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NASA photo of the Río de la Plata looking from northwest to southeast. Buenos Aires is visible on the right side near the Paraná...

NASA photo of the Río de la Plata looking from northwest to southeast. Buenos Aires is visible on the right side near the Paraná River delta. River sediments turn the water brown to the vicinity da form 5748 r pdf Montevideo, visible on the left coast. English-speaking countries — is the river and estuary formed by the confluence of the Uruguay and the Paraná rivers.


It empties into the Atlantic Ocean, forming a funnel-shaped indentation on the southeastern coastline of South America. Depending on the geographer, the Río de la Plata may be considered a river, an estuary, a gulf or a marginal sea. It forms part of the border between Argentina and Uruguay, with the major ports and capital cities of Buenos Aires and Montevideo on its western and northern shores, respectively. The coasts of La Plata are the most densely populated areas of Argentina and Uruguay.

The Río de la Plata begins at the confluence of the Uruguay and Paraná rivers at Punta Gorda and flows eastward into the South Atlantic Ocean. International Hydrographic Organization defines the eastern boundary of the Río de la Plata as “a line joining Punta del Este, Uruguay and Cabo San Antonio, Argentina”.

Though it is generally spoken of as a river, the Río de la Plata is considered by some geographers to be a large bay or marginal sea of the Atlantic Ocean. The upper river contains several islands, including Oyarvide Island and the Solís Islands in Argentine waters and Juncal Island, Islote el Matón, Martín García Island and Timoteo Domínguez Island in Uruguayan waters.

Because of deposition of sediments from the heavy stream load carried down from the river’s tributaries, the islands in the Río de la Plata generally grow over time. A submerged shoal, the Barra del Indio, divides the Río de la Plata into an inner freshwater riverine portion and an outer brackish estuarine portion.

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