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Whither Patagonia?

June 25, 1995

I would like to suggest that Christopher Reynolds reconsider the geography of Patagonia ("The Power of Patagonia," May 7). Patagonia, the semiarid grassy plateau sloping gently toward the east and terminating in cliffs along the Atlantic, is east of the Andes Mountains and south of the Rio Colorado. Patagonia is in Argentina and not in Chile, as Reynolds seems to imply in his article.

JOHN M. ALCACER

Los Angeles

Christopher Reynolds replies: "It's true that the bulk of the region known as Patagonia lies in Argentina, and that many believe Patagonia to be exclusively part of Argentina. However, Webster's New Geographical Dictionary notes that Patagonia was divided between Chile and Argentina by an 1881 treaty, and describes Patagonia as 'tableland between the Andes and Atlantic Ocean.' The Explora lodge in Torres del Paine National Park may have a Chilean address and different geographical features than most of Patagonia, but it lies south of the Rio Colorado, with Andes to the west and the Atlantic to the east. And so, like the Chileans who live in the neighborhood, I referred to the area as Patagonia."

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