Oruro (Hispanicized spelling) or Uru Uru is a city in Bolivia with a population of 264,683 (2012 calculation), about halfway between La Paz and Sucre in the Altiplano, approximately 3,709 meters (12,169 ft) above sea level.
It is Bolivia's fifth-largest city by population, after Santa Cruz de la Sierra, El Alto, La Paz, and Cochabamba. It is the capital of the department of Oruro and the seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Oruro. Oruro has been subject to cycles of boom and bust owing to its dependence on the mining industry, notably tin, tungsten (wolfram), silver and copper.
Oruro lies north of the salty lakes Uru Uru and Poopó. It is three hours (by bus) from La Paz. Located at an altitude of 3709 meters above sea level, Oruro is well known for its cold weather. Warmer temperatures generally take place during August, September and October, after the worst of the winter chills and before the summer rains. From May to early July, night time temperatures combined with cool wind can bring the temperature down to about -20 °C. Summers are warmer, and, although it is an arid area, it has considerable rainfall between November and March. The Köppen Climate System describes the climate as Tropical and Subtropical Steppe, abbreviated BSk. Due to the warm days and dry winters, snow is not a frequent occurrence as much as the bitter cold (especially at night); however, flurries can fall usually once every few years, most recently July 4, 2015. The other three most recent snowfalls were those of 13 June 2013, 1 September 2010 (with accumulation), as well as one in 2008.
The Altiplano (Spanish for "high plain"), Collao (Quechua and Aymara: Qullaw, meaning "place of the Qulla"), Andean Plateau or Bolivian Plateau, in west-central South America, is the area where the Andes are the widest. It is the most extensive area of high plateau on Earth outside Tibet. The bulk of the Altiplano lies in Bolivia, but its northern parts lie in Peru, and its southern parts lie in Chile and Argentina.
The plateau hosts several cities of these three nations, including El Alto, La Paz, Oruro, and Puno. The northeastern Altiplano is more humid than the southwestern area. The latter area has several salares, or salt flats, due to its aridity. At the Bolivia–Peru border lies Lake Titicaca, the largest lake in South America. South of that in Bolivia was Lake Poopó, which was declared dried up and defunct as of December 2015. It is unclear if this second-largest lake in Bolivia can be revitalized.
The Altiplano was the site of several pre-Columbian cultures, including the Chiripa, Tiawanaku and the Inca Empire. Spain conquered the region in the 16th century.
In extentum, the climate is cool and humid to semi-arid and even arid, with mean annual temperatures that vary from 3 °C (37.4 °F) near the western mountain range to 12 °C (53.6 °F) near Lake Titicaca; and total annual rainfall that ranges between less than 200 mm to the south west to more than 800 mm near and over Lake Titicaca. The diurnal cycle of temperature is very wide, with maximum temperatures in the order of 12 to 24 °C (53.6 to 75.2 °F) and the minimum in the order of -20 to 10 °C (-4 to 50 °F).
The Andes or Andean Mountains (Spanish: Cordillera de los Andes) are the longest continental mountain range in the world. They form a continuous highland along the western edge of South America. This range is about 7,000 km (4,300 mi) long, about 200 to 700 km (120 to 430 mi) wide (widest between 18° south and 20° south latitude), and of an average height of about 4,000 m (13,000 ft). The Andes extend from north to south through seven South American countries: Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Argentina and Chile.
Along their length, the Andes are split into several ranges, which are separated by intermediate depressions. The Andes are the location of several high plateaus – some of which host major cities such as Quito, Bogotá, Arequipa, Medellín, Sucre, Mérida and La Paz. The Altiplano plateau is the world's second-highest after the Tibetan plateau. These ranges are in turn grouped into three major divisions based on climate: the Tropical Andes, the Dry Andes, and the Wet Andes.
The Andes rose to fame for their mineral wealth during the Spanish conquest of South America. Although Andean Amerindian peoples crafted ceremonial jewelry of gold and other metals the mineralizations of the Andes were first mined in large scale after the Spanish arrival. Potosí in present-day Bolivia and Cerro de Pasco in Peru were one of the principal mines of the Spanish Empire in the New World. Río de la Plata and Argentina derive their names from the silver of Potosí.
Currently, mining in the Andes of Chile and Peru places these countries as the first and third major producers of copper in the world. Peru also contains the 4th largest goldmine in the world: the Yanacocha. The Bolivian Andes produce principally tin although historically silver mining had a huge impact on the economy of 17th century Europe.
There is a long history of mining in the Andes, from the Spanish silver mines in Potosí in the 16th century to the vast current porphyry copper deposits of Chuquicamata and Escondida in Chile and Toquepala in Peru. Other metals including iron, gold and tin in addition to non-metallic resources are important.