Geography of the Bahamas


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Geography of the Bahamas

The Bahamas are located in the Atlantic Ocean 49.7 miles (80 km) southeast of Florida and 49.7 miles (80 km) northeast of Cuba. Some neighboring islands to the Bahamas are Haiti and the Turks and Caicos Islands. Nassau, the capital of the Bahamas, is located on the island of New Providence. The Bahamas encompass 700 islands and 2,000 cays, yet 30 to 40 of them are inhabited (thebahamas.com).

The Bahamas are a large scattered group of islands called an archipelago. The land mass covers an area of about 4,566 sq. miles (11,825 sq. km) (Thompson 27), roughly the size of New Jersey and Connecticut combined. The islands of the Bahamas cover approximately 259,000 square miles (670,810 sq. km) of ocean (countrystudies.us). The total coastline is 2,200 miles (3,542 km), which is about 25% of all the land that makes up the Bahamas (cia.gov). The coastlines are fringed with mangroves, lagoons and coral reefs.

The foundation of the Bahamas is a mixture of fossil coral and sand. There is low scrub cover across many of the islands. The northern Bahamas are considered a savannah as it consists of flat grasslands on dry harsh lands. The highest point located in the Bahamas is Mt. Alvernia on Cat Island reaching a height of 320 feet (97.54 m) (cia.gov). The only river and fresh water lake in the entire archipelago is located on Andros Island.

The climate of the Bahamas is a tropical marine system. There are only two seasons in the Bahamas. Summer includes the months of May through November, while the winter months consist of December through April. Both seasons are controlled by the warm Gulf Stream and the trade winds. Moderate temperatures range from a low of 60°F and a high of 90°F (thebahamas.com). In the summer, the sea temperature is consistent around 80°F and generally 74°F by mid winter (thebahamas.com).

The Bahamas get 132 cm (25 inches) of rainfall annually which mostly occurs from the occasional summer showers (Thompson 28). More often than not these rainfalls are followed by numerous days of sunshine and clear skies. Winds tend to blow easterly and rarely reach speeds greater than 13 mph creating those warm balmy sea breezes.

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Hurricanes and tropical storms also affect the islands of the Bahamas usually during July through October, adding to this amount of annual rainfall. They create flooding and wind damage in the area. Some other natural hazards the Bahamas deals with are coral reef decay and solid waste disposal (encyclopedia 412).

sometimes the water is shallow enough that people are able to walk from one island to a neighboring island. Between Andros Island and Exumas is the Tongue of the Ocean which plunges to a depth of over five miles (8.05 km) (thebahamas.com). The water is so clean and clear due to the lack of pollution (bahamatravelnet.com). The depth of the water, the coral reef, and the sun are all responsible for keeping the Bahamas clean and looking like paradise.


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