Jiddat al-Harasis and Kuria Muria Islands

Map of the Month: Jiddat al Harasis; Kuria Muria Islands
Map boundaries: 10 to 20 degrees North; 56 to 64 degrees East
Country: Oman (Al Wusta and Dhofar regions)

The majority of this map area encompasses the tropical waters of the Arabian Sea. In the south part of the map is the triple junction of the Arabian, Indian, and Somali Plates. However, the small area of land includes the Jiddat al Harasis, a flat limestone plateau with karst features, and the Kuria Muria Islands, offshore islands noted for seabird nesting. Between Jiddat al-Harasis and the ocean is the 100-meter Al-Huqf escarpment and the 300-m in height Janabah Hills (UNEP, 2008). The coastal fog deserts are the notable ecological feature. Formed by cool offshore waters, dense seasonal fogs and dews support a unique desert ecosystem with endemic flora. The fog reaches far inland and supports an open acacia woodland. Further inland are the deserts of the Arabian Peninsula. Continue reading

Rodrigues Triple Point

Following the Turks and Caicos, the next map in this tour of subtropical areas would be between 20 and 30 degrees South and 63 and 72 degrees East. There is no land or shallow marine area within these coordinates. The sea floor at this location is where the Somali Plate, Capricorn Plate, and Antarctic Plate join. The plate boundary between the Capricorn and Somali plates is the Mid-Indian Ridge, while the boundary between the Somali and Antarctic is the Southwest Indian Ridge.
Next series: 10 to 20 degrees; 60 degrees. This includes portions of Oman, Mauritius, Bolivia, and the eastern Caribbean.

Caicos Turks and Silver Bank

Map of the Month: Caicos, Turks, and Silver Bank
Map boundaries: 20 to 30 degrees North; 63 to 72 degrees West
Countries: Dominican Republic and United Kingdom (Overseas Territory)

The Caicos Bank, which is lined by numerous islands, the Turks Islands, and the three submerged banks located to the southeast (Mourchoir, Silver, and Navidad) are the southeasternmost extension of the Bahama Island chain. Like the rest of the Bahamas, each larger island has a mixture of three vegetation types: pine forests, tropical hardwoods, and mangroves. Smaller islands are viewed as valuable waterfowl refuges, and the large, shallow “banks” are viewed as important coral reef areas. Tourist development has focused on beaches, but there is a flamingo pond on North Caicos, a series of limestone caves and cliffs on Middle Caicos, and expansive salt flats on Turks and Salt Cay. The Dominican Republic has declared Silver and Navidad banks as a sanctuary for marine mammals. Continue reading