Topography of Iraq

Topography of Iraq Last updated on Tuesday 20th April 2010

Iraq has four distinct geographic regions.

The northeastern, mountainous region is known as al-Jazira, rising to nearly 2135m (7000 feet) near the Turkish border. Iraq's two highest points are ::I, which rises to 3600m (11,811 feet) and Mount ::I(3,728m; 12,230 feet). The land area between the Tigris and the Euphrates is an alluvial plain and is Iraq's most fertile region.

In the southeast, adjacent to the Persian Gulf, is a low-lying swampy area, containing marshes, lakes and reedy waterways.

To the west of the Euphrates is the desert region, where the land gradually rises to join the Syrian Desert. This desert area constitutes about 35% of Iraq's total land area.

Iraq's two main rivers, the Tigris and the Euphrates, flow from northwest to south-east. They converge near Baghdad, then diverge and meet once again about 160km (100 miles) north of the Persian Gulf, to form the Shatt al-Arab River. This river flows through Basra and drains into the Gulf. Richly alluvial soil characterizes the Tigris-Euphrates basin; elsewhere, soils are very light and not especially fertile.

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