Geography of Morocco
Morocco spans from the Atlantic Ocean, to mountainous areas, to the Sahara desert. Morocco is a Northern African country, located in the extreme north west of Africa on the door of continental Europe. The strait of Gibraltar sperates Spain and Morocco with a 13 km span of water. Morocco borders the North Atlantic Ocean to the west and the west Mediterranean Sea to the north.
The largest part of Morocco is mountainous. The Atlas Mountains are located mainly in the center and the south. It expands to more than 1100 km and is the dorsal spine of the country. To the north, we have the Rif Mountains, which are part of the Sierra Nevada mountain range in Andalusia, Spain. The massive range expands to 360 km from Tangier in the west to the foot of Saïdia eastward.
To the west of the country, along the Atlantic coast, rich coastal plains stretch from Tangier to Agadir, about 800 km long, and get inward to Saiss Plains near Fes and Tansift-Alhaouz around the city of Marrakech. These vast plains promots fertile agricultural lands and make one of the most important economical resources of Morocco.
In the extreme South-East of the country, the lands are usually arid, due to their proximity to the Sahara desert of Algeria. Palm trees oasis are developed in many regions, notably in Figuig and Zagora.
- 1 Geography statistics
- 2 Climate
- 3 Physical geography
- 4 Land use and natural resources
- 5 Environment
- 5.1 Ecoregions
- 5.2 Current environmental issues
- 5.3 International environmental agreements
- 6 Extreme points
- 7 Gallery
- 8 References
- 9 See Also
- 10 External links
Map references: Africa
total: 446,550 km² (excluding Western Sahara), 710,850 km² (including Western Sahara)
land: 446,300 km² (or 710,600 km²)
water: 250 km²
Area - comparative: Morocco without Western Sahara is slightly larger than California; slightly larger than Newfoundland and Labrador; slightly more than half the size of New South Wales province of Australia; slightly less than twice the size of the United Kingdom
Morocco, including Western Sahara, is slightly larger than Texas
Coastline: 1835 km (excluding Western Sahara's coast)
2945 km (including Western Sahara's coast)
Territorial sea: 12 nmi (22.2 km; 13.8 mi)
Contiguous zone: 24 nmi (44.4 km; 27.6 mi)
Exclusive economic zone: 200 nmi (370.4 km; 230.2 mi)
Continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation
If we exclude the extreme South-East regions, which classifies as arid, Morocco's climate in general is similar to the one you find in the Iberian Peninsula with its all sub-climatic diversity. Thus, we find the following zones:
Mediterranean: This climate is found along the Mediterranean coast of the country, and parts of the Northern Atlantic portion between Tangier and Kénitra. From Kénitra downward, the typical Mediterranean climate becomes more Oceanic influenced reaching up to Essaouira region, where it becomes typically Oceanic but with less rainfall than found in Oceanic zones like in Western France or the UK.
Continental: This climate is found in large parts of the RiF, Middle-Atlas and the Norther side of the High-Atlas Mountains, cities like Fes or Meknes, who lies on the periphery of these mountains range are also influenced by continental climate but remain essentially Mediterranean.
Semi-arid: This climate is found south of the city of Essaouira, where yearly average precipitations start to get below 400 mm, and that what prevents cities like Agadir or Marrakech from being classified as Mediterranean, despite the similitude in yearly temperatures and rainfall pattern (November-April).
Terrain: Northern coast and interior are mountainous with large areas of bordering plateaus, intermontane valleys, and rich coastal plains
Geography - note: Strategic location along Strait of Gibraltar
Land use and natural resources
Arable land: 17.5%
Permanent crops: 2.9%
Permanent pastures: 47.1%
Other: 21.61% (2011)
Irrigated land: 14,850 km² (2004)
Total renewable water resources: 29 km3 (2011)
Natural hazards: Northern mountains geologically unstable and subject to earthquakes; periodic droughts.
- Mediterranean dry woodlands and steppe
- Mediterranean woodlands and forests
- Mediterranean acacia-argania dry woodlands and succulent thickets
Current environmental issues
Land degradation/desertification (soil erosion resulting from farming of marginal areas, overgrazing, destruction of vegetation); water supplies contaminated by raw sewage; siltation of reservoirs; oil pollution of coastal waters.
International environmental agreements
Morocco is party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution (MARPOL 73/78), Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: Environmental Modification
- Northernmost point – Punta Cires, Tangier-Tétouan region
- Easternmost point – unnamed point on the border with Algeria immediately east of the town of Iche, Oriental region
- Southernmost point – the border with Western Sahara, Guelmim-Es Semara region*
- Westernmost point - the point at which the border with Western Sahara enters the Atlantic Ocean, Guelmim-Es Semara region
- Note: Morocco does not have a southern-most point, the border being formed by a straight horizontal line
- European Digital Archive on the Soil Maps of the world Soil Maps of Morocco