Geography of Sierra Leone

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A map of Sierra Leone.

Sierra Leone is located on the west coast of Africa, between the 7th and 10th parallels north of the equator. Sierra Leone is bordered by Guinea to the north and northeast, Liberia to the south and southeast, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west.[1]

Sierra Leone has a total area of 71,740 km2 (27,699 sq mi), divided into a land area of 71,620 km2 (27,653 sq mi) and water of 120 km2 (46 sq mi).[2]

Sierra Leone has four distinct geographical regions: coastal Guinean mangroves, the wooded hill country, an upland plateau, and the eastern mountains. Eastern Sierra Leone is an interior region of large plateaus interspersed with high mountains, where Mount Bintumani rises to 1,948 meters (6,391 ft).[1]

Physical geography[edit]

Sierra Leone is located on the west coast of Africa, between the 7th and 10th parallels north of the equator. Sierra Leone is bordered by Guinea to the north and northeast, Liberia to the south and southeast, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west.[1] The country has a total area of 71,740 km2 (27,699 sq mi), divided into a land area of 71,620 km2 (27,653 sq mi) and water of 120 km2 (46 sq mi).[2]

Sierra Leone has four distinct geographical regions: coastal Guinean mangroves, the wooded hill country, an upland plateau, and the eastern mountains. Eastern Sierra Leone is an interior region of large plateaus interspersed with high mountains, where Mount Bintumani rises to 1,948 meters (6,391 ft).[1]

Geology[edit]

Sierra Leone's topography

Sierra Leone can be split into three geological areas, in the east is part of the West African craton, the western area consists of the Rokelides, an orogenic belt, and a 20- to 30-km coastal strip of sediments.[3]

Extreme points[edit]

This is a list of the extreme points of Sierra Leone, the points that are farther north, south, east or west than any other location.

  • *Note: Sierra Leone does not have a northernmost point, the border being formed here by 10th parallel north

Climate[edit]

The climate is tropical; although it could be classified as a tropical monsoon climate, it could also be describe as a climate that is transitional between a continually wet tropical rainforest climate and a tropical savanna climate.[4]

There are two seasons determining the agricultural cycle: the rainy season from May to November, and a dry season from December to May, which includes harmattan, when cool, dry winds blow in off the Sahara Desert and the night-time temperature can be as low as 16 °C (60.8 °F). The average temperature is 26 °C (78.8 °F) and varies from around 26 °C (78.8 °F) to 36 °C (96.8 °F) during the year.[2][5][6]

Average rainfall is highest at the coast, 3000–5000 mm per year; moving inland this decreases and at the eastern border of the country, the average rainfall is 2000-2500mm.[7]

Environment issues[edit]

Hippopotami in the Outamba-Kilimi National Park in Sierra Leone's northwest.

Rapid population growth in Sierra Leone has put pressure upon the natural environment. Environmental problems include the overharvesting of timber, the expansion of cattle grazing and slash and burn agriculture have resulted in deforestation and soil exhaustion, and overfishing.

Sierra Leone is party to several environmental agreements:[2]

Signed, but not ratified:

General information[edit]

Geographic coordinates: 8°30′N 11°30′W / 8.500°N 11.500°W / 8.500; -11.500

Land boundaries:
total: 958 km
border countries: Guinea 652 km, Liberia 306 km

Coastline: 402 km

Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 200 nmi (370.4 km; 230.2 mi).
continental shelf: 200 m depth or to the depth of exploitation.

Terrain: coastal belt of mangrove swamps, wooded hill country, upland plateau, mountains in east.

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Loma Mansa (Bintimani) 1,948 m

Natural resources: diamonds, titanium ore, bauxite, iron ore, gold, chromite.

Land use:
arable land: 7.95%
permanent crops: 1.05%
other: 91% (2005)

Irrigated land: 300 km²; (2003)

Natural hazards: dry, sand-laden harmattan winds blow from the Sahara (December to February); dust storms.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d LeVert, Suzanne (2006). Cultures of the World: Sierra Leone. Marshall Cavendish (published 2007). p. 7. ISBN 978-0-7614-2334-8 
  2. ^ a b c d "CIA: The World Factbook: Sierra Leone". 
  3. ^ Schlüter, Thomas; Martin H. Trauth (2008). Geological atlas of Africa: with notes on stratigraphy, tectonics, economic geology, geohazards, geosites and geoscientific education of each country. Springer. p. 220. ISBN 978-3-540-76324-6. 
  4. ^ Gabler, Robert E.; James F. Petersen; L. Michael Trapasso; Dorothy Sack (2008). Physical Geography. Cengage Learning. p. 238. ISBN 978-0-495-55506-3. 
  5. ^ Blinker, Linda (September 2006). "COUNTRY ENVIRONMENT PROFILE (CEP) SIERRA LEONE". Freetown, Sierra Leone: CONSORTIUM PARSONS BRINCKERHOFF. p. 12. Retrieved 2008-09-25 
  6. ^ LeVert, Suzanne (2006). Cultures of the World: Sierra Leone. Marshall Cavendish (published 2007). pp. 8–9. ISBN 978-0-7614-2334-8 
  7. ^ Hughes, R. H.; J. S. Hughes (1992). A directory of African wetlands. IUCN. p. 435. ISBN 978-2-88032-949-5.