ⓘ Geography of the Marquesas Islands


ⓘ Geography of the Marquesas Islands

The Marquesas Islands are the island group farthest from any continent in the world, lying between 400 and 600 miles south of the equator and approximately 1.000 miles northeast of Tahiti. They fall naturally into two geographical divisions: the northern group, consisting of Eïao, Hatutu, Motu One, and the islands centered on the large island of Nuku Hiva: Motu Iti, Ua Pou, Motu Oa and Ua Huka, and the southern group of Fatu Uku, Tahuata, Moho Tani, Terihi, Fatu Hiva and Motu Nao, clustered around the main island of Hiva `Oa.

With a total area of 492 km2 1.274 sq. miles, the Marquesas are among the largest island groups of French Polynesia, Nuku Hiva is the second largest island in the entire territory, after Tahiti. With the exception of motu, all the Islands the Marquesas Islands are of volcanic origin.

In contrast to the common perception of lush tropical vegetation, which goes hand in hand with the cultural, with the name of Polynesia, the Marquesas Islands are extremely dry. Although the Islands are located in the tropics, they are the first major break in the prevailing easterly winds spawned by extremely dry from the point of view of the atmosphere of Humboldt. Annual rainfall is typically around 50 mm 1.270 In, but this is a common misconception due to very high variability. In La niña years, rainfall can decline to less than 500 mm 20 in, while in the years of El niño, when the ocean warms it can reach 2.800 mm 110 V. unlike the rest of French Polynesia, most rain falls in the cooler months, with may to July usually the wettest and November the driest.

Because of their extremely volatile climate, the Islands are subject to extreme drought and flood conditions. Only those that reach the highest elevations, usually above about 2.500 meters above sea level have reliable precipitation. This has led to historical fluctuations in water supply that was the decisive factor in the sustainability of human populations in certain sections of the various Islands in the archipelago. This was especially evident in the low historical population of ua Huka maximum height 2.812 feet. and intermittent existence, Eiao maximum height 1.890 ft.

In the Marquesas Islands are believed to have formed from a center of upwelling magma called the Marquesas point.