Chile is a very rugged and diverse country that sits anxiously on the western edge of South America, between the unforgiving Pacific Ocean and the mighty Andes Mountains. This precarious position can be a dangerous one. This western edge of the entire South American Continent slowly slides ever westward over the massive Pacific Plate that plunges ever downward for hundreds of miles, disappearing into the mantle. This region is part of the Pacific Ring of Fire. A region notorious for its earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, and Chile certainly has plenty of those! Some of the largest earthquakes in modern history have happened in or near Chile. And, of course, Peru and Bolivia which form Chile’s northern border haven’t escaped the wrath of Pele either. South America’s deal with the Devil has resulted in some of the most magnificent scenery on Earth and even though Chile encompasses a very narrow strip of land, the country has managed to capture some of South America’s most splendid eye candy.
It all begins in the arid far northern climbs of Chile where the world’s oldest desert meets a spectacular end along the cliffs of Chile’s Coast Range which are high enough to create a rain shadow along the Atacama Desert’s western flank while the precipitous peaks of the mighty Andes create an impenetrable wall impervious to rain along the desert’s eastern flank. The area is dotted with volcanoes, in fact, there are 105 volcanoes that have been active at one time or another during the Holocene Epoch which began at the end of the last Ice Age, 11,500 years ago (List of Chile’s Volcanoes >). What’s even more impressive is that Chile still has 90 active or recently dormant volcanoes. All of this fire and ice, granite and basalt, sandstone cliffs and rocky shores make for some pretty spectacular surroundings. I have written about several of these regions in my book. These regions form a unique backdrop and sense of place in my epoch novel “The Visitors“.