Geography The Pantanal

The Pantanal is located in the center of the South American continent and is part of the immense flood plain of the Upper Paraguay River.

It is a gently sloping plain, from the highest parts in its northeast to the lowest in the west and southwest.

Its formation, with average elevations below 100 m, is the result of the great pre-Andean concave depression of the Earth’s crust, related to Andean orogenic movements in the Tertiary period.

The Pantanal consists of a huge interior delta of rivers, which during the annual flood are interconnected by the floods. The flood occurs during the rainy season, between December and March, when the Pantanal receives the waters of the plateaus that surround it, mainly in the North and Northeast. Due to the low slope of this plain in the North-South and East-West, the water that falls in the headwaters of the Paraguay River, take monhts to cross the Pantanal. As the flow of water is slow and the altitude of the basin extremely low, the result is the typical annual flood of the Pantanal.

During the flood when the rivers overflow, large amounts of natural sediments are brought in by the waters. When the soil recedes from the waters, these highly nutritious sediments serve as fertilizer for the soil, causing an explosion of life in the changing seasons. Thus, the water cycle forms the fundamental basis for the abundant flora and fauna and helps to preserve its own environment by hindering the invasion of the Pantanal by man.

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