Morocco

Geography

Morocco, and the annexed Western Sahara (Morocco's "Southern Provinces", i.e. the former Spanish colony of Spanish Sahara, which is listed by the United Nations as a non-decolonized territory hence included in the United Nations List of Non-Self-Governing Territories) to the southwest, is a Northern African country bordering both the North Atlantic Ocean (to the west) and the Mediterranean Sea (to the north). The Maps and Links page for Morocco herein show maps for both Morocco's Southern Provinces and the "rest" of Morocco. Morocco's main borders are with Algeria to the southeast and Mauritania to the south and it has a strategic location along the Strait of Gibraltar. (The North African side of the Strait of Gibraltar on the Mediterranean is occupied by the autonomous Spanish city states of Ceuta and Melilla).

Morocco has a total area of446,550 km² and the Western Sahara an additional 266,000 km². Morocco is a mountainous country with an average elevation of 800m above sea level and large areas of plateaus, intermontane valleys, and fertile coastal plains. The Rif Mountains run along the northern coast; the Atlas Mountains rise in the country's centre and include Mount Toubkal (4,165m), Morocco's highest peak. The southeast flanks of the Atlas and Anti-Atlas ranges are drylands that merge with the Sahara desert, lowest point is Sebkha Tah at -55m. The largely Moroccan-controlled Western Sahara consists of arid flatlands, the Atlantic coastal desert, which is one of the most sparsely populated territories in the world.

Geology

The geology of Morocco can be subdivided into four structural domains. These are from south to north The Anti-Atlas Domain, the Meseta Domain, the Atlas belt Domain and the Rif Domain. Whereas the Rif Domain (or Mediterranean Morocco) is part of the vast Alpine System of Europe and North Africa, the other domains (African Morocco) are essentially of West African affinities. The various assemblages range in age from Palaeoproterozoic to Cenozoic-Recent however the older units are only found as inliers within the Anti-Atlas Domain comprising augen-gneisses and other metamorphics succeeded by quartzites, meta-sandstones and marbles. Apart from these structural units, depositional basins filled with Mesozoic and Cenozoic tabular sediments are recognisable along the Atlantic coast.