Geography of the Cayman Islands

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Geography of the Cayman Islands
Cayman Islands Map.svg
Continent
Region Central America
Caribbean Sea
Coordinates 19°30'N, 80°30'W
Area Ranked 205th
 • Total 264 km2 (102 sq mi)
 • Land 100%
 • Water 0%
Coastline 160 km (99 mi)
Borders Total land borders:
0 km (0 miles)
Highest point The Bluff
43 m (141.08 ft)
Lowest point Caribbean Sea
0 m (0 ft)
Longest river
Largest lake

The Cayman Islands are a British dependency and island country. It is a three-island archipelago in the Caribbean Sea, consisting of Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac, and Little Cayman. Georgetown, the capital of the Cayman Islands is 438 km (272 mi) south of Havana, Cuba,[1] and 504 km (313 mi) northwest of Kingston, Jamaica,[2] and are between Cuba and Central America. Georgetown’s geographic coordinates are 19.300° north, 81.383° west.[2]

The Cayman Islands have a land area of 264 km2 (102 sq mi) approximately 1.5 times the size of Washington, D.C. and just 3 km2 (1.2 sq mi) larger than Saint Kitts and Nevis. The Cayman Islands have a coastline of 160 km (99 mi). The Cayman Islands make a maritime claim of a 200-nautical-mile (370.4 km; 230.2 mi) exclusive fishing zone and a territorial sea of 12 nautical miles (22.2 km; 13.8 mi).[3][4]

Geology[edit]

The islands are located on the Cayman Rise which forms the northern margin of the Cayman Trough. The trough is the deepest point in the Caribbean Sea and forms part of the tectonic boundary between the North American Plate and the Caribbean Plate. The Cayman Rise extends from southeastern Cuba along the northern margin of the Cayman Trough toward Costa Rica and resulted from Paleocene to Eocene island arc formation with associated volcanism along an extinct subduction zone.[5] The islands are formed of marine limestone and dolostone that was uplifted during the late Miocene epoch.[6]

Climate[edit]

The Cayman Islands have a tropical marine climate, with a wet season of warm, rainy summers (May to October) and a dry season during the winter (November to April). Terrain is mostly a low-lying limestone base surrounded by coral reefs.

A major natural hazard is the tropical cyclones that form during the Atlantic hurricane season from July to November.

Climate data for George Town - capital of Cayman Islands
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 26
(79)
26
(79)
27
(81)
28
(82)
29
(84)
30
(86)
31
(88)
30
(86)
30
(86)
29
(84)
28
(82)
27
(81)
28
(82)
Daily mean °C (°F) 25
(77)
25
(77)
26
(79)
27
(81)
27
(81)
28
(82)
29
(84)
28
(82)
28
(82)
27
(81)
27
(81)
25
(77)
27
(81)
Average low °C (°F) 23
(73)
22
(72)
23
(73)
25
(77)
26
(79)
27
(81)
28
(82)
27
(81)
26
(79)
26
(79)
25
(77)
23
(73)
25
(77)
Avg. precipitation days 5 4 4 4 7 7 7 8 9 10 9 6 80
Source: Weatherbase[7]

Environmental issues[edit]

An important environmental issue is the lack of fresh water resources. Drinking water supplies must be met by rainwater catchment and desalination. Destruction of natural resources by the tourism industry and construction of new homes for investors is becoming a great concern to local citizens.

Natural resources[edit]

Map of Grand Cayman
Sunset from North Side beach, Grand Cayman

Natural resources include fish and a climate and beaches that foster tourism, which is the islands' major industry. A 2005 estimate of land use determined that the Cayman Islands' had 3.85 percent arable land and no permanent crops.

Districts[edit]

The territory is subdivided into sixth districts that are governed by district managers and that have a role as electoral districts and as regional units for statistics. Five of the districts are located on the main island, Grand Cayman. The sixth, Sister Islands, comprises the islands of Little Cayman and Cayman Brac.

Nr. District or island Area
(km²)
Pop.
1999-10-10
Pop.
2007 est.
Pop.-
density
1 Bodden Town 5,764 6,918 865
2 Cayman Brac 36 1,822 1,500 42
3 East End 50 1,371 1,552 31
4 George Town 29 20,626 31,785 1096
5 Little Cayman 26 115 200 8
6 North Side 1,079 1,258 14
7 West Bay 19 8,243 11,436 602
  Cayman Islands 259 39,020 54.649 211

The population is concentrated in the three (south-)western districts George Town (capital), West Bay, and Bodden Town. Those have a population density many times higher than all remaining districts.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "coordinates and total distance". web page. webcrow. Retrieved 23 October 2011. 
  2. ^ a b "coordinates and total distance". web page. webcrow. Retrieved 23 October 2011. 
  3. ^ "Central Intelligence Agency The World Factbook Cayman Islands". web page. US Central Intelligence Agency. Retrieved 23 October 2011. 
  4. ^ "Central Intelligence Agency The World Factbook St Kitts and Nevis". web page. US Central Intelligence Agency. Retrieved 23 October 2011. 
  5. ^ H. Sigurdsson, et al., History of circum-Caribbean explosive volcanism: 40Ar/39Ar dating of tephra layers, Ch. 20 in Volume 165, Proceedings of the Oceanic Drilling Program, 26 May 2000, ISSN 1096-7451 doi:10.2973/odp.proc.sr.165.2000
  6. ^ J.E. Davies and M.A. Brunt (1994), "Scientific Studies in the Cayman Islands", in: The Cayman Islands: Natural History and Biogeography, Volume 71, edited by M. A. Brunt. Springer. p. 1. ISBN 9780792324621.
  7. ^ a b "Weatherbase: Historical Weather for George Town, Cayman Islands". 

External links[edit]