Cordillera Occidental (Colombia)

The Cordillera Occidental (English: Western Ranges) is the lowest in elevation of the three branches of the Colombian Andes. The average altitude is 2,000 m (6,600 ft) and the highest peak is Cerro Tatamá at 4,100 m (13,500 ft). The range extends from south to north dividing from the Colombian Massif in Nariño Department, passes north through Cauca, Valle del Cauca, Risaralda, Chocó, and Caldas Departments to the Paramillo Massif in Antioquia and Córdoba Departments. The cordillera is paralleled on the east by the Cauca river.[2] From this massif the range divides further to form the Serranías de Ayapel, San Jerónimo and Abibe. Only to recede into the Caribbean plain and the Sinú River valley.

Cordillera Occidental (Western Ranges)
Highest point
PeakCerro Tatamá[1]
Elevation4,100 m (13,500 ft)
Length1,200 km (750 mi) north-south
Area86,239 km2 (33,297 sq mi)

It is a direct continuation of Cordillera Occidental of Ecuador.[3]

Pico de Loro (Parrot Peak) in the Farallones de Cali
Munchique's Mountain
Cumbal Volcano

Geography edit

The western part of the mountain range belongs to the Pacific region of Colombia, with the San Juan River being the main watershed, while the eastern part belongs to the Cauca River basin. The northern and northwestern parts belong to the Atlantic Slope, with the Atrato and Sinú Rivers being the main watersheds. The Cordillera Occidental is separated from the coastal Baudó Mountains by the Atrato River.

A number of ecoregions cover the cordillera. The Chocó–Darién moist forests cover the western foothills below 1000 meters elevation. The Northwestern Andean montane forests cover the humid western slopes of the range. The Cauca Valley montane forests cover the eastern slopes. Northern Andean páramo covers the highest elevations.

Highest peaks edit

  • Cerro Tatamá – 4,100 m (13,500 ft) – Chocó & Risaralda
  • Azufral – 4,070 m (13,350 ft) – Nariño
  • Farallones de Cali – 4,050 m (13,290 ft) – Valle del Cauca
  • Farallones del Citará – 4,050 m (13,290 ft) – Antioquia
  • Páramo de Frontino – 3,950 m (12,960 ft) – Antioquia
  • Cerro Caramanta – 3,900 m (12,800 ft) – Antioquia, Caldas & Risaralda
  • Cerro Napi – 3,860 m (12,660 ft) – Cauca
  • Alto Musinga – 3,850 m (12,630 ft) – Antioquia
  • Cerro Calima – 3,840 m (12,600 ft) – Valle del Cauca
  • Cerro Paramillo – 3,730 m (12,240 ft) – Antioquia
  • Cerro Ventana – 3,450 m (11,320 ft) – Valle del Cauca & Chocó

Protected areas edit

The West Andes have the following nationally protected areas from south to north:

Other areas under consideration for national protection include:

Locally protected areas edit

Recreation areas edit

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ "Cordillera Occidental (Colombia)". Archived from the original on 26 August 2013. Retrieved 8 August 2012.
  3. ^ "The structure of Colombia". Eos, Transactions American Geophysical Union. 33 (5): 739–748. October 1952. doi:10.1029/TR033i005p00739.