Venezuela - Topography



Venezuela has four principal geographical divisions. In the north emerges a low extension of the Andes chain; to the west lies the hot basin of Lake Maracaibo; to the southeast spread the great plains (llanos) and forests; and south of the Orinoco River lie the unoccupied and largely unexplored Guiana Highlands, accounting for about half the country's total area. The Orinoco at about 2,574 km (1,600 mi) long, drains four-fifths of Venezuela. There are more than 1,000 other rivers. About 90% of the nation's population is concentrated between the northeastern plateau of the Andes, on which is located the capital, Caracas, and another Andean extension to the west along the Venezuela-Colombia border, covering approximately one-fourth of the total national area.

Outstanding geographical features include Angel Falls (979 m or 3,212 ft high) in the Guiana Highlands of southeastern Venezuela, the highest waterfall in the world; the navigable Lake Maracaibo in the west, which is about 80 km (50 mi) wide and 210 km (130 mi) long and is accessible to ocean shipping; and Pico Bolívar in the Sierra Nevada de Mérida, the highest peak in Venezuela (5,007 m/16,427 ft).

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