Geography of Iraq

Located between 38o45′ and 48o45′ east longitude, 29o05′ and 37o22′ north latitude. In the southeast, for 58 km, it is washed by the Persian Gulf. The Abdullah Strait separates the southern coast from the islands of Warba and Bubiyan (Kuwait). It borders: in the north – with Turkey, in the east – with Iran, in the southwest and south – with Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, in the northwest and west – with Syria and Jordan.

By the nature of the relief, Iraq can be divided into four parts: mountainous (Iraqi Kurdistan) – in the north and northeast; the elevated plateau of El Jazeera (Upper Mesopotamia) – in the west; Mesopotamian lowland (Lower Mesopotamia, or Arabian Iraq) – in the center and in the south; the outskirts of the Syrian-Arabian plateau (desert region) – in the southwest.

The highest mountains (height over 3000 m) are located on the border with Turkey and Iran and in the interfluve of the Big and Small Zab. El Jazeera is an elevated plain, the average height is from 200 to 450 m above sea level. In the north, it is crossed by the Jebel Sinjar mountains (the highest point – 1463 m), running from the southwest to the northeast, and in the south – the Jebel Hamrin mountains (the highest point – 520 m). To the north of Baghdad, El Jazeera drops to the south and passes into a vast plain – the Mesopotamian lowland, its average height is 100 m. The desert plateau, including El Jazeera, is approx. 60% of the territory of Iraq, the mountainous region and the alluvial lowland (Arabic Iraq) – 20% each.

Iraq ranks second in the world after Saudi Arabia in terms of proven oil reserves (112 billion barrels, or 15.3 billion tons), which is approx. 10.7% of proven world reserves. The production cost is very low – on average, approx. 1-1.5 US dollars per 1 bbl.

Proven reserves of natural gas reach 3188 billion m3 (10th in the world). 3/4 of them are concentrated in the gas caps of oil fields (associated gas). In Iraq, there are some of the world’s largest deposits of native sulfur in the Mishrak region near the city of Mosul and phosphorus-containing ores (estimated at 10 billion tons), the largest in the Rutba region (Akashat, 3.5 billion tons) and in the Marbat region of approx. Baghdad. The bowels of Iraq also contain reserves of iron ore, chromium, copper, manganese, uranium, asbestos, gypsum, marble and other minerals. Exploration for minerals has been carried out only on 50% of the country’s territory.

The most common soils are alluvial-meadow soils (along most of the Tigris River, along the entire course of the Euphrates and Shatt al-Arab rivers), gray soils (western and southwestern parts of the country, part of Upper Mesopotamia), chestnut soils (in the north, in the region of.Mosul) and mountain chestnut (in the mountains of Kurdistan).

According to bridgat, most of Iraq is located in the subtropical Mediterranean continental climate zone with hot, dry summers and warm, rainy winters. In the north there is a hot summer, but the average July temperature is not higher than + 35 ° C and a mild rainy autumn, precipitation from 400 to 1000 mm / year. In Upper Mesopotamia, dry hot summers (absolute maximum July + 50 ° C), mild rainy winters, rainfall – 300 mm / year. Lower Mesopotamia is located in the tropical zone, which occupies 70% of the territory of Iraq, the rainfall is from 50 to 200 mm / year. In the west and southwest of Iraq, the climate is desert, with precipitation reaching 100-120 mm/year. In July-August, southerly winds (Arabian simum) prevail, in winter – northeast winds with hot fine sand, they reach special strength in February.

The largest rivers in the Middle East – the Tigris and Euphrates (in Arabic Ed-Dijla and El-Furat) – are the main sources of surface water in Iraq. Approx. 80% of the total length of the Tigris (about 1400 km) and 44% of the Euphrates (about 1150 km). The Shatt al-Arab River is formed as a result of the confluence of the lower reaches of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, its length is 187 km.

Most of the lakes are located in the south of the country. The most important of them are: Khor el-Hammar (an area of 2500 km2), Khor el-Khoveiza (on the territory of Iraq approx. 1200 km2), Khor-Saniya, Khor-es-Saadiya. In the center of Iraq there is one of the largest artificial reservoirs in the world – Lake Tartar (Wadi-Tartar) (area 2710 km2, capacity – 85.4 km3); Lake Er-Razzaza (on maps in the USSR it is designated as Lake El-Milkh, capacity – 25.5 km3), Lake Habbaniya (capacity – 3.25 km3), in the north – Dukan reservoir (capacity – 6.8 km3) and Derbendi -Khan (capacity – 3.25 km3).

The main types of vegetation are semi-desert (west, south-west and south of the country), steppe (north and north-east of Iraq), swamp (south of Lower Mesopotamia), shrub (in the floodplain zone of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers) and woody (on northern and northeastern Iraq). The total area of forests is 1,776,000 ha, including 20,000 ha of gallery forests along river banks (mainly poplar). Among the cultivated plants, the main thing is the date palm, its plantations occupy the south of Iraq, the number of productive date palms in 1994 reached 12.6 million.

Of the ungulates in the steppes and semi-deserts to the west of the Tigris, there are a gazelle, a wild donkey. In the south, in the reeds – a wild boar, in the northern mountains – a stone sheep, a mountain goat, a mountain bear. From predatory there are leopard, hyena, wolves, jackals. Rodents and reptiles are widespread, of which monitor lizards and the cobra snake are the most numerous. There are many waterfowl in the south – swans, geese, wild ducks, flamingos, pelicans. Among the numerous insects, there are many harmful ones – phalanxes, scorpions, mosquitoes (malarial), locusts. In the interfluve there are flat trematode worms that parasitize in blood vessels and cause schistosomiasis (bilharziasis) with damage to the genitourinary system and digestive tract of a person, as well as roundworms-hookworms that parasitize in the small intestines of humans and a number of mammals and causing ankylostomiasis. The rivers of Iraq and the Persian Gulf are rich in fish. Of domestic animals – horses (Arab horses predominate), cattle – buffaloes (the main draft animal), cows, sheep, goats, donkeys. In southern Iraq, one-humped Arab camels (dromedaries) are bred.

Geography of Iraq