Mexico Essay

3989 Words 16 Pages

Southward from its 1,500 mile long border with the United States lies the Estados Unidos Mexicanos. A country with slightly more than 750,000 square miles in area, Mexico has a vast array of mineral resources, limited agricultural land, and a rapidly growing population. These factors are the basis for many of the country's present problems as well as opportunities for future development. The nation is struggling to modernize its economy. With more than
80 million people in the mid-1980s, Mexico's overall population density exceeds
110 per square mile. More than half of its inhabitants live in the country's central core, while the arid north and the tropical south are sparsely settled. The stereotype of
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Much of the complexity found in southern Mexico's physiography is related to the interaction of three tectonic plates. Such interaction creates regions that are often highly unstable, producing numerous and severe Earth movements. A 1985 quake, with an epicenter off the coast of Acapulco, caused billions of dollars in damage nationwide, destroyed hundreds of buildings in
Mexico City, and killed several thousand people. It is on this often unstable and dynamically active physical environment that the Mexican people must build their nation. The plateau can be subdivided into two major sections. The Mesa del
Norte begins near the international border and ends around San Luis Potosi. In this arid lower part of the plateau, interior drainage predominates with few permanent streams. On its west side the mesa is flanked by the largely volcanic
Sierra Madre Occidental, with an average height of 8,000 to 9,000 feet (2,400 to
2,700 meters). It has been highly dissected by westward-flowing streams that eroded a series of deep barrancas, or canyons. The most spectacular of these is the Barranca del Cobre, Mexico's equivalent of the Grand Canyon. The Sierra
Madre Oriental, a range of folded mountains formed of shale and limestone, is on the east side of the mesa. With average elevations similar to those of the
Sierra Madre Occidental, these dissected highlands have peaks that reach 13,000 feet. The Mesa Central stretches from San

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