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Ecuador, Land and Resources

Ecuador is divided into four geographic regions: The Costa, or coastal plain, covers a little more than one-quarter of the area of the country; the Sierra, or central highlands, extends as a double row of high and massive mountains enclosing a narrow, inhabited central plateau; the Oriente, or eastern jungle, covering about one-half the country, consists of gentle slopes east of the Andes; and the Galapagos Islands include six larger and nine smaller islands containing many volcanic peaks, mostly extinct.

The Sierra region lies between two chains of the Andes, the Cordillera Occidental and the Cordillera Oriental, which have more than a dozen peaks higher than 4,877 m (16,000 ft). Cotopaxi (5,897 m/19,347 ft), one of the highest active volcanoes in the world, is located between the two mountain chains.

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