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The andes mountains are one of the greatest mountain ranges on earth, superseded in height only by the Himalayas. They form an enormous meteorological barrier along the spine of South America, running along the western side of the continent from Columbia south to Chile for over 4,000 miles (over 7,000 kilometers).

The Andres have over 50 mountains that exceed 20,000 feet (6,1000 meters) in height; only the Himalayas are taller. Mount Aconcagua, Argentina, only 65 miles west of Santiago, Chile at 22,831 feet (6,959 meters), is the tallest mountain in the Western Hemisphere.

Passes across the Andres usually are very high. At its widest in the Bolivian section it is over 300 miles (500 kilometers) across from east to west.

From the peaks of the Andes flow the ...

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