Venezuela Relief Part I

By | December 16, 2021

Four major regions are distinguished in Venezuela, very different from each other in physical, anthropogenic and economic conditions: a northern mountainous region, a coastal region, the plains (llanos) of the Orinoco, and the Guiana plateau, of which it is included within the Venezolan borders throughout the north-western part.

The northern mountainous region and the coastal region constitute the most vital part of the country, the most densely populated and the most economically developed. The first occupies an area equivalent to 13% of the total area of ​​the state (120,000 sq km: the area of ​​northern Italy); it is formed in the west by the Cordillera de Mérida, a bundle of chains about 400 km long. and wide from 80 to 130, continuation of the Eastern Cordillera of Colombia, from which the passes that separate it from the Táchira Valley lead to that of Torbes, and which lower to 1400 m., while the peaks of the Cordillera usually remain over 3000 m. high, and some even exceed 4500 m. (the Columna, SE of Mérida, rises to 5000 m.) and brings permanent snow and some small glaciers. The Cordillera de Mérida is a huge anticline, formed by a nucleus of crystalline rocks (granites, gneisses, mica schists) that erosion has uncovered in the highest central range, and which in the rest are buried under a powerful blanket of conglomerates, of Cretaceous and Cenozoic limestone and sandstone. The anticline is dissymmetrical, and the northern slope of the Cordillera is much more steep than the southern one. The morphology is varied: there are areas, but restricted, with shallow valleys and large rounded peaks; in the majority, however, a very tormented morphology prevails, with narrow and deep valleys, with very steep sides, acute alpine peaks and ridges; between the various chains there are various alluvial basins. The highest areas of the Cordillera de Mérida are covered by alpine pastures; the external slopes, abundantly watered by the rains, are covered with beautiful forests; those of the internal valleys, in their lower part are covered by scrubs, and between 1800 and 2800 m., on average, they have a covering of forests. In some areas where metamorphosed schists or conglomerates emerge, the vegetation is very poor. For Venezuela 2004, please check

Another continuation of the Eastern Cordillera of Colombia is the Sierra de Perija, formed by granite and limestone and sandstone of the Cretaceous period, and more than 3000 m high.

To the east of the Cordillera de Mérida lie the plateau of Tocuyo and Barquisimeto, the mountainous region of Coro and the massif of Aroa, forming a very rugged whole, geologically devoid of cohesion. The plateau of Tocuyo and Barquisimeto, which extends between 400 and 800 m. in height, it is slightly bumpy by low hilly ridges; only the basin of Carora, 420-520 m high, has a perfectly flat bottom. Cretaceous sandstones and schists form the surface areas of the plateau, mostly covered by xerophilous vegetation.

In the mountainous region of Coro there are three rather low chains (1000-1500 m.), Parallel, cut transversely by deep incisions. The long valleys that separate one chain from the other correspond to synclines, still covered with sandstones and clays from the Upper Cretaceous or Cenozoic, which on the ridges and the highest slopes of the chains have instead been removed by erosion, which has thus the limestones below are uncovered. In some areas, Cenozoic marls and molasses and Quaternary conglomerates rest on the sandstones. Forests and savannahs cover the eastern part of the region, which to the west, on the other hand, is drier, and below is covered by thickets of Mimosaceae; above, the forest also predominates here. The Aroa massif is a pillar (horst) of mica schists, 1800 m high.

To the north of the Coro region, the Paraguana Peninsula stretches out into the Caribbean Sea, opposite the Goajira Peninsula (of which a small strip to the SE belongs to Venezuela), which has many similarities with Goajira. It is formed in the outermost areas by tertiary molasses, which surround a central core formed by volcanic rocks; the Cerro de Santa Ana reaches you at 400 m. A narrow sandy isthmus, where the wind accumulates shifting dunes (médanos), connects it to the mainland.

The low threshold of Yaritagua separates the region of Coro and Barquisimeto from the Caribbean Mountains, which rise parallel to the coast to Trinidad Island, which is a fragment of them. It is possible to distinguish a western and an eastern part, separated by the wide valley of the Río Unare and the Gulf of Barcelona. The first includes two main chains: the northern one, made up of granite, gneiss and mica schists, rises along the coast at first with heights of 15001700 m., Up to the Las Trincheras Pass (600 m.; it is used by the Valencia-Puerto railway Cabello), then reaches 2400 m. in the Picacho Codazzi, to lower again to a thousand meters in the Passo di Catia, crossed by the Caracas-La Guaira railway. To the east of this pass rises the Pico de Naiguatá (2765 m.), The highest peak of this chain, which ends at Capo Codera and between this and Puerto Cabello goes down to the very steep coast. Its northern flanks are lined with dense forests, while its southern flanks are rather bald. The southern, internal chain is made up of gneisses and mica schists in the higher areas, and of diabase and porphyry and cretaceous sedimentations in the rest; it is known as Serranía del Interior. Like the northern range, it is deeply affected twice: by the Tinaquillo Pass, south of Valencia (400m), and by the Villa de Cura Pass (560m). South of the Tuy River, in the eastern section, it reaches 1800 meters (Cerro Azul). Between one chain and the other a wide furrow opens, in the most depressed part of which the waters of Lake Valencia collect and which is crossed to the east of this by the Río Tuy.

Venezuela Relief