Geography of Liberia

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Topographic map of Liberia
Location of Liberia in western Africa
Köppen climate classification map of Liberia

Liberia is a Sub-Saharan nation in West Africa located at 6 °N, 9 °W. It borders the north Atlantic Ocean to the southwest (580 kilometres (360 mi) of coastline) and three other African nations on the other three sides, Sierra Leone to the northwest, Guinea to the northeast and Ivory Coast (Cote d'Ivoire) to the east.[1]

In total, Liberia comprises 110,000 square kilometres (43,000 sq mi) of which 96,300 square kilometres (37,190 sq mi) is land and 15,000 square kilometres (5,810 sq mi) is water.

Physical geography[edit]

Liberia extends from between 4.21°N and 8.34°N to 7.27°W and 11.31°W. It is roughly rectangular measuring about 510 km (317 mi) in length from northwest to southeast, with a width of about 275 km (171 mi); the coastline is about 680 km (423 mi), including river mouths ad inlets up to one kilometre wide.[2]

Drainage of the whole country is direct to the sea, with a series of short rivers flowing directly into the sea; these are, from west to east, the Mano River on the border with Sierra Leone, the Mafa River, the Lofa River, the Saint Paul River, the Mesurado River, the Farmington River, the Saint John River, the Timbo River, the Cestos River, the Sehnkwehn River, the Sinoe River, the Dugbe River, the Dubo River, the Grand Cess River and the Cavalla River on the border with Ivory Coast.[1]

In the west, the coast is low and sandy, but in the central and eastern parts of the country it is sandy and rocky and of moderate relief, frequently broken by the mouths of the rivers; the coastal plain varies in width, being narrow between Monrovia and Buchanan, but being much wider in the west and in the Cestos Valley in the centre, narrowing again in the eastern end of the country.[1]

Further inland the land rises, sometimes with escarpments, to a plateau some 300 to 400 m (1,000 to 1,300 ft) above sea level; this is divided by the river valleys and there are hilly ridges between some of the river valleys. The land rises further in the north and northwest of the country, with mountains that exceed 1,000 m (3,300 ft) in several places, the highest point in the country being in the Wologizi Range at 1,194 m (3,917 ft).[2]

Borders and maritime claims[edit]

The total length of Liberia's land borders is 1,587 kilometres (986 mi): 310 kilometres (190 mi) with Sierra Leone on the northwest, 560 kilometres (350 mi) with Guinea to the north, and 716 kilometres (445 mi) with Ivory Coast. Liberia currently claims a territorial sea of 200 nmi (370 km; 230 mi).


Liberia has a mostly hilly terrain, from rolling plains along the coast to a rolling plateau and low mountains in the northeast.

Elevation extremes[edit]

The lowest point on Liberia is at sea level on the Atlantic Ocean; the highest point on Liberia is 1,380 m above sea level at Mount Wuteve.

Natural resources[edit]

Natural resources that are found in Liberia include iron ore, timber, diamonds, gold and hydropower.

Land use and agriculture[edit]

arable land: 4.04%
permanent crops: 1.62%
other: 94.34% (2011)

Irrigated land[edit]

21 square kilometres of Liberia's land was irrigated as of 2003.

Natural hazards[edit]

The natural hazard that occurs in Liberia is a dust-laden harmattan wind that blows from the Sahara (December to March).

Environmental issues[edit]

A Liberian tropical forest.

Environmental issues in Liberia include the deforestation of tropical rainforest, the hunting of endangered species for bushmeat, the pollution of rivers and coastal waters from industrial run-off and raw sewage, and the burning and dumping of household waste.

Environment - international agreements[edit]

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Environmental Modification, Marine Life Conservation

Extreme points[edit]

This is a list of the extreme points of Liberia, the points that are farther north, south, east or west than any other location.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Philip's (1994). Atlas of the World. Reed International. p. 100. ISBN 0-540-05831-9.
  2. ^ a b Hughes, R.H. (1992). A Directory of African Wetlands. IUCN. pp. 385–386. ISBN 978-2-88032-949-5.

External links[edit]

 This article incorporates public domain material from the CIA World Factbook website