When the attempt was made to mark this boundary the commissioners were unable to agree on a line across the Puna de Atacama in the north, where parallel ranges enclosing a high arid plateau without any clearly defined drainage to the Atlantic or Pacific, gave an opportunity for conflicting claims. In the south the broken character of the Cordillera, pierced in places by large rivers flowing into the Pacific and having their upper drainage basins on the eastern side of the line of highest crests, gave rise to unforeseen and very difficult questions.
Buchanan, United States minister at Buenos Aires, serving as arbitrator, reached a decision on the Atacama line north of 26° 52' 45" S.
These minor ranges, excepting the Zenta, are separated from the Andean masses by comparatively low depressions and are usually described as distinct ranges; topographically, however, they seem to form a continuation of the ranges running southward from the Santa Victoria and forming the eastern rampart of the great central plateau of which the Puna de Atacama covers a large part.
Of the Gran Chaco, covered with forests of palms and other tropical vegetation, to the sandy, saline wastes of the Puna de Atacama, almost barren of vegetation and overshadowed by permanently 1 For the geology of Argentina, see Stelzner, Beitrdge zur geologie der argentinischen Republik (Cassel and Berlin, 1885); Brackebusch, Mapa geologico del Interiore de la Republica Argentina (Gotha, 1892); Valentin, Bosquejo geologico de la Argentina (Buenos Aires, 1897) Hauthal, " Beitrage zur Geologie der argentinischen Provinz Buenos Aires," Peterm.
Antofagasta Atacama 5.
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