Sierra Madre de Chiapas

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Sierra Madre de Chiapas
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Volcanoes of the Sierra Madre de Chiapas in Guatemala
Highest point
Peak Volcán Tajumulco (Guatemala)
Elevation 4,220 m (13,850 ft)
Coordinates 15°2′37″N91°54′11″W / 15.04361°N 91.90306°W / 15.04361; -91.90306
Geography
Outline map of Central America.svg
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Location in Central America
North America laea relief location map.jpg
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Location in North America
Countries Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras
Range coordinates 15°30′N92°36′W / 15.5°N 92.6°W / 15.5; -92.6 Coordinates: 15°30′N92°36′W / 15.5°N 92.6°W / 15.5; -92.6
Geology
Orogeny Central America Volcanic Arc

The Sierra Madre de Chiapas (as known in Mexico, with regional names in other countries) is a major mountain range in Central America. The Sierra Madre de Chiapas is part of the American Cordillera, a chain of mountain ranges (cordillera) that consists of an almost continuous sequence of mountain ranges that form the western "backbone" of North America, Central America, and South America.

Mountain range A geographic area containing several geologically related mountains

A mountain range or hill range is a series of mountains or hills ranged in a line and connected by high ground. A mountain system or mountain belt is a group of mountain ranges with similarity in form, structure, and alignment that have arisen from the same cause, usually an orogeny. Mountain ranges are formed by a variety of geological processes, but most of the significant ones on Earth are the result of plate tectonics. Mountain ranges are also found on many planetary mass objects in the Solar System and are likely a feature of most terrestrial planets.

Central America Place

Central America is located on the southern tip of North America, or is sometimes defined as a subcontinent of the Americas, bordered by Mexico to the north, Colombia to the southeast, the Caribbean Sea to the east, and the Pacific Ocean to the west and south. Central America consists of seven countries: Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama. The combined population of Central America has been estimated to be 41,739,000 and 42,688,190.

American Cordillera mountain chain along the western side of North and South America

The American Cordillera is a chain of mountain ranges (cordilleras) that consists of an almost continuous sequence of mountain ranges that form the western "backbone" of North America, South America and West Antarctica. It is also the backbone of the volcanic arc that forms the eastern half of the Pacific Ring of Fire.

Contents

Geography

The range runs northwest–southeast from the state of Chiapas in Mexico, across western Guatemala, into El Salvador and Honduras. Most of the volcanoes of Guatemala, part of the Central America Volcanic Arc, are within the range.

Chiapas State of Mexico

Chiapas, officially the Free and Sovereign State of Chiapas, is one of the 31 states that along with the federal district of Mexico City make up the 32 federal entities of Mexico. It is divided into 124 municipalities as of September 2017 and its capital city is Tuxtla Gutiérrez. Other important population centers in Chiapas include Ocosingo, Tapachula, San Cristóbal de las Casas, Comitán and Arriaga. It is the southernmost state in Mexico. It is located in Southeastern Mexico, and it borders the states of Oaxaca to the west, Veracruz to the northwest and Tabasco to the north, and by the Petén, Quiché, Huehuetenango and San Marcos departments of Guatemala to the east and southeast. Chiapas has a coastline along the Pacific Ocean to the south.

Mexico country in the southern portion of North America

Mexico, officially the United Mexican States, is a country in the southern portion of North America. It is bordered to the north by the United States; to the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; to the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and to the east by the Gulf of Mexico. Covering almost 2,000,000 square kilometres (770,000 sq mi), the nation is the fifth largest country in the Americas by total area and the 13th largest independent state in the world. With an estimated population of over 120 million people, the country is the eleventh most populous state and the most populous Spanish-speaking state in the world, while being the second most populous nation in Latin America after Brazil. Mexico is a federation comprising 31 states and Mexico City, a special federal entity that is also the capital city and its most populous city. Other metropolises in the state include Guadalajara, Monterrey, Puebla, Toluca, Tijuana and León.

Guatemala republic in Central America

Guatemala, officially the Republic of Guatemala, is a country in Central America bordered by Mexico to the north and west, Belize and the Caribbean to the northeast, Honduras to the east, El Salvador to the southeast and the Pacific Ocean to the south. With an estimated population of around 16.6 million, it is the most populated country in Central America. Guatemala is a representative democracy; its capital and largest city is Nueva Guatemala de la Asunción, also known as Guatemala City.

A narrow coastal plain lies south of the range, between the Sierra Madre and the Pacific Ocean. To the north lie a series of highlands and depressions, including the Chiapas Depression, which separates the Sierra Madre from the Chiapas Plateau, the Guatemalan Highlands, and Honduras' interior highlands.

Pacific Ocean Ocean between Asia and Australia in the west, the Americas in the east and Antarctica or the Southern Ocean in the south.

The Pacific Ocean is the largest and deepest of Earth's oceanic divisions. It extends from the Arctic Ocean in the north to the Southern Ocean in the south and is bounded by Asia and Australia in the west and the Americas in the east.

Guatemalan Highlands upland region in southern Guatemala, lying between the Sierra Madre de Chiapas to the south and the Petén lowlands to the north; made up of a series of high valleys enclosed by mountains

The Guatemalan Highlands is an upland region in southern Guatemala, lying between the Sierra Madre de Chiapas to the south and the Petén lowlands to the north. The highlands are made up of a series of high valleys enclosed by mountains. The local name for the region is Altos, meaning "highlands", which includes the northern declivity of the Sierra Madre. The mean elevation is greatest in the west and least in the east. A few of the streams of the Pacific slope actually rise in the highlands, and force a way through the Sierra Madre at the bottom of deep ravines. One large river, the Chixoy or Salinas River, escapes northwards towards the Gulf of Mexico. The relief of the mountainous country which lies north of the Highlands and drains into the Atlantic is varied by innumerable terraces, ridges and underfalls; but its general configuration is compared by E. Reclus with the appearance of "a stormy sea breaking into parallel billows". The parallel ranges extend east and west with a slight southerly curve towards their centres. A range called the Sierra de Chamá, which, however, changes its name frequently from place to place, strikes eastward towards Belize, and is connected by low hills with the Cockscomb Mountains; another similar range, the Sierra de Santa Cruz, continues east to Cape Cocoli between the Polochic and the Sarstoon; and a third, the Sierra de las Minas or, in its eastern portion, Sierra del Mico, stretches between the Polochic and the Motagua rivers. Between Honduras and Guatemala, the frontier is formed by the Sierra de Merendón.

The range forms the main drainage divide between the Pacific and Atlantic river systems. On the Pacific side the distance to the sea is short, and the streams, while very numerous, are consequently small and rapid. A few of the streams of the Pacific slopes rise in the Guatemalan Highlands, and force a way through the Sierra Madre at the bottom of deep ravines. On the eastern side a number of the rivers of the Atlantic slopes attain a considerable volume and size.

Drainage divide Elevated terrain that separates neighbouring drainage basins

A drainage divide, water divide, divide, ridgeline,, watershed, water parting or height of land is elevated terrain that separates neighbouring drainage basins. On rugged land, the divide lies along topographical ridges, and may be in the form of a single range of hills or mountains, known as a dividing range. On flat terrain, especially where the ground is marshy, the divide may be harder to discern.

Regional names

It is known near Guatemala city as the Sierra de las Nubes, and enters Mexico as the Sierra de Istatan. Its summit is not a well-defined crest, but is often rounded or flattened into a table-land. The direction of the great volcanic cones, which rise in an irregular line above it, is not identical with the main axis of the Sierra itself, except near the Mexican frontier, but has a more southerly trend, especially towards El Salvador.

Volcanoes

The base of many of the volcanic igneous peaks rests among the southern foothills in the southern region of the range. It is, however, impossible to subdivide the Sierra Madre into a northern and a volcanic chain; for the volcanoes are isolated by stretches of comparatively low country; at least thirteen considerable streams flow down between them, from the main watershed to the sea. Viewed from the coast, the volcanic cones seem to rise directly from the central heights of the Sierra Madre, above which they tower; but in reality their bases are, as a rule, farther south.

East of Volcán Tacana (4,092 metres) which marks the Mexican frontier, the principal volcanoes are Tajumulco (4,220 meters); Santa Maria (3,777 meters), which was in eruption during 1902, after centuries of quiescence, in which its slopes had been overgrown by dense forests; Atitlan (3,557 meters), overlooking Lake Atitlan; Acatenango (3,976 meters); Fuego (i.e. "fire," 3,763 metres), which received its name from its activity at the time of the Spanish conquest; Agua (i.e. "water," 3,765 meters), so named in 1541 because it destroyed the former capital of Guatemala with a deluge of water from its flooded crater; and Pacaya (2,550 metres), a group of igneous peaks which were in eruption in 1870. East of the Guatemalan border, the range forms the boundary between El Salvador and Honduras. In El Salvador, the volcanoes form a line well south of the range, where over twenty volcanoes form five clusters. Between the Sierra Madre and the Volcanic line lies a central plateau.

Volcán Tajumulco stratovolcano in Guatemala

Volcán Tajumulco is a large stratovolcano in the department of San Marcos in western Guatemala. It is the highest mountain in Central America at 4,202 metres (13,786 ft). It is part of the mountain range of the Sierra Madre de Chiapas, which begins in Mexico's southernmost state of Chiapas.

Volcán Atitlán mountain

Volcán Atitlán is a large, conical, active stratovolcano adjacent to the caldera of Lake Atitlán in the Guatemalan Highlands of the Sierra Madre de Chiapas range. It is within the Sololá Department, northern Guatemala.

Acatenango mountain

Acatenango is a stratovolcano in Guatemala, close to the city of Antigua. The volcano has two peaks, Pico Mayor and Yepocapa which is also known as Tres Hermanas. Acatenango is joined with Volcán de Fuego and collectively the volcano complex is known as La Horqueta.

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Sierra Madre de Chiapas in distance, near Quetzaltenango in Guatemala.

The mountain at left is the Volcán Siete Orejas (left) and Volcán Tajumulco (center).

See also

Geography of Mesoamerica geographic area and features of Mesoamerica, a culture area in the Americas inhabited by complex indigenous pre-Columbian cultures, such as, the Olmec, Teotihuacan, the Maya, the Aztec and the Purépecha

The geography of Mesoamerica describes the geographic features of Mesoamerica, a culture area in the Americas inhabited by complex indigenous pre-Columbian cultures exhibiting a suite of shared and common cultural characteristics. Several well-known Mesoamerican cultures include the Olmec, Teotihuacan, the Maya, the Aztec and the Purépecha. Mesoamerica is often subdivided in a number of ways. One common method, albeit a broad and general classification, is to distinguish between the highlands and lowlands. Another way is to subdivide the region into sub-areas that generally correlate to either culture areas or specific physiographic regions.

Related Research Articles

Geography of El Salvador

El Salvador borders the North Pacific Ocean to the south and southwest, with Guatemala to the north-northwest and Honduras to the north-northeast. In the southeast, the Golfo de Fonseca separates it from Nicaragua. El Salvador is the smallest Central American country and is the only one without a coastline on the Caribbean sea.

Geography of Mexico

The geography of Mexico describes the geographic features of Mexico, a country in the Americas. Mexico is located at about 23° N and 102° W in the southern portion of North America. From its farthest land points, Mexico is a little over 3,200 km (2,000 mi) in length. Mexico is bounded to the north by the United States, to the west and south by the Pacific Ocean, to the east by the Gulf of Mexico, and to the southeast by Belize, Guatemala, and the Caribbean Sea. The northernmost constituent of Latin America, it is the most populous Spanish-speaking country in the world. Mexico is the world's 13th largest country, three times the size of Texas.

Geography of Guatemala

Guatemala is mountainous, except for the south coastal area and the vast northern lowlands of Petén department. Two mountain chains enter Guatemala from west to east, dividing the country into three major regions: the highlands, where the mountains are located; the Pacific coast, south of the mountains; and the Petén region, north of the mountains. These areas vary in climate, elevation, and landscape, providing dramatic contrasts between hot and humid tropical lowlands and highland peaks and valleys.

Sierra Madre may refer to:

Lake Atitlán crater lake in the Western Highlands of Guatemala

Lake Atitlán is a lake in the Guatemalan Highlands of the Sierra Madre mountain range. It is in the Sololá Department of southwestern Guatemala. It is the deepest lake in Central America

Central America Volcanic Arc

The Central American Volcanic Arc is a chain of volcanoes which extends parallel to the Pacific coast line of the Central American Isthmus, from Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and down to northern Panama. This volcanic arc, which has a length of 1,500 kilometres (930 mi), is formed by an active subduction zone along the western boundary of the Caribbean Plate.

<i>Abies guatemalensis</i> species of plant

Abies guatemalensis, the Guatemalan fir or pinabete, is an evergreen tree native to Central America and is the southernmost member of the genus Abies being spread to the south lower than 14° N. Its range is from southern Mexico in the north to Honduras and El Salvador in the south. It is a warm-loving and moisture-loving tree of the tropical mountain coniferous and mixed cloud forests of these countries. Guatemalan fir is an almost completely non-frost-resistant tree. Due to logging and loss of habitat, the tree is considered threatened and is protected in CITES Appendix I.

Volcán Tacaná mountain in Guatemala

The volcano Tacaná is the second highest peak in Central America at 4,060 metres (13,320 ft), located in the Sierra Madre de Chiapas of northern Guatemala and southern Mexico. It is also known in Mexico as Volcán Tacina.

<i>Plectrohyla guatemalensis</i> species of amphibian

Plectrohyla guatemalensis, also known as the Guatemala spikethumb frog, is a species of frog in the family Hylidae. It occurs in the highlands of the Sierra Madre from southeastern Chiapas, Mexico, and eastward through the central and southwestern highlands of Guatemala to northwestern El Salvador as well as the Sierra de Nombre de Dios in north-central Honduras. It might be a composite of more than one species.

The Central America bioregion is a biogeographic region comprising southern Mexico and Central America.

Central American montane forests

The Central American montane forests are an ecoregion of the tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forests biome, as defined by the World Wildlife Fund, located in mountains of Central America.

References

    Wikisource-logo.svg Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Chiapas"  . Encyclopædia Britannica . 6 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 117.