Geography

The geographic location of Puerto Rico sits in between the Dominican Republic and Virgin Islands, and its capital city is San Juan, located in the north-east coast of the island. Puerto Rico is the third largest island in the United States, its total area adds up to 9104 km², with most of it being unused land, and possessing a tropical climate, 63.2% of the land use is forests, 22% agricultural land, and rest for development and settlements. Towards the north, there are coastal plains, and the central mountain range situated in the middle of the island, ranging from east to west coasts. Puerto Rico is susceptible to many environmental hazards, the most recent being Hurricane Maria, a devastating hurricane that occurred in September, 2017. But Puerto Rico is also open to hazards such as soil erosion, drought and earthquakes. The main regions of the island divide into three parts, the main region that spans across the island is the mountainous interior region. The main mountain range that spans from west to east is called the Cordillera Central, these
mountains essentially divide the island in two halves, with the highest point of the range being Cerro La Puntita, a mountain with peak altitude at 4,389 feet. The main characteristic of these mountains are that the northern mountains have a steeper slope than the southern slopes, which makes it harder to inhabit. The second region is the coastal lowlands, these are the plains and flat lands that breach the gap between the beaches and the mountains. Most of these coastal plains are flat and fertile, hence most people settle these areas, and setup farms for agriculture. One characteristic that differs Puerto Rican coastal plains is that the flatlands don’t gradually decline offshore, instead it truncates, which usually leaves a cliff overhanging before the land reaches the beach and shore. The third and last region is the karst areas, these are limestone areas created through raise in seabed and rain erosion over time. The erosion create caves, sinkholes, ridges, and Magotes (Hills that are karst areas with forests).

Hillside topography, Puerto Rico