Mexico Geography

What is the terrain and geography like in Mexico?

Overview:

Mexico is located in North America. It borders the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico between Belize and the U.S. and borders the North Pacific Ocean between Guatemala and the U.S. Its land mass covers approximately 1.9 million sq. kms, and has approximately 9,330 sq. kms of beachfront property.

With a climate that varies from tropical to desert, the terrain ranges from high rugged mountains to low coastal plains and high plateaus to desert. Its lowest elevation point is Laguna Salada at 10 meters. The highest point is the Volcano, Pico de Orizaba, at 5,700 meters.

Mexican natural hazards include tsunamis on the Pacific coast, volcanoes and destructive earthquakes at the center and south, and hurricanes on the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean coasts.

Geography - note:

strategic location on southern border of US; corn (maize), one of the world's major grain crops, is thought to have originated in Mexico

Climate:

With a climate that varies from tropical to desert, the terrain ranges from high rugged mountains to low coastal plains and high plateaus to desert. Mexican natural hazards include tsunamis on the Pacific coast, volcanoes and destructive earthquakes at the center and south, and hurricanes on the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean coasts.

Mexico Use of Natural Resources

Mexico Environment

Climate:

With a climate that varies from tropical to desert, the terrain ranges from high rugged mountains to low coastal plains and high plateaus to desert. Mexican natural hazards include tsunamis on the Pacific coast, volcanoes and destructive earthquakes at the center and south, and hurricanes on the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean coasts.

Terrain:

high, rugged mountains; low coastal plains; high plateaus; desert

Natural Resources:

petroleum, silver, copper, gold, lead, zinc, natural gas, timber

Natural Hazards:

tsunamis along the Pacific coast, volcanoes and destructive earthquakes in the center and south, and hurricanes on the Pacific, Gulf of Mexico, and Caribbean coasts

volcanism: volcanic activity in the central-southern part of the country; the volcanoes in Baja California are mostly dormant; Colima (elev. 3,850 m), which erupted in 2010, is Mexico's most active volcano and is responsible for causing periodic evacuations of nearby villagers; it has been deemed a "Decade Volcano" by the International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth's Interior, worthy of study due to its explosive history and close proximity to human populations; Popocatepetl (elev. 5,426 m) poses a threat to Mexico City; other historically active volcanoes include Barcena, Ceboruco, El Chichon, Michoacan-Guanajuato, Pico de Orizaba, San Martin, Socorro, and Tacana

Irrigated Land:

24,942 Square Miles
64,600 Square Kilometers

Environmental Issues:

scarcity of hazardous waste disposal facilities; rural to urban migration; natural freshwater resources scarce and polluted in north, inaccessible and poor quality in center and extreme southeast; raw sewage and industrial effluents polluting rivers in urban areas; deforestation; widespread erosion; desertification; deteriorating agricultural lands; serious air and water pollution in the national capital and urban centers along US-Mexico border; land subsidence in Valley of Mexico caused by groundwater depletion

note: the government considers the lack of clean water and deforestation national security issues

Environment - International Agreements:

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands, Whaling

signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Mexico Geography

Geographic Location North America
Total Area 758,445 Square Miles
1,964,375 Square Kilometers
Land Area 750,557 Square Miles
1,943,945 Square Kilometers
Water Area 7,888 Square Miles
20,430 Square Kilometers
Land Boundaries 2,705 Miles
4,353 Kilometers
Irrigated Land 24,942 Square Miles
64,600 Square Kilometers
Border Countries Belize 250 km, Guatemala 962 km, US 3,141 km
Coastline 5,797 Miles
9,330 Kilometers
Geographic Coordinates 23 00 N, 102 00 W
Terrain high, rugged mountains; low coastal plains; high plateaus; desert
Highest Point 5,700 Meters
Highest Point Location Volcan Pico de Orizaba 5,700 m
Lowest Point -10 Meters
Lowest Point Location Laguna Salada -10 m
Natural Resources petroleum, silver, copper, gold, lead, zinc, natural gas, timber
Time Zone UTC-6 (1 hour behind Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

note: Mexico has four time zones
Daylight saving time +1hr, begins first Sunday in April; ends last Sunday in October
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