The Guiana Shield is one of the three cratons of the South American Plate. It is a 1.7 billion year old Precambrian geological formation in northeast South America that forms a portion of the northern coast.
The higher elevations on the shield are called the Guiana Highlands, which is where the impressive and mysterious table-like mountains called tepuis are found. The Guiana Highlands are also the source of some of the world's most spectacular waterfalls such as Angel Falls, Kaieteur Falls and Kuquenan Falls.
The Guiana Shield underlies Guyana (previously British Guiana), Suriname (previously Dutch Guiana) and French Guiana (or Guyane), as well as parts of Colombia, Venezuela and Brazil. The rocks of the Guiana Shield consist of metasediments and metavolcanics (greenstones) overlain by quasi-horizontal layers of sandstones, quartzites, shales and conglomerates intruded by sills of younger mafic intrusives such as gabbros.
The Guiana Shield is one of the regions of highest biodiversity in the world. The shield has over 2200 vertebrate species and 1680 bird species.The shield is overlain by the largest expanse of undisturbed tropical rain forest in the world.
Guianan rain forest is similar in nature to Amazonian rain forest and known protected areas include the Iwokrama Forest of central Guyana and Kanuku National Park of southern Guyana. In Venezuela the forests are protected by Canaima, Kaieteur, Parima-Tapirapeco and Neblina National Parks.