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Geography of Trinidad & Tobago


Situated off the northeast coast of South America at the extreme southern end of the Lesser Antilles, the islands of Trinidad & Tobago cover an area of 5,128 km2 (1,981 mi2). Comparatively, the area occupied by Trinidad & Tobago is slightly smaller than the state of Delaware, USA. Trinidad, the main island, rectangular in shape, has an area of 4,828 km2 (1,863 mi2), extending 143 km (89 mi) north to south, and 61 km (38 mi) east to west. Cigar-shaped Tobago, 31 km (19 mi) northeast of Trinidad, has an area of 300 km2 (116 mi2), a length of 42 km (26 mi) northeast to southwest, and an average width of 12 km (7.5 mi) northwest to southeast. 16 small islands are found off the coasts. The Atlantic Ocean is to the east and the Caribbean Sea to the west. Venezuela lies only 11 km (7 mi) southwest, across the shallow Gulf of Paria.

Trinidad & Tobago have a coastline length of 362 km (225 mi). The capital city of Trinidad & Tobago, Port-of-Spain, is located on Trinidad's Gulf of Paria coast.

Trinidad is geologically part of South America and its topography is similar to that of the adjoining Orinoco section of Venezuela. Three hill ranges, trending east-west, cross the island roughly through the northern, central, and southern parts, respectively. The Northern Range, a continuation of the mountains of the Paria Peninsula of Venezuela, is the most extensive and rugged of the three and has peaks rising above 900 m (3,000 ft). The highest peaks on Trinidad are El Cerro del Aripo (940 m/3,084 ft) and El Tucuche (936 m/3,071 ft). Hills in the Central Range rise just over 300 m (1,000 ft). Those in the Southern Range are somewhat lower. In between these hill ranges is level or gently rolling flatland, dissected by small streams flowing from the hills. Extensive swamp areas, some of them mangrove, are found along the east, south, and west coasts. Trinidad has the world's largest natural asphalt bog, the 46-hectare (114-acre) Pitch Lake, on the southwestern coast.

Tobago is geologically part of the Lesser Antilles, and its topography, generally more irregular and rugged than Trinidad's, resembles that of Grenada, St Vincent, and other volcanic islands to the north. A central volcanic hill core rising to over 550 m (1,800 ft) fills most of the island and reaches the sea in many places. Patches of a narrow coastal plain are scattered here and there; much of the island's limited level land is concentrated in its southwestern tip.

There is little variation in temperature conditions through the year. The mean annual temperature for the entire nation is 21°C (70°F). In Port-of-Spain the annual average is 25°C (77°F), with an average minimum of 20°C (68°F) and an average maximum of 30°C (86°F) in January; the July range is 23-31°C (73-88°F). Increasing elevation in Trinidad's Northern Range causes a corresponding decrease in temperature. Nights are generally cool.

In the northern and central hill areas and on Tobago, annual rainfall exceeds 250 cm (100 in) and probably exceeds 380 cm (150 in) in specific areas. Most hilly sections receive 200 cm (80 in) or more, while in the lowlands the average drops below 165 cm (65 in) and in certain sections below 125 cm (50 in). There is a relatively dry season from about January to May and a wet season from June to December. The dry period is not, however, a season of drought, for rain still falls every few days in most areas.


Location : Caribbean, islands between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, northeast of Venezuela
Geographic coordinates : 11 00 N, 61 00 W
Map references

: Central America and the Caribbean

: total: 5,128 sq km
land: 5,128 sq km
water: 0 sq km
Area - comparative : slightly smaller than Delaware, USA
Land boundaries : 0 km

Coastline : 362 km
Maritime claims
: measured from claimed archipelagic baselines
territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm or to the outer edge of the continental margin
Climate : tropical; rainy season (June to December)
Terrain : mostly plains with some hills and low mountains
Elevation extremes
: lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
highest point: El Cerro del Aripo 940 m
Natural resources

: petroleum, natural gas, asphalt
Land use : arable land: 14.62%
permanent crops: 9.16%
other: 76.22% (2005)
Irrigated land

: 40 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources

: 3.8 cu km (2000)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)

: total: 0.31 cu km/yr (68%/26%/6%)
per capita: 237 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards
: outside usual path of hurricanes and other tropical storms
Environment - current issues
: water pollution from agricultural chemicals, industrial wastes, and raw sewage; oil pollution of beaches; deforestation; soil erosion
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, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note : Pitch Lake, on Trinidad's southwestern coast, is the world's largest natural reservoir of asphalt




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