Paraguay The Parane�a Region
Sources: The Library of Congress Country Studies; CIA World Factbook
The Parane�a region extends from the R�o Paraguay eastward to the R�o Paran�, which forms the border with Brazil and Argentina. The eastern hills and mountains, an extension of a plateau in southern Brazil, dominate the region, whose highest point is about 700 meters above sea level. The Parane�a region also has spacious plains, broad valleys, and lowlands. About 80 percent of the region is below 300 meters in elevation; the lowest elevation, 55 meters, is found in the extreme south at the confluence of the R�o Paraguay and R�o Paran�.
The Parane�a region is drained primarily by rivers that flow westward to the R�o Paraguay, although some rivers flow eastward to the R�o Paran�. Low-lying meadows, subject to floods, separate the eastern mountains from the R�o Paraguay.
The Parane�a region as a whole naturally divides into five physiographic subregions: the Paran� Plateau, the Northern Upland, the Central Hill Belt, the Central Lowland, and the �eembuc� Plain. In the east, the heavily wooded Paran� Plateau occupies one-third of the region and extends its full length from north to south and up to 145 kilometers westward from the Brazilian and Argentine borders. The Paran� Plateau's western edge is defined by an escarpment that descends from an elevation of about 460 meters in the north to about 180 meters at the subregion's southern extremity. The plateau slopes moderately to east and south, its remarkably uniform surface interrupted only by the narrow valleys carved by the westward-flowing tributaries of the R�o Paran�.
The Northern Upland, the Central Hill Belt, and the Central Lowland constitute the lower terrain lying between the escarpment and the R�o Paraguay. The first of these eroded extensions stretching westward of the Paran� Plateau--the Northern Upland-- occupies the portion northward from the R�o Aquidab�n to the R�o Apa on the Brazilian border. For the most part it consists of a rolling plateau about 180 meters above sea level and 76 to 90 meters above the plain farther to the south. The Central Hill Belt encompasses the area in the vicinity of Asunci�n. Although nearly flat surfaces are not lacking in this subregion, the rolling terrain is extremely uneven. Small, isolated peaks are numerous, and it is here that the only lakes of any size are found. Between these two upland subregions is the Central Lowland, an area of low elevation and relief, sloping gently upward from the R�o Paraguay toward the Paran� Plateau. The valleys of the Central Lowland's westward-flowing rivers are broad and shallow, and periodic flooding of their courses creates seasonal swamps. This subregion's most conspicuous features are its flat-topped hills, which project six to nine meters from the grassy plain. Thickly forested, these hills cover areas ranging from a hectare to several square kilometers. Apparently the weathered remnants of rock related to geological formations farther to the east, these hills are called islas de monte (mountain islands), and their margins are known as costas (coasts).
The remaining subregion--the �eembuc� Plain--is in the southwest corner of the Parane�a region. This alluvial flatland has a slight westerly-southwesterly slope obscured by gentle undulations. The R�o Tebicuary--a major tributary of the R�o Paraguay -- bisects the swampy lowland, which is broken in its central portion by rounded swells of land up to three meters in height.
The main orographic features of the Parane�a region include the Cordillera de Amambay, the Cordillera de Mbaracay�, and the Cordillera de Caaguaz�. The Cordillera de Amambay extends from the northeast corner of the region south and slightly east along the Brazilian border. The average height of the mountains is 400 meters above sea level, although the highest point reaches 700 meters. The main chain is 200 kilometers long and has smaller branches that extend to the west and die out along the banks of the R�o Paraguay in the Northern Upland.
The Cordillera de Amambay merges with the Cordillera de Mbaracay�, which reaches eastward 120 kilometers to the R�o Paran�. The average height of this mountain chain is 200 meters; the highest point of the chain, 500 meters, is within Brazilian territory. The R�o Paran� forms the Salto del Guair� waterfall where it cuts through the mountains of the Cordillera de Mbaracay� to enter Paraguayan territory.
The Cordillera de Caaguaz� rises where the other two main mountain ranges meet and extends south, with an average height of 400 meters. Its highest point is Cerro de San Joaqu�n, which reaches 500 meters above sea level. This chain is not a continuous massif but is interrupted by hills and undulations covered with forests and meadows. The Cordillera de Caaguaz� reaches westward from the Paran� Plateau into the Central Hill Belt.
A lesser mountain chain, the Serran�a de Mbaracay�, also rises at the point where the Cordillera de Amambay and Cordillera de Mbaracay� meet. The Serran�a de Mbaracay� extends east and then south to parallel the R�o Paran�; the mountain chain has an average height of 500 meters.
Data as of December 1988
NOTE: The information regarding Paraguay on this page is re-published from The Library of Congress Country Studies and the CIA World Factbook. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Paraguay The Parane�a Region information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Paraguay The Parane�a Region should be addressed to the Library of Congress and the CIA.