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When Were Cordillera Real Mountains Formed?

Decoding Geological Secrets: A Journey Through Time and Terrain

Cordillera Real Mountains

Cordillera Real Mountains 

The Cordillera Real Mountains stand as a formidable presence in the South American Altiplano, casting a shadow of mystery and intrigue over the landscape of Bolivia. Composed largely of granite, this range of fold mountains is nestled southeast of Lake Titicaca and east of the Bolivian capital, La Paz, stretching 125 kilometers in length and 20 kilometers in width. While the Cordillera Real is known for its breathtaking beauty and rugged terrain, the question of when these majestic mountains were formed remains shrouded in the mists of time. In this comprehensive exploration, we will delve into the geological history of the Cordillera Real Mountains, uncovering clues to unravel the mysteries of their formation.

Understanding the Geological Context

Before we embark on our journey to uncover the formation of the Cordillera Real Mountains, let us first delve into the geological context of the region. The South American Altiplano is a high plateau situated between the eastern and western Andes mountain ranges, characterized by its vast expanses of plains, rugged mountains, and deep valleys. The Cordillera Real Mountains form a prominent feature of this landscape, rising majestically from the plateau and dominating the skyline with their towering peaks.

Formation Processes: The Tectonic Dance of Plates

The formation of the Cordillera Real Mountains can be attributed to the complex interplay of tectonic forces that have shaped the Earth’s crust over millions of years. The Andean region is located at the boundary of the South American and Nazca tectonic plates, where the convergence of these plates has resulted in the uplift of mountain ranges and the formation of deep valleys through processes such as subduction and continental collision.

During the Paleozoic era, approximately 300 to 400 million years ago, the ancient supercontinent of Gondwana began to break apart, leading to the gradual separation of the South American and African plates. As these plates drifted apart, vast ocean basins formed between them, and volcanic activity along the margins of the South American plate gave rise to the formation of island arcs and volcanic chains.

Over time, the collision and convergence of the South American and Nazca plates led to the uplift of the Andes Mountains, including the Cordillera Real range, during the Cenozoic era, approximately 65 million years ago to the present. The intense compression and folding of the Earth’s crust resulted in the formation of fold mountains, characterized by their steep slopes and rugged peaks.

Geological Features: The Signature of Time

The Cordillera Real Mountains exhibit a variety of geological features that provide clues to their formation and evolution over millions of years. These features include: Just as we know When Were Chilean Coast Mountains Formed?

Folded Strata: The mountains are composed largely of granite, a type of igneous rock formed from the cooling and solidification of molten magma beneath the Earth’s surface. The intense pressure and heat generated by tectonic forces caused the granite to fold and fracture, giving rise to the characteristic folded strata seen in the Cordillera Real.

Thrust Faults: The collision of tectonic plates resulted in the formation of thrust faults, where rock layers were displaced and pushed over one another. This process contributed to the uplift of the Cordillera Real Mountains and the creation of steep escarpments and ridges along their slopes.

Glacial Erosion: During the Pleistocene epoch, approximately 2.6 million to 11,700 years ago, the Cordillera Real Mountains were sculpted by glacial erosion, as vast ice sheets advanced and retreated across the landscape. Glaciers carved deep valleys and cirques into the mountainsides, leaving behind U-shaped valleys and moraine deposits that bear witness to the power of ice in shaping the Earth’s surface.


As we conclude our exploration into the formation of the Cordillera Real Mountains, we have unraveled the mysteries of their geological history and gained insights into the processes that have shaped this majestic landscape over millions of years. From the ancient dance of tectonic plates to the sculpting power of glaciers, the story of the Cordillera Real is a testament to the forces of nature and the enduring beauty of the Earth’s ever-changing surface. While the exact timing of their formation may remain elusive, the Cordillera Real Mountains continue to inspire awe and wonder, inviting us to delve deeper into the rich tapestry of our planet’s geological past.

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