Brazil covers 48 percent of South America’s area, and is the fifth largest country in the world (after Russia, Canada, China and the United States). The country has a total of approximately 15 720 kilometers long border with all countries in South America as close as Ecuador and Chile.
Brazil also has a 7,367-kilometer coastline to the Atlantic ; from the state of Amapas border with French Guiana to the state of Rio Grande do Sul’s border with Uruguay. This last point where the coastline reaches the Uruguay border is also Brazil’s southernmost point at 33 ° 44ʹ 32ʹʹ south latitude. Brazil’s northernmost point is north of the equator, on Roraima’s border with Guyana at 5 ° 16ʹ20ʹʹ north latitude. The westernmost point lies on the Acres border with Peru at 73 ° 59ʹ 32ʹʹ west longitude. The easternmost point of the mainland, which is also South America’s easternmost point, is Seixas in Paraíba at 34 ° 47ʹ 30ʹʹ west longitude.
From north to south, Brazil spans about 4,000 kilometers, from west to east the extent is about the same. Brazil is divided in the north by the equator so that 93 percent of the country’s territory is in the southern hemisphere. Large parts of Brazil therefore have the reverse season for winter and summer than what the northern hemisphere has. Around São Paulo in the south, the Capricorn turnaround crosses where the sun reaches its southernmost point on December 22 each year. 92 percent of the country’s territory is thus in the tropical zone north of the turnaround and eight percent in the temperate south of the turnaround.
Brazil also includes some small islands in the Atlantic : the Rocas Atoll, Fernando de Noronha and St. Peter and St. Paul Islands; 240 kilometers, 345 kilometers and 900 kilometers northeast of the state of Rio Grande do Norte, as well as Trinidade and Martim Vaz approximately 1100 kilometers east of Espírito Santo.
Geology and landforms
Geographically, Brazil can be divided into two highland plateaus (the Brazilian Central Plateau and the Amazon Shield) and three lowland areas (Amazon Plain, Pantanal and the long narrow Atlantic coast extending from the Uruguayan border to Maranhão).
At the border to the north is the Amazon shield (Planalto das Guianas), which is essentially within Venezuela and the Guyanese states. The southern part of the highlands is relatively low, 200–300 meters above sea level, while the border mountains to French Guiana and Venezuela reach 1200–1500 meters above sea level, the highest being Pico da Neblina on the Amazon border with Venezuela at 2994 meters above sea level. This is also Brazil’s highest mountain. The bedrock consists mainly of gneiss, in addition there are some granite and sediments.
The Brazilian Central Plateau (Planalto Brasileiro) is an ancient bedrock area of granite, gneiss and crystalline shale that covers most of the country south and southeast of the Amazon plain. This plateau extends into all the states as close as Acre, Roraima and Amapá. The bedrock is in some places covered with sandstone, limestone and basaltic layers, which together with rivers of crystallinemountains form smaller rows of elevation. These highland areas rise above the ordinary plateau level to altitudes of 1500–1800 meters above sea level. The plateau block has steeply, gradually falling down to the Atlantic. In some areas in the southeast, the slopes go up to over 2000 meters above sea level. At its peak, Pico da Bandeira reaches the border between Minas Gerais and Espírito Santo at 2892 meters above sea level. Behind the coastal mountains, the plateau block slopes gradually to the west, with an average height of between 350 and 900 meters above sea level.
The northern part of the central plateau has drainage to the Amazon River through rivers such as Madeira, Tapajós and Xingu as well as Tocantins, which is considered an independent river basin. The eastern drainage to the 3200-kilometer-long Sao Francisco. This river begins all the way south in the state of Minas Gerais, then flows northeastward parallel to the watershed between it and the coast, before turning and flowing into the Atlantic Ocean by the state of Sergipe. The southern and western part (Prata) is drained to the rivers Paraná and Uruguay. These rivers later unite in Rio de la Plata, which flows between Uruguay and Argentina (near Buenos Aires). Paraná and its tributaries form a number of large waterfalls, including the Iguaçu Falls, and the river basin has an overwhelming share of Brazil’s realistic expandable hydropower reserves.
The long, narrow coastline (Litoral) connects the Brazilian Central Plateau with the Atlantic Ocean. From Rio Grande do Sul and all the way to Bahia, the mountains reach the coast. Steep hillsides make rivers impossible to maneuver. Especially in the states of Rio de Janeiro and Espírito Santo, the coastline is rocky and irregular with many islands, bays and sudden granite peaks; such as the Sugar Cup in Rio de Janeiro. North of Bahia the coastal areas are flatter and the transition to the highlands within more gradual. Here there are navigable rivers. The coast is smoother without logging and is protected by coral reefs.
The Amazon River, along with its 1,000 bees, forms the world’s largest river basin (Amazônica) with an area of 5,780,000 km 2. 2 / 3 of the Amazon basin is located in Brazil and includes the states of Amazonas, Acre, Rondônia, Roraima, most of Pará and more than half of Mato Grosso. The Amazon River has the world’s largest water flow with 100,000 m 3 / s, and in Brazil it has a length of 3830 kilometers. The main river is navigable all the way to the eastern part of Peru. With bee rivers, the Amazon Basin contains 23,000 kilometers of navigable rivers. The Amazon Plains Lowland (Planície Amazônica), located between the Amazon Shield and the Brazilian Central Plateau, is in total lower than 200 meters above sea level. Sletta has its largest extent in the western part. To the east, the plain narrows to just under 200 kilometers at Santarém, but extends again near the Atlantic Ocean.
Pantanal is a 230,000 km 2 large wetland area along the Paraguay River, famous for its wildlife. 130,000 km 2 are located in the states of Mato Grosso and Mato Grosso do Sul, the rest in Paraguay and Bolivia. The navigable Paraguay River is Paraná’s largest bee. Although the Pantanal is 2000 kilometers from the mouth of the Rio de la Plata, the area is only between 100 and 200 meters above sea level.
Most of Brazil belongs to the tropical climate zone. Only the southernmost part of the country enters the subtropics. Within the tropical zone, an equatorial climate can be distinguished, with large and relatively evenly distributed rainfall, and the more southerly areas with a pronounced change between rainy season and drying season. Most places in Brazil have an annual rainfall of 1000–2000 millimeters. The Amazon Basin has a warm and humid climate. The average temperature is around 26–28 ° C, with very small seasonal variations. The annual rainfall is around 2000 millimeters, with a “drying time” which includes the driest months, usually October and November, and a “rainy season” from January to May. Along the coast eastward from the mouth of the Amazon River, rainfall decreases to the east, and the drying time becomes longer.
In northeastern Brazil, the interior (Sertão) has a strikingly dry climate, especially around São Francisco’s middle course and neighboring parts of the states of Pernambuco, Paraíba and Ceará. In this “dry pocket”, winter is extremely dry, but even the rainy season can fail for several years in a row with disastrous consequences for agriculture. The least amount of rainfall is the northern part of the São Francisco Basin with about 250 millimeters a year.
Along the southeast coast forced southeast trade wind of ascension towards the Brazilian highlands and the coastal zone are usually precipitation in all seasons. Especially large are the precipitation amounts on the slopes up towards the highlands.
Temperatures gradually decrease from north to south, while seasonal variations increase. Rio de Janeiro thus has 21 ° C in July and 26 ° C in January as average, and Porto Alegre, located in the subtropical part of the country, has average temperatures for July and January of 14 ° C and 25 ° C respectively. In the Brazilian highlands, temperatures are lower than on the coast, especially in the south. Curitiba, located approximately 900 meters above sea level, has 12 ° C in June and 21 ° C in February. The northern limit for night frost runs through the northern part of the state of Paraná and the southern part of the state of São Paulo.