- The Andes is a range of fold mountains formed 65 million years ago
- It is the longest range of fold mountains in the world at 7,000km and extends the length of South America.
- The Andes are 300km in width and have an average height of 4,000m
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Farming in the Andes
- The mountain slopes are used for farming
- In Bolivia, many subsistence farmers grow a variety of crops on the steep slopes.
- The use of terraces creates areas of flat land on the slopes. Terracing offers other advantages in trying to farm in the harsh environment.
- The flat areas retain water for use in areas that receive little water. They also limiy the downward movement of the soil in the areas where the soils are thin in the first place.
- The llamas can help with irrigation and trying to build in inhospitable or inhabitable areas.
- Irrigation is the artificial watering of land.
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Mining in the Andes
- The Andes has a range of important materails and the Andean countries rank highly (in the top 10) for tin, nickel, silver and gold.
- The Yanaocha gold mine is the largest gold mine in the world.
- It is an open pit and the gold-bearing rock is loosened by daily blasts of dynamite.
- The dynamite however can lead to contamination of water supplies.
- The nearby town of Cajamarca has grown from 30,000 inhabitants to about 300,000 in 2010. This brings with it alternative sources of jobs.
- However, this growth also brings many problems, including a lack of services and increased crime rate.
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- The steep slopes and narrow vallyes that limit farming are an advantage for hydroelectric power (HEP).
- They can be more easily dammed than wider valleys and the relief encourages the rapid fall of water to ensure the generation of electricity.
- The melting snow in the spring increases the supply of water, but the variation throughout the year is a disadvantage rather than an advantage.
- In 2009, the El Platanal HEP Power plant began to generate electricity
- The huge dam across the Canete River, the $200 million project is the second largest in Peru.
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- There are many attractions in the Andes such as the mountain peaks, volcanoes, glaciers and lakes
- Some tourist attractions show how people settled in these inhospitable areas, such as the remains of early settlements built by the Incas like Machu Picchu
- The Inca Trail combines both the Yanacocha gold mine and Machu Picchu.
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