Encyclopedia > Geography of the U.S. Virgin Islands

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Geography of the U.S. Virgin Islands

Location: Caribbean, islands between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, east of Puerto Rico

Geographic coordinates: 18 20 N, 64 50 W

Map references: Central America and the Caribbean

Area:
total: 352 sq km
land: 349 sq km
water: 3 sq km

Area - comparative: twice the size of Washington, DC

Land boundaries: 0 km

Coastline: 188 km

Maritime claims:
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
territorial sea: 12 nm

Climate: subtropical, tempered by easterly trade winds, relatively low humidity, little seasonal temperature variation; rainy season May to November

Terrain: mostly hilly to rugged and mountainous with little level land

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
highest point: Crown Mountain 474 m

Natural resources: sun, sand, sea, surf

Land use:
arable land: 15%
permanent crops: 6%
permanent pastures: 26%
forests and woodland: 6%
other: 47% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: NA sq km

Natural hazards: several hurricanes in recent years; frequent and severe droughts and floods; occasional earthquakes

Environment - current issues: lack of natural freshwater resources

Geography - note: important location along the Anegada Passage - a key shipping lane for the Panama Canal; Saint Thomas has one of the best natural, deepwater harbors in the Caribbean

See also : U.S. Virgin Islands



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