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Terrain

The coastal region is a belt of gently rolling low plains extending from a rather straight, sandy shoreline 10 to 30 miles inland. Its deepest extensions lie along the watercourses. The shore is broken by river estuaries, tidal creeks, swamps, and a few rocky capes and promontories that appear as landmarks from the sea. Except for those promontories and capes and an occasional small hill, the altitude of the coastal region rises no higher than 30 to 60 feet. The mouths of the rivers are so obstructed by shifting sandbars and submerged rocks that there are no natural harbors. The surf is normally heavy all along the coast but is worse at the height of the rainy season (see Climate, this ch.).

Behind the coastal plain a belt of low rolling hills rises to an average of 150 to 300 feet. At the northern edge of this belt, a steep rise indicates the southern edge of a range of low mountains and plateaus that constitutes nearly half the country's interior. The average altitude of this belt lies at 650 to 1,000 feet. Several ranges and mountain complexes, however, rise to more than 2, 000 feet.

The long ridges and dome?shaped hills that constitute the northern highlands are part of the Guinea Highlands and occupy those sections of Lofa and Nimba counties that thrust much farther north than the rest of Liberia's boundary with Guinea and Ivory Coast. These mountains, mainly the Wologizi Range in Lofa County and the Nimba Range north of the town of San niquellie, rise to altitudes above 4,000 feet. Mount Wutivi, the highest peak in the Wologizi Range, reaches about 4,450 feet, and the Nimba Range's Guest House Hill is, at 4, 540 feet, the highest point in Liberia.

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