Bermuda Geography

What is the terrain and geography like in Bermuda?


Bermuda is an archipelago of seven main islands and some 150 other islands and islets. The main islands, joined by bridges or causeways, stretch from northeast to southwest in a long, narrow formation that hooks northward at the western end. On the map, the shape is much like that of a fishhook. The main islands are in close proximity and, since being joined, the Bermuda Islands (or Somers Isles, their other name) are generally called the island of Bermuda.

Bermuda’s total land area is about 20 square miles — some 22 miles in length and an average of less than a mile in width — making the country smaller than the city of Manhattan. During World War II, the U.S. military created 1.25 square miles of the present land mass by uniting and enlarging some of the islands with material dredged from the sea bottom, now the site of the Bermuda International Airport.

The archipelago is the summit of a submerged volcanic mountain range, 14,000–15,000 feet high, which has been extinct since before the first ice age. Between the volcanic foundation and the inches-thin layer of soil capping it lies a 200-foot thick layer of limestone formed by deposits of mollusks, coral polyps, and other sea creatures. The coral content in the limestone substructure justifies Bermuda’s classification as a “coral island,” though it is more fully described as a mixed superstructure of Aeolian petrified sand hills and limestone upon an eroded volcanic base. The surrounding reefs are true coral growths, making Bermuda the most northerly point on the globe where reef-building coral exists.

Bermuda lies at latitude 32’18” north and longitude 65’46” west. Geographically, it is remote and does not lie within or near the West Indies or the Caribbean, with which it is often erroneously identified.

The terrain is hilly, with the highest — Gibb’s Hill — 260 feet above sea level. A fertile valley extends along the length of the main island. Wind-carved cliffs cascade into the sea along the rocky northern shore. Similar rock formations form a dramatic backdrop for the long beaches and small coves along the south shore. The enclosing reef, a few yards offshore on the south coast and up to several miles offshore on the north, emerges from the sea each day at low tide, framing the islands and completing the topographical picture.

Except for a few small ponds, there are no rivers, streams, lakes, or other surface freshwater formations. For most of its history, Bermuda was thought to have no groundwater, but freshwater lens formations lying above underground saltwater were discovered in the 1920s and 30s. These have subsequently been exploited to supplement the island’s main source of drinking water, which is rainwater collected on roofs and paved catchments.

Geography - note

Consists of about 138 coral islands and islets with ample rainfall, but no rivers or freshwater lakes; some land was leased by the US Government from 1941 to 1995

Bermuda Use of Natural Resources

Geographic Location North America
Total Area 21 Square Miles
54 Square Kilometers
Land Area 21 Square Miles
54 Square Kilometers
Coastline 64 Miles
103 Kilometers
Geographic Coordinates 32 20 N, 64 45 W
Terrain Low hills separated by fertile depressions
Highest Point 76 Meters
Highest Point Location Town Hill 76 m
Lowest Point Location Atlantic Ocean 0 m
Natural Resources Limestone, pleasant climate fostering tourism
Time Zone UTC-4 (1 hour ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Daylight saving time +1hr, begins second Sunday in March; ends first Sunday in November

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