Start your review of El soberbio Orinoco Write a review Shelves: fiction , speculative-fiction , translated , literature "The Mighty Orinoco" is the third Jules Verne book in the Early Classics of Science Fiction series, and the sixth book overall. The series is impressive, and this edition is no exception. As with all the Voyages Extraordinaires, Verne builds an adventure story off of a solid scientific base. It is easy for us today to not think of this novel as science fiction or scientific fiction as Verne called it ; however, in the days before satellites and space ships taking pictures of the Earth, matters of geography were definitely of scientific interest. While Verne endeavored to create a solid scientific basis for this story, there is much more to it then simply the search for the origin of the river.

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Geography[ edit ] The Orinoco river basin synthesizes the three great forms of relief that exist in nature: ancient massifs and shields on the one hand, recently raised that is the Tertiary ridges on the other and tectonic depressions and basins or accumulation plains, in third place. Each of these forms of relief has its own characteristics, but also its similarities with similar natural regions of other parts of the world.

For any country, especially in the inter-tropical zone, it represents a great ecological and economic advantage to have represented in its territory these three forms of relief. The only other countries in the Americas with a similar geological disposition are Canada and the United States.

To define the Orinoco basin as a natural region, it is necessary to establish the geographic characteristics that define it, such as extension, relief, climate , hydrography , vegetation , soils, and mineral resources. Of the part located in Venezuela, just over half extend from the Venezuelan Andes and the Cordillera de la Costa to the north-western bank of the Orinoco River the left bank , forming most of the Venezuelan plains and the delta Orinoco.

The southern part of the basin contains most of the waters that come from the Venezuelan Guiana. The curious shapes have been produced by erosion. The sources of the Orinoco River are located at Cerro Carlos Delgado Chalbaud , at meters above sea level, discovered in by the Franco-Venezuelan expedition that went back and explored the Upper Orinoco course to the Sierra Parima , headed By Venezuelan army officer Frank Risquez Iribarren.

The first reference to this expedition was that of Alberto Contramaestre Torres in As already indicated, the two sub-regions of the basin have quite different characteristics, due to differences in their geological constitution.

The maximum height of the basin is located in the Sierra Nevada del Cocuy , in Colombia more than meters above sea level , which forms part of the Eastern Andean Cordillera of Colombia.

Between the two sides extends the Venezuelan Guayana on the right bank of the Orinoco and the Llanos, both Colombian and Venezuelan on the left bank. As we see, the Orinoco river itself marks the natural boundary between these two regions; it could be said that the Orinoco is one of the most remarkable natural borders in the world, although this fact has a simple explanation: the rivers have little slope and have been building for millions of years a level of accumulation with the sediments that they carry from the mountain ranges where they are born.

The ancient name of Bolivar City, Angostura of the Orinoco is due to the fact that the rocks of the shield are very resistant to the erosion and presented in that point, a narrowing of about meters of width that gave origin to a species of imprisonment during, probably, millions of years, until the river was gradually excavating the channel on granite rocks.

The Piedra del Medio, located in front of Ciudad Bolivar is a kind of nilometer or orino-meter in this case, in which the lines of different coloration indicate the successive levels reached by the water. Thus, the Venezuelan Guiana constitutes, unlike the Llanos, a surface of erosion. From the combination of these two forces that modify the relief, a constructive one, the sedimentation and another destructive one, the erosion, arises the current situation in which the river marks approximately the limit between the two regions.

As can be seen from the above, this limit presents exceptions since, in some sections, rounded hills of granite origin and therefore, Guayan reliefs can be seen on the left bank of the Orinoco, that is, on the border of the Llanos. In the stone of the middle, you can see the different levels reached by the waters of the river, expressed in the different coloration of the granite, which explains the value of this granite island as "nilometer" - according to Alejandro de Humboldt.

On the other hand, the sandstones of the Venezuelan Guayana of the Roraima formation have been transformed into sand by the erosion that, although never very intense by the extra-ordinary resistance of the rocks, has been very durable more than 1 billion of years , for which the sedimentary cover has been transformed into an inverted relief that forms the Tepuis.

Moreover, were it not for the fact that the Guayanese Massif has been suffering a slow and long movement of ascent, in the present time it would have already become a penillanura in which almost all the sedimentary cover of sandstones would have disappeared. The sands coming from this erosive process have been deposited in the left bank of the river, especially in the low plains of Apure state, between the rivers Meta and Apure itself.

They were not deposited in the right border because there the relief is higher. And these sands could become over millions of years in strata of sandstones that could also become converted to rise and rejuvenate the relief on plateaus similar to those that now exist in Guyana.

This would be a kind of example of the theory of the geographical cycle. They also serve to protect the livestock from floods. Thus, this eco-system so curious and picturesque, is the result of wind modeling in a savannah climate. It is not, as stated in the Atlas of Venezuela. A spatial image also known as the Atlas of PDVSA , [6] of a paleodunas eco-system formed in an environment with a climate much drier than the present one, but of a mechanism of formation of dunes that only acts during the dry season since.

The direction of the winds during the dry season of the summer as it is said in the Llanos is on average very constant and with a considerable speed, from the north-east to the south-west, as can be seen in the direction of the elongated dunes in satellite images. This address may vary for a short time but in the long run it is maintained exactly in that direction.

In the rainy season or winter the direction changes slightly and proceeds practically from the free east. But this is not the most remarkable change, but the decrease of its speed. This is due to the greater humidity that the trade winds bring and to the consequent convection: as the wet winds advance on the savanna they increase of temperature by the heat of the ground due to the solar radiation.

In turn, this warming gives rise to the rise of moist air precisely what we know as convection and this rise gives rise, in turn, to a decrease in the speed of the winds and the increase of precipitation. So the mechanism of the winds and that of the accumulation of the sands from the Guayanese Massif are almost opposite and this opposition has been favorable for the establishment of agricultural activities in the Llanos: the dunes can become covered with vegetation and serve.

The basis for the establishment of houses, herds and roads, and this process becomes more noticeable to the west, not only by the decrease of the speed of the winds as they move in that direction but also because the sands they form.

These dunes come from the beaches of the Orinoco and the transport of the same diminishes when the speed of the wind descends. Across the Orinoco basin, climates are isothermal, i. Five major types of climate in the lowlands up to m above sea level, according to the considerations of Antonio W. In any case, the existence of this climate would be reduced to the Atlantic coast of the Orinoco delta, where the influence of the northern equatorial current which here is practically a coastal drift influences to make the rains much more important On the whole coast common to the Guianas and Venezuela, but that diminish abruptly in Venezuela when advancing inland.

At higher altitudes four or five thermal, climatic, biotic or ecological floors can be distinguished according to criteria used by different authors and their interest in their field of research. Rainfall is high, especially in Venezuelan Guayana, where it reaches very high values mm or more in some fairly extensive areas.

In Los Llanos, rainfall is much lower to mm, with an elevation of this amount towards the foothills of the Andes and gives rise to the presence of savanna vegetation, with gallery forests next to the rivers, and in the Andean piedmont, tropophile forests, which lose much of their leaves during the dry season.

The shading in yellow indicates the season or season of drought deficit of precipitations, according to the xerothermic index of Gaussen. Temperature: January Average annual temperature: Altitude: mm Average temperatures in degrees C: January The different width of the fringes is an optical effect by the distance, being the one of the Orinoco much greater.

The two stripes can be seen by the different coloration of the two rivers. The Orinoco, with its tributaries, constitutes an extensive hydrographic network with rivers very flowing and of considerable length. Of all its basin, the longest tributary is the Guaviare, longer about km than the Orinoco itself at the point of its confluence, while the largest is the Caroni.

Many of its tributaries are navigable rivers, especially those on the left bank, which come from the Llanos, both Colombian and Venezuelan, while the Guayan rivers tributaries on the right bank are more flowing but with jumps and rains, which make them very useful in the production of hydro-electric energy, but without use as navigational routes, except for some very short stretches. There are numerous islands, both rocky erosion reliefs and sedimentary sand and other sediments , as well as many pipes or arms, abandoned meanders and horseshoe lakes.

In the Cuao river basin except for the long, or horseshoe-shaped lagoons formed by some abandoned meanders , the only lagoon in the basin: the lagoon of King Leopold, so named because it was discovered during an expedition sponsored by King Leopold III Of Belgium a little more than 50 years ago at the moment it is very easy to observe it through programs with satellite images, generally of free access in Internet. This lagoon has about m of length by of width, approximately.

It is the only lagoon in Venezuelan Guiana, which confirms the irregular nature of the relief of this natural region, which is not favorable to them, and also contradicts the myth of the sixteenth century, of the existence of a huge lake Lake Parima from which the Orinoco and Amazon rivers were born, with almost all its tributaries.

And some rivers also llaneros of minor importance and caudal, like the Manapire, Iguana, Zuata and Pao. Each of the named tributaries of the Orinoco River deserves a more detailed study. Also, some problems that are scarcely investigated, such as the different coloration of the waters of these tributaries, as seen in the image, the phenomenon of the lack of cloudiness in the mornings in the mountiest rivers a phenomenon that is briefly explained in the articles on the Venezuelan Guayana, in the Amazon river and especially in the article on diathermy , the great extension of dunes or dunes in the Apure state, which is located between the Cinaruco, Capanaparo, Arauca and the own rivers Apure, the comparison of the flow between the different tributaries and between the Guaviare and the Orinoco and others, are also issues that deserve separate treatment, something more detailed than the one that is included later in the documentary study of the basin of the great river Columbia-Venezuelan.

Flora[ edit ] Matapalo or fig tree showing in an opening part of the trunk of the tree on which it supported. Parque del Este , Caracas, Venezuela. In the Guayana part of the Orinoco basin, the equatorial forests predominate, characterized by the existence of several levels of trees of very varied species, as a consequence of a high competition to obtain a sufficient supply of solar rays. This struggle for sunlight is exemplified by the presence of matapalos, trees that originally have a creeping stalk that they use to lean around a large tree in order to reach sunlight.

When they overcome the roof and increase the function of photosynthesis they begin to grow strangling the tree on which they had leaned as well as blocking the sunlight.

The most frequent matapalos belong to the genus Ficus, as is the case of natural rubber. The peculiar note of these jungles is the extra-ordinary variety of the vegetation: many vegetal species per hectare, but few copies of each one in that surface. And it is this extra-ordinary diversity that makes it the most useful type of vegetation that exists, especially for its possibilities and for the production of oxygen, although this diversity presents a limitation as far as its commercial exploitation is concerned.

The jungles of the inter-tropical zone constitute the biggest vegetable lung of the planet since all the vegetables need to absorb an enormous amount of water and CO2 to produce, through photosynthesis , the carbohydrates that they need for their growth, but they also leave an enormous amount of free oxygen that animals use for their respiration. This means that, as a whole, the balance between production and consumption, both oxygen and carbon dioxide, follows an eternal process of feedback that is responsible for reaching at a given moment a situation of climax, a concept that will need, with time, be revised.

We must not forget that, in nature, the number of producers plants is much higher than that of consumers animals. Of course, this does not mean that the geographic environment soil, vegetation, fauna, pollutant production can continue to be depleted without restrictions until reaching irreversible situations.

On the other hand, it must be taken into account that ecological problems vary widely at local or regional level: what can be a balancing situation on a global scale does not mean that there are no problems at other scales. What has to be taken into account is that the capacity of regeneration and restoration of the balance lost in the vegetation of the inter-tropical zone, on the one hand, is much greater than what people including scientists assume and on the other hand that, in parallel with the processes of desertification due to the poor management of the environment and the depletion of many natural resources, there is a continuous advance in the use and rescue for reforestation and for the cultivation of previously uncultivated and unproductive areas that have giving rise to overproduction in many orders with regard to food, especially in the intertropical zone.

On the other hand, the use of the enormous amount of vegetal species for the obtaining of medicinal products has an enormous potentiality, that will only be widened to the extent that is better known.

The drink known as Amargo de Angostura , for example, is an example of the development of a tonic developed in the Angostura of the Orinoco now Ciudad Bolivar that was very useful since the nineteenth century because, although with a composition created by Johann Gottlieb Benjamin Siegert, and which has always been kept in the greatest secrecy until today, is known to contain among its ingredients quina hence the bitter taste and sarrapia, vegetables whose medicinal principles have been perfectly proven for more than three centuries.

In addition to the vegetation of the equatorial forest, in the Llanos, which share Venezuela and Colombia, savannas predominate, grasses of seasonal pastures, with gallery forests, woods small clusters isolated from trees and estuaries with palms palma llanera , especialmente , etc.


El soberbio Orinoco



El soberbio Orinoco



El Soberbio Orinoco Volumen I


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