The Andes Mountains bear some of the highest peaks known to the world. In elevation, they are second only to the Himalayas. But, besides possessing geographic superiority, these lands reaching up into the sky are the home of some of the most magnificent ancient treasures known to man.
**FACTS AND FIGURES
>>> The highest peak in the Andes mountains is Mt. Aconcagua, located in Argentina. This peak's immense size also makes it the highest mountain in the American continent, reaching above Alaska's Mt. McKinley.
>>> The Andes form an enormous mountain chain-more than 4700 miles long! The mountains encompass the west coast of South America, and include countries such as Chile, Ecuador, Argentina, and Peru.
>>> The Andes host quite a few volcanoes, such as Mount Sabancaya, the volcano Reinhard intended to visit at the beginning of his expedition. Cotopaxi, a volcano in Ecuador, is the highest active volcano in the world.
>>> The mountains are rich in minerals. There are stores of copper, tin, iron, and nitrates, although gold, silver, platinum, and even emeralds may be found as well.
>>> The enormoursly high altitudes of the Andes are responsible for severely cold temperatures. The towering elevation of the mountains causes the air to be thin, which is why it can not hold the heat of the sun. The peaks of this mountain range are covered in treacherous pinnacles of ice year-round.
>>> Because of high altitudes and frigid climates, the Andes are sparsely populated. However, the largest concentrations of inhabitants are found in Bolivia, Peru, Colombia, and the Ecuadorian Andes.