Physical geography of Crete Island

Physical geography of Crete Island
Crete is the largest island in Greece and the second largest in the eastern Mediterranean Sea (after Cyprus). It is located in the southern part of the Aegean Sea separating the Aegean from the Libyan Sea.
Island morphology

The island has an elongated shape: it spans 260 km (160 mi) from east to west, is 60 km (37 mi) at its widest point, and narrows to as little as 12 km (7.5 mi) (close to Ierapetra). Crete covers an area of 8,336 km2 (3,219 sq mi), with a coastline of 1,046 km (650 mi); to the north, it broaches the Sea of Crete (Greek: ΚρητικÏŒ Πέλαγος); to the south, the Libyan Sea (Greek: ΛιβυκÏŒ Πέλαγος); in the west, the Myrtoan Sea, and toward the east the Karpathian Sea. It lies approximately 160 km (99 mi) south of the Greek mainland.

Mountains and valleys

Crete is extremely mountainous, and its character is defined by a high mountain range crossing from west to east, formed by three different groups of mountains:

    * The White Mountains or Lefka Ori 2,452 m (8,045 ft)
    * The Idi Range (Psiloritis 35°11′N 24°49′E / 35.18°N 24.82°E / 35.18; 24.82 2,456 m (8,058 ft)
    * The Dikti Mountains 2,148 m (7,047 ft)
    * Kedros 1,777 m (5,830 ft)
    * Thripti 1,489 m (4,885 ft)

These mountains lavished Crete with valleys, such as Amari valley, fertile plateaus, such as Lasithi plateau, Omalos and Nidha; caves, such as Diktaion and Idaion (the birthplace of the ancient Greek god Zeus); and a number of gorges.

Gorges, rivers, and lakes


The island has a number of gorges such as the famous gorge of Samaria, Imbros gorge, Kourtaliotiko gorge, Ha gorge, Platania gorge, the Gorge of the Dead (at Kato Zakros, Sitia) and Richtis Gorge and waterfall at Exo Mouliana in Sitia.

The rivers of Crete include the Ieropotamos River, the Koiliaris, the Anapodiaris, the Almiros, and Megas Potamos. There are only two freshwater lakes: Lake Kournas and Lake Agia, which are both in Chania prefecture. Lake Voulismeni at the coast, at Aghios Nikolaos, was formerly a sweetwater lake but is now connected to the sea, in Lasithi.
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