta
Paisaje puneño desde Cafayate. Salta

It is a vast altiplane going beyond the boundaries of Argentina. In Argentina limits at north with Bolivia and in the west with Chile.

The place is characterized by plateaus between 9,842 and 11,483 ft (3,000 and 3,500 m) high, separated by sierra ranges. Cafayate in Salta, is in the limit between the Puna and the Eastern Cordillera.

Eastern Cordillera Subregion

Vista del valle y la montaña en Maimará en la Quebrada de Humauca
Valle en Maimará, Q. de Humauca. Jujuy

Limits in the west with the Puna and in the east with Sub-Andean Sierras, it develops in north-south direction, between both.

It presents three different kinds of relief: one of them is mountainous, within which you distinguish two chains, the Western and the Eastern. In the Western the most important peaks are Aguilar and Chañi with 6200 msnm in Jujuy; Cachi, Acay and Cumbre del Obispo in Salta. In the Eastern, we found lower mountains represented by Sierras de Santa Victoria in Salta, and Tilcara in Jujuy.

Vista de los cerros con sus colores característicos de la Quebrada de Purmamarca
Quebrada de Purmamarca. Jujuy

Another relief kind is represented by quebradas. The Humahuaca and the Santa María-Guachipas are among the most important. The best known of the appointed place is definitely the Quebrada de Humuaca and its western branch, the Quebrada de Purmamarca, which resembles a large valley in front of the Rio Grande, where the Cerro de los Siete Colores stands. Humauaca Clough was declared Cultural and Natural Heritage in July 2003 by Unesco.

The valley, generally wide and with soft slopes, like the valley of Jujuy and the Lerma in Salta. To the north, the Valle de Lerma connects to the Quebrada de Humahuaca, Jujuy; the southwest with the Quebrada del Toro coming down from the Puna de Atacama and south borders the Calchaquíes Valleys, Tucumán.

El faldeo de la montaña en Maimara en la Quebrada de Huamhuaca
Cerros Maimara  Q. de Humahuaca. Jujuy

Sub-Andean Sierras Subregion

Paisaje de las Sierras de Tilcara. Jujuy
Cordillera oriental en Sierras de Tilcara. Jujuy

They are low, parallel sierras, looking from north-east to south-west.
Limited to the west by the Cordillera Oriental and on the east by the Chaco Plain. They develop along the provinces of Salta, Jujuy and Tucumán, from the border with Bolivia in the north to the valley of the Sali River in the south.

Comprises the Sierras de Oran, del Alto, Candelaria and Tartagal in Salta; Zapla, Santa Barbara, Centinela in Jujuy; Cresta de Gallo, between Salta and Jujuy; and Ramada in Tucumán among others.

4- Cuyo Region

Campos cultivados y la coordillera nevada de fondo. Mendoza
Valle y Cordillera. Mendoza

Located along the west border of the country and extending from the south of the Puna up to latitude 37º South, this region is basically mountainous. High summits and constant snowfalls are their main characteristics. In the Main Cordillera there is the Aconcagua, the highest peak in America, with 22,381 ft (6,959 m).

Vista del filo de las cumbres nevadas de Alta Montaña en Mendoza
High mountain. Mendoza

The foot of the mountains, to the east of the mountainous ranges constitutes the plain area within this region. In hydrographical terms, this area presents rivers with a thawing regime, making up the Desaguadero system in one of the driest places in the country.

5- Pampas Sierras Region

Vista de los cordones serranos con su verde característico en Tucumán
Sierras Pampeanas. Tucumán

This region is in the center of the country, occupying part of the provinces of Tucumán, Catamarca, La Rioja, Santiago del Estero, Córdoba, San Luis y San Juan.

Vista del faldeo de las Sierras en Catamarca
Camino Serrano. Catamarca
Vista del camino que une Traslasierra con Carlos Paz entre las Altas Cumbres en Córdoba
Camino de Altas Cumbres. Córdoba
Vista de cerros y valles en Tucumán
Cerros y Valles. Tucumán
Vista de las Sierras Pampeanas con los colores característicos de los Cerros Colorados Córdoba
Cerros Colorados. Córdoba
Vista de la vegetación achaparrada y de las Sierra de Los Comechingones en San Luis
Sierra de Los Comechingones. San Luis

The predominance of sierra ranges with flat tops, separated by valleys, fields or hollows, is the main characteristic of the area.

These ranges are the following: Eastern or Sierras de Aconquija, which divides the provinces of Catamarca and Tucumán; Austral, Central or Velasco in the Province of La Rioja; and West Famatina system in the center of the province of La Rioja Argentina, where stands the Cerro Gral. Belgrano also known as Nevado de Famatina with a height 6097 meters, which is the highest of South América’s extraandina summits.

6- Patagonia Region

Located towards the south of Colorado River, Patagonia is divided into two sub-regions:

Andean Patagonia Subregion

It is compounded by mountain ranges separated by valleys and lakes, whose summits are covered by glaciers.

Vista del Lago y cordon montañoso en San Martín de los Andes, Neuquén
Lago San Martín de los Andes, Neuquén
Río torrentoso en San Martín de los Andes, , Neuquén
Rio de Montaña, S. M. de los Andes, Neuquén
 

Extra-Andean Patagonia Subregion

Vista del verde Valle con sus parcelas cultivadas en Neuquén
Aérea de la Patagonia Extraandina, Neuquén

It is a plateau, and its morphology is varied and complex, presenting stair-shaped plateaus, sierras, depressions and wide fluvial valleys.

Región Extraandina, vista del valle, Río Negro
Región Extraandina. Rio Negro

7- Argentine Sea

From de Argentina geographic regions, the seventh region is the Argentine Sea. With a 386,102 sq. mi.(1,000,000 km2) surface, the Argentine shelf is one of the largest ones in the world and it is covered by the Argentine Sea.
It progressively widens towards the south and is morphologically similar to the Extra-Andean Patagonia, due to the stair-shaped plateaus.

Acantilados en el Mar Argentino, Península de Valdés. Chubut
Mar Argentino, Península de Valdés. Chubut
Costa del Mar Argentino
Mar Argentino, Chubut

The Malvinas Islands are within the Argentine platform.
The Argentine Sea generally presents a moderate surge and its tidal-range increases towards the south.

8- Argentine Antarctica

Blanco paisaje del relieve Antártico
Relieve Antártico. Sector Antártico Argentino

From Argentina geographic regions Antarctica is the southernmost region of the Argentine territory, it is covered by ice and snow most of the year.

This region sits on the Antarctic tectonic plate.

The Argentine Antarctic Sector is characterized by including a large peninsula elongated S-shaped, which is crossed by Antartandes, geologically, turns out to be a continuation of the Andes.

The topography is rocky outcrops, called nunatak; and winds reaching 124 mph (200 kmph) form ice dunes, called sastrugis.

This region is compounded by these islands: South Orcadas, South Shetland, Decepción, Palmer, Biscoe, Belgrano, Elefant, Clarence, Berkner, Portillo and Quijada.

Vista del Mar y Costa Antártica. Sector Antártico Argentino
Costa del Mar Argentino. S. Antártico Argentino

For a complete versión of this article please access the Spanish Version

Bibliography