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Geography of the Yucatan Peninsula

Learn Ten Facts about the Yucatan Peninsula

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Source: CIA World Factbook, 2007

The Yucatan Peninsula is an area in southeastern Mexico that separates the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico. The peninsula itself is home to the Mexican nations of Yucatan, Campeche and Quintana Roo. It also covers the northern parts of Belize and Guatemala. The Yucatan is known for its tropical rainforests and jungles, as well as its being the home of the ancient Maya people. Because it is located in the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, the Yucatan Peninsula is prone to hurricanes which usually hit during the Atlantic hurricane season from June through November.

The following is a list of ten geographic facts about the Yucatan Peninsula intended to familiarize readers with this popular world location.

1) The Yucatan Peninsula itself belongs to the Yucatan Platform- a large chunk of land that is partially submerged. The Yucatan Peninsula is the portion that is above the water.

2) It is believed that the mass extinction of the dinosaurs was caused by an asteroid impact in the Caribbean. Scientists have discovered the large Chicxulub Crater just off the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula and that, along with impact shocks shown on the Yucatan's rocks, is likely to be evidence showing where the asteroid hit.

3) The Yucatan Peninsula is a significant area for ancient Mayan culture as there are many different Mayan archaeological sites in the region. The most famous of these include Chichen Itza and Uxmal.

4) Today's Yucatan Peninsula is still home to native Maya people as well as people of Mayan descent. Mayan languages are also still spoken in the area today.

5) The Yucatan Peninsula is a karst landscape dominated by limestone bedrock. As a result, there is very little surface water (and the water that is present is not usually suitable drinking water) because drainage in these types of landscapes is underground. The Yucatan is thus covered with caves and sinkholes called Cenotes that were used by the Maya to access the groundwater.

6) The climate of the Yucatan Peninsula is tropical and consists of wet and dry seasons. Winters are mild and summers can be very hot.

7) The Yucatan Peninsula is located within the Atlantic Hurricane Belt which means it is vulnerable to hurricanes from June through November. The number of hurricanes that hit the peninsula vary but they are always a threat. In 2005, two category five hurricanes, Emily and Wilma, hit the peninsula and caused extreme damage.

8) Historically, the Yucatan's economy has been dependent on cattle ranching and logging. Since the 1970s though, the area's economy has focused on tourism. The two most popular cities are Cancun and Tulum, both of which attract millions of tourists yearly.

9) The Yucatan Peninsula is home to many tropical rainforests and jungles and the area between Guatemala, Mexico and Belize is the largest continuous area of tropical rainforest in Central America.

10) The name Yucatan also includes the Yucatan state of Mexico that is located on the peninsula. It is a large state with an area of 14,827 square miles (38,402 sq km) and a 2005 population of 1,818,948 people. The capital of Yucatan is Merida.

To learn more about the Yucatan Peninsula, visit "Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula" on Mexico Travel at About.com.

Reference

Wikipedia. (20 June 2010). Yucatan - Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yucat%C3%A1n

Wikipedia (17 June 2010). Yucatan Peninsula - Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yucat%C3%A1n_Peninsula

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