Mexico Geography

By | March 22, 2021

Mexico Overview

Official name: United Mexican States

Area: 1,972,550 km²

population: 125.9 million (2018, estimated)

Growth of population: 1.09% (2018, estimated)

Seat of government: Mexico city

Official language: Spanish

Other languages: Náhuatl, Maya and Mixteco

Beach in Nayarit

Beach in Nayarit

Climate

The geographical location of Mexico is reflected in a particularly large climatic diversity, of which it is commonly claimed that all climates in the world can be found.

Geographically, the country lies between 14 ° 30 ‘and 32 ° 43’ north latitude. The southeast, the summer humid outer tropics, has a humid climate for eight to ten months. Due to the plateau formed by the mountain ranges, a temperate climate is the rule in the center and an alpine one on the volcanic peaks. Cuernavaca, in the center of Mexico, is called the city of eternal spring. In northwest Mexico there is a desert climate.

Landscapes and Vegetation

The Popocatépetl volcano

The Popocatépetl volcano

The Yucatán Peninsula, located in the southernmost part of Mexico, consists of a limestone slab that forms a porous, flat plain. The Sierra Madre de Chiapas in the southeast and the Sierra Madre del Sur in the southwest of the country are joined by the Sierra Madre Oriental and Sierra Madre Occidental mountain ranges to the north along the coasts. The Sierra Madre Oriental with steeply rising stratified ribs and brushing folds extends to the northern border with the USA, where the highlands reach 1200 m. The Sierra Madre Occidental in the west consists of flat volcanic blankets.

Volcanoes near Mexico City

Volcanoes near Mexico City

As a country located in North America according to themeparktour, Mexico has the largest known underwater cave system in the world. The so-called underground rivers are around 350 kilometers long and connect, among other things, the cenotes Sac Actún and Dos Ojos on the Yucatán peninsula. Cenotes are a special feature of the Mexican landscape, which are very deep, large water holes that played an important role in the cosmology of the Mayans. Archaeological finds in these underwater caves suggest that Mexico was settled as early as 13,000 years ago.

Three tectonic plates collide in Mexico, causing frequent earthquakes and volcanic activity. Earthquakes with great damage and high casualties, such as B. the earthquake on September 19, 1985, are rather rare. Nevertheless, on September 8, 19 and 23, 2017, there were again strong earthquakes with considerable damage and many deaths. The regions of Chiapas, Oaxaca, Puebla and Mexico City were particularly hard hit.

There are a variety of volcanoes along the mountain ranges. The highest peaks are in the southern center of the country, in the transmexican volcanic belt of the Sierra Nevada: Nevado de Toluca, Iztaccíhuatl, Popocatépetl, Malinche (or Malintzin) and Citlaltépetl (or Pico de Orizaba). The latter is the highest volcano in Mexico at 5,636 m.

The capital Mexico City (Ciudad de México) is located in a valley between different volcanoes at an altitude of about 2000 m. From the south of the city, on a clear day, you can see the majestic Popocatépetl (popularly known as “el Popo” or “Don Goyo”) and Iztaccíhuatl.

Volcanic activity has been increasing on the Popocatépetl for around 12 years. In the villages on the slopes of the volcano there is regular information about the status of the measurements. To date, there has been no risk of evacuation, even if there are repeated small vapors. Current information on the development of volcanic activity can be obtained from CENAPRED. Ascent is currently prohibited.

The fauna in Mexico is home to around 200,000 different species. With 736 species, Mexico is the country with the greatest diversity of reptiles. The flora counts around 26,000 different species, of which only around 2,500 species are legally protected. World-famous examples of the diversity and richness of the flora are corn, tomato, cocoa and vanilla, which originated in the Mexican soil.

Although several Mexican landscapes have been placed under nature protection and national parks have been established in recent decades, some of these areas have fallen victim to economic interests.

Some protected areas are even a UNESCO World Heritage Site: Sian Ka’an (since 1987), but also many islands and nature reserves in the Golfo de California (since 2005). The butterflies in the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve (since 2008), the whales in the Whale Sanctuary of El Vizcaino (since 1993), the El Pinacate y Gran Desierto de Altar biosphere reserve (since 2013), the tropical rainforest in Campeche (since 2014) and the Revillagigedo archipelago (since 2016). The Maya city of Calakmul and the Tehuacán-Cuicatlán valley are part of the mixed UNESCO world natural and world cultural heritage.