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Chilean Central Valley

The Central Valley , Intermediate Depression or Longitudinal Valley is the depression between the Chilean Coast Range and the Andes Mountains. The central valley should not be confused with Central Chile that encompasses part of the valley. At its widest definition, the geological one, the Central Valley have a discontineous extension from Pampa del Tamarugal at 20 S to Ofqui Isthmus at 46 S. The viticultural Central Valley extends from Santiago southwards to Bio-Bio Region.

Sometimes Puerto Montt is considered the southern end of the Central Valley because south of there the valley is below sea level and emerges sporadically as islands until it has its last reapparition at Ofqui Isthmus.

Geography and Climate

The central parts of the Central valley (34 - 38 S) is a fertile region and the agricultural heartland of Chile. At this latitudes the Central Valley has a Mediterranean climate, with temperatures dropping and precipitation increasing in a regular pattern from north to south. Winters are mild and summers are usually moderately hot and dry.

Between the western foothills of the Andes and the eastern foothills of the Cordillera de la Costa lies a concave area known as the Depresion Intermedia or Valle Longitudinal (longitudinal valley). This valley, which has been filled with the byproducts of volcanic activity and erosion of the surrounding mountains, was sculpted into its smooth present state by glaciers, both eolian and hydrous. It runs across almost entirely across Chile, from Arica to Puerto Montt, where it falls into the sea at Reloncavi Sound.

The Depression is only interrupted in a small stretch between the south of the Atacama Region and northern Valparaiso, where the aforementioned foothills close in from both sides and become separated only by a few narrow river gorges called transverse valleys (valles transversales).

The annual mean temperatures in Santiago is 57F (14C) The temperate action of the ocean prevents temperatures from dropping drastically, and if snow falls in the area, it does not usually stay on the ground for more than a few hours.

In Santiago the annual rainfall is 13 inches and in Valparaiso, outside the valley in the coast at the same latitude, it amounts to 15 inches. Along the Central Valley rainfall increases gradually southward until it reaches 52 inches in Concepcion.

Demography and Economy

Historically, the northern Central valley (Bio-Bio to Santiago) has been the heartland of the country with the highest concentration of population. Its economy is characterized by its diversity and the strongest pillars lie in the use of natural resources, through the copper mining, logging, agriculture and wine producing, and manufacturing sector.

The main cities from north to south are: Santiago, Puente Alto, Rancagua, Curico, Talca, Linares, Chillan, Los Angeles, Temuco, Osorno and Puerto Montt

External links

An aerial Google view of the Chilean Central Valley. Argentina lies to the east of the Andes range

Chilean National Tourism Service (Spanish)

Chilean Meteorological Service (Spanish)

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Chilean Central Valley

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