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|Location||Caatinga and Cerrado, Brazil|
|• Total||5,000,000 km2 (1,900,000 sq mi)|
|• Length||3,500 km (2,200 mi), SW x NE|
|Highest elevation||2,891 m (9,485 ft)|
The Brazilian Highlands or Brazilian Plateau (Portuguese: Planalto Brasileiro) is an extensive geographical region covering most of the eastern, southern and central portions of Brazil, in all some 4,500,000 km2 (1,930,511 sq mi) or approximately half of the country's land area. The vast majority of Brazil's population (190,755,799; 2010 census) lives in the highlands or on the narrow coastal region immediately adjacent to it.
Ancient basaltic lava flows gave birth to much of the region. However, the time of dramatic geophysical activity is long past, as there is now no seismic or volcanic activity. Erosion has also played a large part in shaping the Highlands, forming extensive sedimentary deposits and wearing down the mountains.
The Brazilian Highlands are recognized for its great diversity: within the region there are several different biomes, vastly different climatic conditions, many types of soil, and thousands of animal and plant species.
Due to its size and diversity, the Brazilian Highlands is usually divided into three main areas:
- Atlantic Plateau, extending all along the eastern coast of Brazil, and including several mountain ranges. It was once almost completely covered by the Atlantic Rainforest, one of the richest areas of biodiversity in the world, of which only 7.3% remains.
- Southern Plateau, advancing inland in the southern and southern-central portions of the country. Sedimentary rocks covered partially by basaltic lava spills that form the fertile ground known as "purple land". Large portions of this region were also covered by the Atlantic Rainforest, while araucaria highland forest and cerrado grasslands took up much of the rest.
- Central Plateau, occupying the central portions of Brazil, with sedimentary and crystalline formations. Approximately 85% was once covered by cerrado vegetation, of which only a small portion remains intact.
In addition to the plateau regions, several adjoining or enclosed mountain ranges are considered to be part of the Brazilian Highlands. Some of the most important are (from north to south):
- Serra da Borborema
- Chapada Diamantina
- Serra do Espinhaço
- Serra do Caparaó
- Serra da Mantiqueira
- Serra do Mar
- Serra Geral
The highest point of the Brazilian Highlands is the Pico da Bandeira in the Serra do Caparaó, 2,891 meters (9,485 ft).
- ^ "Brazilian Highlands". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 2022-09-05.
- ^ Greenbaum, Harry (2009). Brazil. Infobase Publishing. pp. 16–18. ISBN 978-1-4381-0490-4.
- Plateaus of Brazil
- Regions of Brazil
- Central-West Region, Brazil
- Northeast Region, Brazil
- Southeast Region, Brazil
- South Region, Brazil
- Ecoregions of Brazil
- Atlantic Forest
- Neotropical ecoregions
- Large igneous provinces
- Natural regions of South America
- Physiographic divisions
- Volcanism of Brazil
- Brazil geography stubs
- Ecoregion stubs