Barbados is an Continental Island in the North Atlantic Ocean; and is located at 13°10' north of the equator, and 59°32' west of the Prime Meridian. As the easternmost isle of the Lesser Antilles in the West Indies, Barbados lies 100 kilometres (62 mi) east of the Windward Islands and Caribbean Sea. The maritime claim for Barbados is a territorial sea of 12 nmi (22.2 km; 13.8 mi), with an exclusive economic zone of 200 nmi (370.4 km; 230.2 mi), this gives Barbados a total maritime area of 70,000 Sq. Km. A pending application to UNCLOS has placed for consideration a continental shelf 200 nmi (370.4 km; 230.2 mi) to the east and south (or to the edge of the continental margin). To the west, however, most of Barbados' maritime consist of a median lines with neighbours. These neighbours include: Martinique, and Saint Lucia to the northwest, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines to the west, Trinidad and Tobago and Venezuela to the southwest, and Guyana to the southeast.
Barbados' total land area is 430 km2 (166.0 sq mi), and it has a coastline of 97 km (60 mi) length. Sometimes compared to a pear or leg of mutton for its physical shape. Along the north-south axis Barbados has a maximum length of 34 kilometres (21 mi), and east-west maximum breadth of 23 kilometres (14 mi).
The physical characteristics of Barbados are its lowlands or gently sloping, terraced plains, separated by rolling hills that generally parallel the coasts. Elevations in the interior range from 180 to 240 meters above sea level. Mount Hillaby is the highest point at 340 meters above sea level. Farther south, at Christ Church Ridge, elevations range from sixty to ninety meters. Eighty-five percent of the island's surface consists of coralline limestone twenty-four to thirty meters thick; Scotland District contains outcroppings of oceanic formations at the surface, however. Sugarcane is planted on almost 80 percent of the island's limestone surface. The soils vary in fertility; erosion is a problem, with crop loss resulting from landslides, washouts, and falling rocks. Most of the small streams are in Scotland District. The rest of the island has few surface streams; nevertheless, rainwater saturates the soil to produce underground channels such as the famous Coles Cave.
In 2009 and 2010, members of the upscale real estate industry in Barbados propose the creation of artificial islands to be placed off the west coast. According to Paul Altman of Altman Realty the envisioned plan, would consist of two islands, one measuring 250 acres (1.0 km2) in size, and would house new tourism based developments and upscale boutique shops; while the second island would be 50 acres (200,000 m2) in size, and would serve as an open national park. Both proposed islands would be a short distance from the Deep Water Harbour in Bridgetown.
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