Geography of Aruba

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Satellite image of Aruba

Aruba is an island in the south of Caribbean in the Caribbean Sea. It is westernmost island of the ABC Islands and of the Leeward Antilles. It is located at 12°30′N 69°58′W / 12.500°N 69.967°W / 12.500; -69.967, 25 km north of the coast of Venezuela and 68 km northwest of Curaçao. The island has a total area of 139 km2 (54 sq mi) and a coast line of 68.5 km (42.6 mi). Mount Jamanota of 188 m (617 ft) is the highest point.

Politically, Aruba is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Oranjestad is the largest settlement with a population of 32,748.

Natural geography[edit]

Casibari Rock Formation
Aruba's Natural Bridge in 2005, before its subsequent collapse due to coastal erosion

Aruba's terrain is mostly flat with a few hills. There is little in the way of vegetation or outstanding physical features and no inland water. Aruba's best-known geographical feature is its white-sand beaches, which are the basis of an active tourism industry that is the mainstay of the island's economy. Aruba is situated on the Caribbean Tectonic Plate. Aruba, as well as the rest of the ABC islands and also Trinidad and Tobago, lies on the continental shelf of South America, and is thus geologically considered to lie entirely in South America.

The core of the island is made up of Turonian submarine and subaerial basalts which were formed in the Caribbean large igneous province. These basalts were intruded by a tonalite pluton shortly after their eruption. The shore areas are mainly limestone-capped hills and ridges, with cliffs on the northern and northeastern coasts and coral reefs on the southern coast.

Mountains and hills[edit]

Aruba's terrain is almost entirely flat. Rock formations characterize the interior of the island.

The highest elevation, so-called Mount Jamanota, is only 188 m (617 ft) above sea level. The Hooiberg is 165 m (541 ft).

Coast and beaches[edit]

Aruba has three deepwater harbors located at Oranjestad, Barcadera, and San Nicolaas. The coastal area is known for its white-sand beaches and the calm waters surrounding Aruba are clear, making it a popular tourist destination.

Climate[edit]

Aruba's semi-arid tropical marine climate varies little seasonally, with an average annual temperature of 27 °C (80.6 °F), varying from about 26 °C (78.8 °F) in January to 29 °C (84.2 °F) in July.

Most rain brought by the prevailing easterly winds of the region falls on the Windward Islands of the Lesser Antilles, leaving Aruba with a very dry climate. Rainfall averages 510 mm (20.1 in) or less annually, and the island's residents rely on one of the world’s largest desalination plants for most of their drinking water. The rainy season occurs between October and December.

Climate data for Oranjestad, Aruba (1981–2010, extremes 1951–2010)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 32.5
(90.5)
33.0
(91.4)
33.9
(93)
34.4
(93.9)
34.9
(94.8)
35.2
(95.4)
35.3
(95.5)
36.1
(97)
36.5
(97.7)
35.4
(95.7)
35.0
(95)
34.8
(94.6)
36.5
(97.7)
Average high °C (°F) 30.0
(86)
30.4
(86.7)
30.9
(87.6)
31.5
(88.7)
32.0
(89.6)
32.2
(90)
32.0
(89.6)
32.6
(90.7)
32.7
(90.9)
32.1
(89.8)
31.3
(88.3)
30.4
(86.7)
31.5
(88.7)
Daily mean °C (°F) 26.7
(80.1)
26.8
(80.2)
27.2
(81)
27.9
(82.2)
28.5
(83.3)
28.7
(83.7)
28.6
(83.5)
29.1
(84.4)
29.2
(84.6)
28.7
(83.7)
28.1
(82.6)
27.2
(81)
28.1
(82.6)
Average low °C (°F) 24.5
(76.1)
24.7
(76.5)
25.0
(77)
25.8
(78.4)
26.5
(79.7)
26.7
(80.1)
26.4
(79.5)
26.8
(80.2)
26.9
(80.4)
26.4
(79.5)
25.8
(78.4)
25.0
(77)
25.9
(78.6)
Record low °C (°F) 21.3
(70.3)
20.6
(69.1)
21.4
(70.5)
21.5
(70.7)
21.8
(71.2)
22.7
(72.9)
21.2
(70.2)
21.3
(70.3)
22.1
(71.8)
21.9
(71.4)
22.0
(71.6)
20.5
(68.9)
20.5
(68.9)
Average precipitation mm (inches) 39.3
(1.547)
20.6
(0.811)
8.7
(0.343)
11.6
(0.457)
16.3
(0.642)
18.7
(0.736)
31.7
(1.248)
25.8
(1.016)
45.5
(1.791)
77.8
(3.063)
94.0
(3.701)
81.8
(3.22)
471.8
(18.575)
Avg. precipitation days (≥ 1.0 mm) 8.4 5.0 1.8 1.9 2.2 2.8 4.9 4.3 3.9 7.4 10.6 11.4 64.6
Avg. relative humidity (%) 77.5 76.1 75.7 77.1 77.9 77.4 77.8 76.2 76.8 78.6 79.1 78.4 77.4
Source: Departmento Meteorologico Aruba,[1] (extremes)[2]

Human geography[edit]

The island is divided into eight regions:

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Summary Climatological Normals 1981–2010" (PDF). Departamento Meteorologico Aruba. Retrieved 15 October 2012. 
  2. ^ "Climate Data Aruba". Departamento Meteorologico Aruba. Retrieved 15 October 2012. 

External links[edit]