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Rio de Janeiro - Geography
Climate in Rio de Janeiro, Rio
Most of Rio lies on a geological structure called Brazilian Crystal Basement; the rocks, gnaisses and granites which make up the basement are the oldest of Brazilian territory. The structure had many tectonic alterations, which resulted in the several elevations, hills, mountains and valleys which caracterize the coastal line of Rio (Sugar Loaf and Corcovado are examples of tectonic movements); the entire State of Rio de Janeiro has a profile of mountains and depressions.
The State can be divided in three morphologic frames: the coastal low lands (referred to as Baixada Fluminense), the coastal elevations and the highlands.
The Baixada stretches all along the coast, with a large diversity of morphology (rocky mountains, beaches, dunes, lagoons, and other formations can be found in the shores of Rio); there are three large bays: Guanabara, Sepetiba and Ilha Grande.
The coastal elevations are seen from Cabo Frio to the Guanabara Bay: isolated hills or grouped mountains ranging from 200 m to 500 m of altitude.
Most of the State are located in highlands (often higher than 1000m), which resulted from the eruption of the several mountain chains which cover Rio de Janeiro. The chain which separates São Paulo from Rio is known as Serra do Mar; between Rio and Minas, it´s called Serra da Mantiqueira (the highest point of the State is Pico das Agulhas Negras - Black Needles Peak, located at Mantiqueira); the mountains receive other local denominations (like Serra dos Órgãos) across the State.
Climate. The entire State of Rio is located in the tropical zone (the Capricorn Tropic Line is just a few degrees south of Rio); so, predominant climate is tropical, with local changes due to altitude.
In the city of Rio and neighbourhoods, average temperature is 24 degrees Celsius, and pluviosity is about 1,250 mm per year; the summer season are usually more humid than the winter. Check out theclimate in the city of Rio de Janeiro by clicking the link at the top of this page.
In the countryside, climate is tropical of altitude, with average temperature slightly lower (around 20 degrees), with a better distribution of showers along the year.
Vegetation. Tropical forests used to cover more than 90% of the territory of Rio; large portions were devastated for urbanization and for plantations (coffee, sugar cane); preserved areas can be found in the steepest mountains of the chains.
The city of Rio has the largest area of urban forest in Brazil: the Floresta da Tijuca, reminiscent of the Atlantic Forest, preserved in the middle of the city. It´s just a fraction of the original forest, but still shows much of their natural wealthiness.
The most important river of Rio is the Paraíba do Sul, which comes from São Paulo and makes borders between Rio and Minas Gerais.
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