Ecological Picture of Costa Rica

Costa Rica is part of a land bridge between North and South America . Her geographical and climatic conditions make it possible for flora and. fauna characteristic of both continents as well as the Antilles to co-exist, thus creating incredibly diverse ecosystems.

Costa Rica measures only 300 Ian (185 miles) across at her widest point, but four mountain ranges divide her like a backbone. Mount Chirripo , at 3820 m (12,500 feet), is the highest point in southern Central America . It is part of Costa Rica 's oldest and southernmost mountain range, the Cordillera de Talamanca , which extends into Panama . The Central Volcanic Range is made up of volcanoes Turrialba , Irazu , Barva and Poas . Over half of Costa Rica 's three million inhabitants live in the Central Valley , whose fertile soil was created by the activity of these volcanoes over the last two million years. To the northwest is the non-volcanic Tilaran range which reaches 1700 m (5500 feet) at Monteverde . Farthest northwest, towards the Nicaraguan border, is the Guanacaste Range which contains five active volcanoes including Rincon de la Vieja , Miravalles (now being used to generate geothermal energy), and VoIcan Arenal . The most ancient rocks in the area, over 100 million years old, occur in the " Nicoya complex", low mountains which outcrop here and there along the Pacific.

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