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Grenada - Geography

Grenada is a tri-island country comprising the island of Grenada and its dependencies, Carriacou and Petit Martinique, as well as several small, largely uninhabited islands. They are the southernmost of the Caribbeans Windward Islands, located some 160 km north of Venezuela and 145 km southwest of Barbados. Neighboring islands St. Vincent and the Grenadines lie to the north and Trinidad and Tobago lie to the South.

Grenada, the largest island, extends for 344 km2; its volcanic origins have given it a mountainous landscape and lush vegetation. St. Georges, the capital city, is located on the southwest of the island of Grenada. Grenada has an international airport and Carriacou, a small airport; Petit Martinique and the smaller islands are accessible by sea.

Grenada, known as the Spice Isle because of its production of nutmeg and mace, is the largest at 310 square kilometers, or about the size of Detroit. The island is oval in shape and framed by a jagged southern coastline; its maximum width is thirty-four kilometers, and its maximum length is nineteen kilometers. St. George's, the capital and the nation's most important harbor, is favorably situated near a lagoon on the southwestern coast. Of all the islands belonging to Grenada, only two are of consequence: Carriacou, with a population of a few thousand, and its neighbor Petit Martinique, roughly 40 kilometers northeast of Grenada and populated by some 700 inhabitants.

Part of the volcanic chain in the Lesser Antilles arc, Grenada and its possessions generally vary in elevation from under 300 meters to over 600 meters above sea level. Grenada is more rugged and densely foliated than its outlying possessions, but other geographical conditions are more similar. Grenada's landmass rises from a narrow, coastal plain in a generally north-south trending axis of ridges and narrow valleys. Mount St. Catherine is the highest peak at 840 meters.

Carriacou and Petite Martinique boast the most beautiful coral reefs. Carriacou the larger of the two is known as the Land of Reefs, with shallow clear waters: ideal for snorkelling. Anse La Roche Beach is the most scenic beach on the island of Carriacou with coral reefs just offshore. Secluded and accessible from land by a half mile hike, the beach is private and unspoilt at the foot of famous High North Range.

Once ranked 3rd among the 10 most Tropical Beaches by the Sunday Times, the La Sagesse Beach on Grenada is like an escape from reality. With less than a 5 minute walk from the main road, the quiet, secluded environment is ideal for vacationers. The grey and white sands along this lengthy south eastern shoreline cover smooth coves and encounter rugged coastal rocks. The La Sagesse Nature Centre, with its tropical gardens and calming presence, enhances the sense of escape experienced at this out-of-the-way beach in the Parish of St. David.

Although many of the rocks and soils are of volcanic origin, the volcanic cones dotting Grenada are long dormant. Some of the drainage features on Grenada remain from its volcanic past. There are a few crater lakes, the largest of which is Grand Etang. The swift upper reaches of rivers, which occasionally overflow and cause flooding and landslides, generally cut deeply into the conic slopes. By contrast, many of the water courses in the lowlands tend to be sluggish and meandering.

The underwater volcano Kickem Jenny, located 5 miles off the coast of Grenada, which showed an increased level of activity in April 2017. The volcano is about 1300m high and 300m wide at its summit, which is thought to be about 180m below the surface of the sea. Kick 'em Jenny is the only 'live' (likely to erupt again) submarine volcano in the Eastern Caribbean. It is also the most frequently active volcano in the region, erupting at least 13 times since it was discovered in 1939. The crater is almost perfectly circular and has a diameter of approximately 350m.

Kick em Jenny erupted on the evening of 29 April 2017, and felt reports suggested that the eruption was felt in northern Grenada. As a result, the alert level has been elevated to yellow and a 5 km exclusion zone has been imposed around the summit of the volcano which mariners are asked to strictly observe. A yellow alert means the volcano is restless; seismicity and/or fumarolic activity are above the historical level or other unusual activity has been observed or can be expected without warning.

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