Sri Lanka lies on the Indian tectonic plate, a minor plate within the Indo-Australian Plate. It is in the Indian Ocean southwest of the Bay of Bengal, between latitudes 5° and 10°N, and longitudes 79° and 82°E. Sri Lanka is separated from the Indian subcontinent by the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait. According to the Hindu mythology, a land bridge existed between the Indian mainland and Sri Lanka. It now amounts to only a chain of limestone shoals remaining above sea level. It was reportedly passable on foot up to 1480 AD, until cyclones deepened the channel.
The island consists mostly of flat-to-rolling coastal plains, with mountains rising only in the south-central part. The highest point Pidurutalagala, reaching 2,524 metres (8,281 ft) above sea level. The climate is tropical and warm, due to the moderating effects of ocean winds. Mean temperature ranges from 17 °C (62.6 °F) in the central highlands, where frost may occur for several days in the winter, to a maximum of 33 °C (91.4 °F) in other low-altitude areas. Average yearly temperature ranges from 28 °C (82.4 °F) to nearly 31 °C (87.8 °F). Day and night temperatures may vary by 14 °C (57.2 °F) to 18 °C (64.4 °F).
Rainfall pattern is influenced by monsoon winds from the Indian Ocean and Bay of Bengal. The "wet zone" and some of the windward slopes of the central highlands receive up to 2,500 millimetres (98.4 in) of rain each month, but the leeward slopes in the east and northeast receive little rain. Most of the east, southeast, and northern parts of the country comprise the "dry zone", which receives between 1,200 mm (47 in) and 1,900 mm (75 in) of rain annually. The arid northwest and southeast coasts receive the least amount of rain at 800 mm (31 in) to 1,200 mm (47 in) per year. Periodic squalls occur and sometimes tropical cyclones bring overcast skies and rains to the southwest, northeast, and eastern parts of the island. Humidity is typically higher in the southwest and mountainous areas and depends on the seasonal patterns of rainfall.
The longest of the 103 rivers in the country is Mahaweli River, covering 335 kilometres (208 mi). These waterways give rise to 51 natural waterfalls of 10 meters or more. The highest is Bambarakanda Falls, with a height of 263 metres (863 ft). Sri Lanka's coastline is 1,585 km long. It claims an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) extending 200 nautical miles, approximately 6.7 times the country's land area. The coastline and adjacent waters support highly productive marine ecosystems such as fringing coral reefs, shallow beds of coastal and estuarine seagrasses. Sri Lanka inherits 45 estuaries and 40 lagoons too. Country's mangrove ecosystem which spans over 7,000 hectares, played a vital role in buffering the force in the waves of 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. The island is rich with minerals such as Ilmenite, Feldspar, Graphite, Silica, Kaolin, Mica and Thorium. Existence of Petroleum in the Gulf of Mannar has also been confirmed and extraction attempts are underway.
Read more about this topic: Sri Lanka
Other articles related to "geography":
... According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 0.5 square miles (1.3 km²), all of it land. ...
... Historical Geography is the study of the human, physical, fictional, theoretical, and "real" geographies of the past ... Historical geography studies a wide variety of issues and topics ... Subfields include Time geography ...
... According to the United States Census Bureau, the village has a total area of 0.7 square miles (1.7 km²), all of it land. ...
... This article describes the geography of French Polynesia ... Natural hazards Occasional cyclonic storms in January Environment - current issues NA Geography - note Includes five archipelagoes Makatea in French Polynesia is one of the three great phosphate ...
... In the history of geography, geographers have often recorded and described features of the Earth that might now be considered the remit of human, rather than physical ... It was not until the 18th and 19th centuries, however, that geography was recognised as a formal academic discipline ... was founded in England in 1830, although the United Kingdom did not get its first full Chair of geography until 1917 ...
Famous quotes containing the word geography:
“Yet America is a poem in our eyes; its ample geography dazzles the imagination, and it will not wait long for metres.”
—Ralph Waldo Emerson (18031882)
“Where the heart is, there the muses, there the gods sojourn, and not in any geography of fame. Massachusetts, Connecticut River, and Boston Bay, you think paltry places, and the ear loves names of foreign and classic topography. But here we are; and, if we tarry a little, we may come to learn that here is best. See to it, only, that thyself is here;and art and nature, hope and fate, friends, angels, and the Supreme Being, shall not absent from the chamber where thou sittest.”
—Ralph Waldo Emerson (18031882)
“Ktaadn, near which we were to pass the next day, is said to mean Highest Land. So much geography is there in their names.”
—Henry David Thoreau (18171862)