National Geographic : 1891 Mar 28
Gardiner G. Iubbard--SouthAmerica. Bolivia and Ecuador to Colombia. The Cordilleras and the Andes are connected in several places by knots or cross-chains of moun tains. In Colombia the Andes turn to the northwest, reaching their lowest elevation at the Panama canal, and continue thence, through Central America and North America as the Rocky Mountains, to the Arctic ocean. Near the source of the Magda lena and Cauca rivers in Colombia, the eastern range is deflected to the east along the northern coast of South America. The cen tral range disappears between the Magdalena and Cauca rivers. The Andes form the water-shed of the continent. The waters on the western slope flow into the Pacific ocean. The rivers that rise on the eastern slope, in northern Peru and Ecuador, force their way through the Cordilleras and at their foot drain the montania of Bolivia, Peru and Brazil. In the southern part of Peru and upper Chili there is a broad sierra or plateau, at an elevation of from twelve to fourteen thousand feet. The streams that rise in this sierra either empty into salt or alkaline lakes or sink into the ground. Unlike all other long ranges of mountains, the continental or eastern side of the Cordilleras is nearly as precipitous as that ex tending to the Pacific. Craters of extinct volcanoes and volcanoes now in eruption are found in all parts of the chain. In Ecuador there are fifty-two volcanoes, and twenty of these, covered with perpetual snow and presided over by Chimborazo and Cotopaxi, rise out of a group of mountains encircling the valley of Quito, and are all visible from a single point. Three are active and five others have been in eruption at one or more times since the con quest. One of these, Sangai, is the most active volcano on the globe: it sends forth a constant stream of fire, water, mud and ashes, and some assert that it has done so without intermission for 300 years ; 267 explosions have been counted in one hour. This is also the land of earthquakes : in 1868, 50,000 lives, we are told, were lost in one day ; the tremor was felt over four countries and from the Andes to the Sandwich Islands. The tidal wave washed a gunboat of the United States on shore at Arica in lower Peru, 1000 miles to the south, and sixteen hours later the wave was felt across the Pacific at New ZeaJand. A range of mountains separates Eastern Venezuela and Guiana from the valley of the Amazon. Other ranges south of the Amazon run southwestwardly, following the Atlantic coast line from Cape St. Roque to the Rio de la Plata.
1891 Apr 1