Geography of Sri Lanka

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Sri Lanka, also sometimes called Ceylon, is an island nation in the Indian Ocean, located in Southern Asia, southeast of India, in a strategic location near major Indian Ocean sea lanes. It has a total area of 65,610 km², with 64,740 km² of land and 870 km² of water. Its coastline is 1,340 km long. Sri Lanka's climate includes tropical monsoons: the northeast monsoon (December to March), and the southwest monsoon (June to October). Its terrain is mostly low, flat to rolling plain, with mountains in the south-central interior. The highest point is Pidurutalagala at 2,524.13 m. Natural resources include limestone, graphite, mineral sands, gems, phosphates, clay, hydropower.

Rama's Bridge, a land connection to the Indian mainland that according to Hindu mythology was constructed during the rule of Rama, is now mostly submerged with only a chain of limestone shoals remaining above sea level. According to temple records this natural causeway was formerly complete, but was breached by a violent storm (probably a cyclone) in 1480.

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Geology

More than 85% of Sri Lanka's surface lies on Precambrian strata, some of it dating back 2 billion years. The granulite facies rocks of the Highland Series (gneisses, sillimanite-graphite gneisses, quartzite, marbles, and some charnokites) make up most of the island and the amphibolite facies gneisses, granites, and granitic gneisses of the Vinjayan Series occur in the eastern and southeastern lowlands. Jurassic sediments are present in very small areas near the western coast and Miocene limestones underlie the northwestern part of the country and extend south in a relatively narrow belt along the west coast.The metamorphic rock surface was created by the transformation of ancient sediments under intense heat and pressure during mountain-building processes. The theory of plate tectonics suggests that these rocks and related rocks forming most of south India were part of a single southern landmass called Gondwanaland. Beginning about 200 million years ago, forces within the Earth's mantle began to separate the lands of the Southern Hemisphere, and a crustal plate supporting both India and Sri Lanka moved toward the northeast. About 45 million years ago, the Indian plate collided with the Asian landmass, raising the Himalayas in northern India, and continuing to advance slowly to the present time. Sri Lanka experiences few earthquakes or major volcanic events because it rides on the center of the plate.

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