Geography of Baja California

The California Peninsula is a narrow strip of land separated from the Mexican territory by the Gulf of California or Sea of Cortez, and the Colorado River. Its area covers 143,600 square kilometers which holds two of the Mexican states: Baja California and Baja California South. To the north it borders the state of California, which used to be part of Mexico and was known as Alta California; to the west and south it borders the Pacific Ocean.

It has a length of 1200 km, its width ranges between 45 and 250 km. It is surrounded by 35 islands with an area of 1500 sq. km.

Baja California state is located in the northern part of the peninsula to the north of Baja California South. It covers an area of 24,832 sq. km. ;with coasts to the east and west and 251.9 Km of borderline with the United States.

The mountain chains Sierra de Juarez and Sierra de San Pedro Martir originate in the southern part of the neighbor American state of California. Sierra Cucapah, Las Tinajas, La Peralta, San Felipe, San Miguel and Santa Isabel are other smaller mountain chains in Baja California. Pumas, white tail deer, rattle snakes, red tail hawks and gray foxes are some of the wildlife species that live in the region.

The 3000 km. long coast is one of the driest regions of the peninsula with very low rainfall records. To the east coast, on the Sea of Cortez, the climate is Mediterranean, very dry and warm with rain during the summer. The southwest and south coasts also have very dry conditions but temperatures are cooler, being 17º C the annual average.

There are two geographical systems in the northwest region of Baja California; the first is known as the Californian region ; its on the northwest and it is characterized by its Mediterranean climate with warm, dry climates and cool winters; and for its wetland ecosystems mainly dunes, bushes and conifer forests.

The rest of the peninsula is part of the Sonora Desert. High temperatures, lack or little rainfall and cactus-like vegetation characterize this region. Mountain lion and lamb live among the desert vegetation.

The peninsula is rich in natural mineral resources: tungsten, salt, turquoise, gold veins , and copper beds stand out.
 

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