Central Chile

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Natural regions of Chile.
Nevado de Longavi is one of many volcanoes that rise out of the Andes in Central Chile. Nevados del longavi.JPG
Nevado de Longaví is one of many volcanoes that rise out of the Andes in Central Chile.

Central Chile (Zona central) is one of the five natural regions into which CORFO divided continental Chile in 1950. It is home to a majority of the Chilean population and includes the three largest metropolitan areas—Santiago, Valparaíso, and Concepción. It extends from 32° south latitude to 37° south latitude.



Central Chile is one of the five main geographical zones in which Chile is divided. The Chilean Central Valley lies between the Coastal range ("Cordillera de la Costa") and the Andes Mountains. To the north is the semi-desert region known as El Norte Chico, (the "little north"), which lies between 28° and 32° south latitude. To the south lies the cooler and wetter Valdivian temperate rain forests ecoregion, in Los Lagos Region; (the latter includes most of South America's temperate rain forests). The Central valley is a fertile region and the agricultural heartland of Chile.


Endangered Chilean Wine Palms in La Campana National Park Palmar de Ocoa, Chile.jpg
Endangered Chilean Wine Palms in La Campana National Park
Quillota, Renaca, Pichidangui , Aconcagua Valley SRTM-W71.70E69.90S33.00N32.00.Quillota.png
Quillota, Reñaca, Pichidangui , Aconcagua Valley
Valparaiso,Talagante, Santiago, San Antonio SRTM-W72.00E69.70S34.00N33.00.Talagante.png
Valparaiso,Talagante, Santiago, San Antonio
Chimbarongo, Rancagua SRTM-W72.30E69.70S35.00N34.00.Chimbarongo.png
Chimbarongo, Rancagua

The climate is of the temperate Mediterranean type, with the amount of rainfall increasing considerably and progressively from north to south. In the Santiago area, the average monthly temperatures are about 30 °C (86 °F) in the summer months of January and February and 15 °C (59 °F) in the winter months of June and July. The average monthly precipitation is no more than a trace in January and February and 69.7 millimetres (2.74 in) in June and July. By contrast, in Concepción the average monthly temperatures are somewhat lower in the summer at 17.6 °C (63.7 °F) but higher in the winter at 9.3 °C (48.7 °F), and the amount of rain is much greater. In the summer, Concepción receives an average of twenty millimeters of rain per month; in June and July, the city is pounded by an average of 253 millimetres (10.0 in) per month. The numerous rivers greatly increase their flow as a result of the winter rains and the spring melting of the Andean snows, and they contract considerably in the summer. The combination of abundant snow in the Andes and relatively moderate winter temperatures creates excellent conditions for Alpine skiing.

The annual mean temperature in Santiago is 57 °F (14 °C). 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 (330 mm) and in Valparaíso, it amounts to 15 inches (380 mm). Along the Central Valley rainfall increases gradually southward until it reaches 52 inches (1,300 mm) in Concepción.


Talca, Linares SRTM-W73.00E70.00S36.00N35.00.Talca.png
Talca, Linares
Chillan, Tome SRTM-W73.30E70.33S37.00N36.00.Chillan.png
Chillán, Tomé
Nascimiento, Concepcion, Los Angeles SRTM-W74.00E71.00S38.00N37.00.Nacimiento.png
Nascimiento, Concepción, Los Angeles
Temuco, Puerto Saavedra, Isla Mocha SRTM-W74.00E70.70S39.00N38.00.Temuco.png
Temuco, Puerto Saavedra, Isla Mocha

The topography of central Chile includes a coastal range of mountains running parallel to the Andes. Lying between the two mountain ranges is the so-called Central Valley, which contains some of the richest agricultural land in the country, especially in its northern portion. The area just north and south of Santiago is a large producer of fruits, including the grapes from which the best Chilean wines are made. Exports of fresh fruit began to rise dramatically in the mid-1970s because Chilean growers had the advantage of being able to reach markets in the Northern Hemisphere during that part of the world's winter. Most of these exports, such as grapes, apples, and peaches, go by refrigerator ships, but some, such as berries, go by air freight.

The southern portion of central Chile contains a mixture of some excellent agricultural lands, many of which were covered originally with old-growth forests. They were cleared for agriculture but were soon exhausted of their organic matter and left to erode. Large tracts of this worn-out land, many of them on hilly terrain, have been reforested for the lumber, especially for the cellulose and paper industries. New investments during the 1980s in these industries transformed the rural economy of the region. The pre-Andean highlands and some of the taller and more massive mountains in the coastal range (principally the Cordillera de Nahuelbuta) still contain large tracts of old-growth forests of remarkable beauty, some of which have been set aside as national parks. Between the coastal mountains and the ocean, many areas of central Chile contain stretches of land that are lower than the Central Valley and are generally quite flat. The longest beaches can be found in such sections.

Demography and economy

Many of Chile's vineyards are found on flat land within the foothills of the Andes. Chilean vineyard in Andes foothills.jpg
Many of Chile's vineyards are found on flat land within the foothills of the Andes.

The following regions are traditionally considered as being part of Chile's central Valley:

Historically, the Central valley has been the heartland of the country with the highest concentration of population (two thirds of the country's population) and, in addition, the area where the greater proportion of the economic productivity of the country is concentrated. 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, fishing, and manufacturing sector.

The main cities are: Santiago, Valparaíso, Viña del Mar, Quilpué, Villa Alemana, Quillota, Puente Alto, San Antonio, Melipilla, Rancagua, Curicó, Talca, Linares, Chillán, Concepción, Talcahuano, Coronel and Los Ángeles.

Coordinates: 35°20′07″S70°43′48″W / 35.33529°S 70.72998°W / -35.33529; -70.72998

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Valdivian temperate rain forest type of rainforest

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Chilean Coast Range mountain range that runs from north to south along the Pacific coast of South America parallel to the Andean Mountains

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Norte Chico, Chile

The Norte Chico is one of the five natural regions into which CORFO divided continental Chile in 1950. Its northern border is formed by the limit with the Far North, to the west lies the Pacific Ocean, to the east the Andes mountains and Argentina, and to the south the Zona Central natural region. Although from a strictly geographic point of view, this natural region corresponds to the Chilean territory between the rivers Copiapó and Aconcagua, traditionally the Norte Chico refers to the zone comprising the regions of Atacama and Coquimbo. This region was home to the Diaguita people.

Zona Sur

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Zona Austral geographical region of Chile

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Natural regions of Chile

Because Chile extends from a point about 625 kilometers north of the Tropic of Capricorn to a point hardly more than 1,400 kilometers north of the Antarctic Circle, within its territory can be found a broad selection of the Earth's climates.

Climate of Chile

The climate of Chile comprises a wide range of weather conditions across a large geographic scale, extending across 38 degrees in latitude, making generalizations difficult. According to the Köppen system, Chile within its borders hosts at least seven major climatic subtypes, ranging from low desert in the north, to alpine tundra and glaciers in the east and southeast, tropical rainforest in Easter Island, Oceanic in the south and Mediterranean climate in central Chile. There are four seasons in most of the country: summer, autumn, winter, and spring.

Agriculture in Chile

Agriculture in Chile encompasses a wide range of different activities due to its particular geography, climate, geology and human factors. Historically agriculture is one of the bases of Chile's economy, now agriculture and allied sectors—like forestry, logging and fishing—account only for 4.9% of the GDP as of 2007 and employed 13.6% of the country's labor force. Some major agricultural products of Chile include grapes, apples, onions, wheat, corn, oats, peaches, garlic, asparagus, beans, beef, poultry, wool, fish and timber. Due to its geographical isolation and strict customs policies, Chile is free from diseases such as Mad Cow, fruit fly and Phylloxera, this plus being located in the southern hemisphere and its wide range of agriculture conditions are considered Chile's main comparative advantages. However, the mountainous landscape of Chile limits the extent and intensity of agriculture so that arable land corresponds only to 2.62% of the total territory.

Chilean Matorral Terrestrial ecoregion of central Chile

The Chilean Matorral (NT1201) is a terrestrial ecoregion of central Chile, located on the west coast of South America. It is in the Mediterranean forests, woodlands, and scrub biome, part of the Neotropical realm.

Climatic regions of Argentina from the northly hot subtropical region to the southerly cold subantartic region.

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