Egypt Geography

What is the terrain and geography like in Egypt?

Overview:

The Arab Republic of Egypt is located in northeast Africa and, with the Sinai Peninsula, extends into southwest Asia. It consists of 1,002,000 square kilometers of land. There are three land borders: Israel, Libya, and the Sudan, as well as four water barriers: the Mediterranean Sea, Gulf of Suez, Gulf of Aqaba, and the Red Sea. Most of the country is part of the band of desert stretching from the Atlantic Coast of Africa to the Middle East.


Geological changes have produced four distinct physical regions: the Nile River's Valley and Delta, where 95% of the population lives: the Western Desert, with two-thirds of the country's total land area in barren limestone plateaus and depressions; the Eastern Desert, scored by gullies in rugged hills; and the Sinai Peninsula, geographically a barren part of the Asian Continent, separating slowly from Africa.


Only the Nile Valley, Delta, and a few desert oases can support productive agriculture. The date palm is the most prevalent indigenous tree, though frequently eucalyptus, acacia, sycamore, juniper, jacaranda, and tamarind are seen. Papyrus, once prevalent throughout Egypt, exists now only in botanical gardens.


According to reports written in the first century A.D., seven branches of the Nile ran through the Delta to the Mediterranean. Since then, nature and man have closed all but two outlets: the Damietta and the Rosetta. A network of canals, salt marshes, and lakes now supplement these channels.


Lower Egypt is the area north of the 30th parallel of latitude, which passes through Cairo and Suez. Upper Egypt is everything south. The highest point in the country, Jebel Katrinah (Mount St. Catherine), is 8,600 feet above sea level--a part of the red-colored Sinai terrain that gave the Red Sea its name. Nearby is Jebel Musa (Mount Sinai), the legendary site where Moses received the Ten Commandments.


The lowest point, the Qattarah Depression in the Western Desert, drops at places to 132 meters below sea level. Alexandria receives the majority of Egypt's limited rainfall, with 19cm (about 7 ½ inches) being the yearly average. Two cm (about ½ inch) is the usual annual total in Cairo.

Geography - note:

controls Sinai Peninsula, only land bridge between Africa and remainder of Eastern Hemisphere; controls Suez Canal, a sea link between Indian Ocean and Mediterranean Sea; size, and juxtaposition to Israel, establish its major role in Middle Eastern geopolitics; dependence on upstream neighbors; dominance of Nile basin issues; prone to influxes of refugees from Sudan and the Palestinian territories

Climate:

From November to April, temperatures range in Cairo from 40° to 65°F, and during the hot period, May to October, from 70° to 110°F. The Mediterranean coast is usually 10° cooler, while Upper Egypt is 10° to 20° warmer. Extreme temperatures during both seasons are moderated by the prevailing northerly winds. The exception is the hot, dry southerly Khamaseen, named for the number 50 because it occurs in a 50-day timeframe from April to June. With winds up to 90 miles an hour, the resulting sandstorms close down airports and roads.

Egypt Use of Natural Resources

Egypt Environment

Climate:

From November to April, temperatures range in Cairo from 40° to 65°F, and during the hot period, May to October, from 70° to 110°F. The Mediterranean coast is usually 10° cooler, while Upper Egypt is 10° to 20° warmer. Extreme temperatures during both seasons are moderated by the prevailing northerly winds. The exception is the hot, dry southerly Khamaseen, named for the number 50 because it occurs in a 50-day timeframe from April to June. With winds up to 90 miles an hour, the resulting sandstorms close down airports and roads.

Terrain:

vast desert plateau interrupted by Nile valley and delta

Natural Resources:

petroleum, natural gas, iron ore, phosphates, manganese, limestone, gypsum, talc, asbestos, lead, rare earth elements, zinc

Natural Hazards:

periodic droughts; frequent earthquakes; flash floods; landslides; hot, driving windstorms called khamsin occur in spring; dust storms; sandstorms

Irrigated Land:

13,212 Square Miles
34,220 Square Kilometers

Environmental Issues:

agricultural land being lost to urbanization and windblown sands; increasing soil salination below Aswan High Dam; desertification; oil pollution threatening coral reefs, beaches, and marine habitats; other water pollution from agricultural pesticides, raw sewage, and industrial effluents; limited natural freshwater resources away from the Nile, which is the only perennial water source; rapid growth in population overstraining the Nile and natural resources

Environment - International Agreements:

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands

signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Egypt Geography

Geographic Location Africa
Total Area 386,660 Square Miles
1,001,450 Square Kilometers
Land Area 384,343 Square Miles
995,450 Square Kilometers
Water Area 2,317 Square Miles
6,000 Square Kilometers
Land Boundaries 1,656 Miles
2,665 Kilometers
Irrigated Land 13,212 Square Miles
34,220 Square Kilometers
Border Countries Gaza Strip 11 km, Israel 266 km, Libya 1,115 km, Sudan 1,273 km
Coastline 1,522 Miles
2,450 Kilometers
Geographic Coordinates 27 00 N, 30 00 E
Terrain vast desert plateau interrupted by Nile valley and delta
Highest Point 2,629 Meters
Highest Point Location Mount Catherine 2,629 m
Lowest Point -133 Meters
Lowest Point Location Qattara Depression -133 m
Natural Resources petroleum, natural gas, iron ore, phosphates, manganese, limestone, gypsum, talc, asbestos, lead, rare earth elements, zinc
Time Zone UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
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