Home > Topics > Geography

mostly rugged mountains; plains in north and southwest
mostly mountains and hills; small plains along coast
mostly high plateau and desert; Atlas Mountains in the far north and Hoggar Mountains in the south; narrow, discontinuous coastal plain
American Samoa
five volcanic islands with rugged peaks and limited coastal plains, two coral atolls (Rose Island, Swains Island)
rugged mountains dissected by narrow valleys
narrow coastal plain rises abruptly to vast interior plateau
flat and low-lying island of coral and limestone
about 98% thick continental ice sheet and 2% barren rock, with average elevations between 2,000 and 4,000 m; mountain ranges up to nearly 5,000 m; ice-free coastal areas include parts of southern Victoria Land, Wilkes Land, the Antarctic Peninsula area, and parts of Ross Island on McMurdo Sound; glaciers form ice shelves along about half of the coastline, and floating ice shelves constitute 11% of the area of the continent
Antigua and Barbuda
mostly low-lying limestone and coral islands, with some higher volcanic areas
rich plains of the Pampas in northern half, flat to rolling plateau of Patagonia in south, rugged Andes along western border
Armenian Highland with mountains; little forest land; fast flowing rivers; good soil in Aras River valley
flat with a few hills; scant vegetation
Ashmore and Cartier Islands
low with sand and coral
mostly low plateau with deserts; fertile plain in southeast
mostly mountains (Alps) in the west and south; mostly flat or gently sloping along the eastern and northern margins
large, flat Kur-Araz Ovaligi (Kura-Araks Lowland, much of it below sea level) with Great Caucasus Mountains to the north, Qarabag Yaylasi (Karabakh Upland) to the west; Baku lies on Abseron Yasaqligi (Apsheron Peninsula) that juts into Caspian Sea
Bahamas, The
long, flat coral formations with some low rounded hills
mostly low desert plain rising gently to low central escarpment
mostly flat alluvial plain; hilly in southeast
relatively flat; rises gently to central highland region
generally flat with much marshland
flat coastal plains in northwest, central rolling hills, rugged mountains of Ardennes Forest in southeast
flat, swampy coastal plain; low mountains in south
mostly flat to undulating plain; some hills and low mountains
low hills separated by fertile depressions
mostly mountainous with some fertile valleys and savanna
rugged Andes Mountains with a highland plateau (Altiplano), hills, lowland plains of the Amazon Basin
Bosnia and Herzegovina
mountains and valleys
predominantly flat to gently rolling tableland; Kalahari Desert in southwest
Bouvet Island
volcanic; coast is mostly inaccessible
mostly flat to rolling lowlands in north; some plains, hills, mountains, and narrow coastal belt
British Indian Ocean Territory
flat and low (most areas do not exceed two m in elevation)
British Virgin Islands
coral islands relatively flat; volcanic islands steep, hilly
flat coastal plain rises to mountains in east; hilly lowland in west
mostly mountains with lowlands in north and southeast
Burkina Faso
Mostly flat to dissected, undulating plains; hills in the west and southeast.  Occupies an extensive plateau with savanna that is grassy in the north and gradually gives way to sparse forests in the south. (2019)
central lowlands ringed by steep, rugged highlands
hilly and mountainous, dropping to a plateau in east, some plains
mostly low, flat plains; mountains in southwest and north
diverse, with coastal plain in southwest, dissected plateau in center, mountains in west, plains in north
mostly plains with mountains in west, lowlands in southeast
Cape Verde
steep, rugged, rocky, volcanic
Cayman Islands
low-lying limestone base surrounded by coral reefs
Central African Republic
vast, flat to rolling plateau; scattered hills in northeast and southwest
broad, arid plains in center, desert in north, mountains in northwest, lowlands in south
low coastal mountains, fertile central valley, rugged Andes in east
mostly mountains, high plateaus, deserts in west; plains, deltas, and hills in east
Christmas Island
steep cliffs along coast rise abruptly to central plateau
Clipperton Island
coral atoll
Cocos (Keeling) Islands
flat, low-lying coral atolls
flat coastal lowlands, central highlands, high Andes Mountains, eastern lowland plains (Llanos)
volcanic islands, interiors vary from steep mountains to low hills
Congo, Democratic Republic of the
vast central basin is a low-lying plateau; mountains in east
Congo, Republic of the
coastal plain, southern basin, central plateau, northern basin
Cook Islands
low coral atolls in north; volcanic, hilly islands in south
Coral Sea Islands
sand and coral reefs and islands (cays)
Costa Rica
coastal plains separated by rugged mountains including over 100 volcanic cones, of which several are major active volcanoes
geographically diverse; flat plains along Hungarian border, low mountains and highlands near Adriatic coastline and islands
mostly flat to rolling plains, with rugged hills and mountains in the southeast
central plain with mountains to north and south; scattered but significant plains along southern coast
Czech Republic
Bohemia in the west consists of rolling plains, hills, and plateaus surrounded by low mountains; Moravia in the east consists of very hilly country
low and flat to gently rolling plains
coastal plain and plateau separated by central mountains
rugged mountains of volcanic origin
Dominican Republic
rugged highlands and mountains interspersed with fertile valleys
East Timor
coastal plain (costa), inter-Andean central highlands (sierra), and flat to rolling eastern jungle (oriente)
vast desert plateau interrupted by Nile valley and delta
El Salvador
mostly mountains with narrow coastal belt and central plateau
Equatorial Guinea
coastal plains rise to interior hills; islands are volcanic
dominated by extension of Ethiopian north-south trending highlands, descending on the east to a coastal desert plain, on the northwest to hilly terrain and on the southwest to flat-to-rolling plains
marshy, lowlands; flat in the north, hilly in the south
high plateau with central mountain range divided by Great Rift Valley
Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)
rocky, hilly, mountainous with some boggy, undulating plains
Faroe Islands
rugged, rocky, some low peaks; cliffs along most of coast
mostly mountains of volcanic origin
mostly low, flat to rolling plains interspersed with lakes and low hills

metropolitan France: mostly flat plains or gently rolling hills in north and west; remainder is mountainous, especially Pyrenees in south, Alps in east;

French Guiana: low-lying coastal plains rising to hills and small mountains;

Guadeloupe: Basse-Terre is volcanic in origin with interior mountains; Grande-Terre is low limestone formation; most of the seven other islands are volcanic in origin;

Martinique: mountainous with indented coastline; dormant volcano;

Mayotte: generally undulating, with deep ravines and ancient volcanic peaks;

Reunion: mostly rugged and mountainous; fertile lowlands along coast

French Polynesia
mixture of rugged high islands and low islands with reefs
French Southern and Antarctic Lands

Ile Amsterdam (Ile Amsterdam et Ile Saint-Paul): a volcanic island with steep coastal cliffs; the center floor of the volcano is a large plateau;

Ile Saint-Paul (Ile Amsterdam et Ile Saint-Paul): triangular in shape, the island is the top of a volcano, rocky with steep cliffs on the eastern side; has active thermal springs;

Iles Crozet: a large archipelago formed from the Crozet Plateau is divided into two groups of islands;

Iles Kerguelen: the interior of the large island of Ile Kerguelen is composed of high mountains, hills, valleys, and plains with peninsulas stretching off its coasts;

Bassas da India (Iles Eparses): atoll, awash at high tide; shallow (15 m) lagoon;

Europa Island, Glorioso Islands, Juan de Nova Island: low, flat, and sandy;

Tromelin Island (Iles Eparses): low, flat, sandy; likely volcanic seamount

narrow coastal plain; hilly interior; savanna in east and south
Gambia, The
flood plain of the Gambia River flanked by some low hills
Gaza Strip
flat to rolling, sand- and dune-covered coastal plain
largely mountainous with Great Caucasus Mountains in the north and Lesser Caucasus Mountains in the south; Kolkhet'is Dablobi (Kolkhida Lowland) opens to the Black Sea in the west; Mtkvari River Basin in the east; fertile soils in river valley flood plains and foothills of Kolkhida Lowland
lowlands in north, uplands in center, Bavarian Alps in south
mostly low plains with dissected plateau in south-central area
a narrow coastal lowland borders the Rock of Gibraltar
mountainous with ranges extending into the sea as peninsulas or chains of islands
flat to gradually sloping icecap covers all but a narrow, mountainous, barren, rocky coast
volcanic in origin with central mountains
volcanic origin, surrounded by coral reefs; relatively flat coralline limestone plateau (source of most fresh water), with steep coastal cliffs and narrow coastal plains in north, low hills in center, mountains in south
two east-west trending mountain chains divide the country into three regions: the mountainous highlands, the Pacific coast south of mountains, and the vast northern Peten lowlands
mostly flat with low hills in southwest
generally flat coastal plain, hilly to mountainous interior
mostly low-lying coastal plain with a deeply indented estuarine coastline rising to savanna in east; numerous off-shore islands including the Arquipelago Dos Bijagos consisting of 18 main islands and many small islets
mostly rolling highlands; low coastal plain; savanna in south
mostly rough and mountainous
Heard Island and McDonald Islands
Heard Island - 80% ice-covered, bleak and mountainous, dominated by a large massif (Big Ben) and an active volcano (Mawson Peak); McDonald Islands - small and rocky
Holy See (Vatican City)
urban; low hill
mostly mountains in interior, narrow coastal plains
Hong Kong
hilly to mountainous with steep slopes; lowlands in north
mostly flat to rolling plains; hills and low mountains on the Slovakian border
mostly plateau interspersed with mountain peaks, icefields; coast deeply indented by bays and fiords
upland plain (Deccan Plateau) in south, flat to rolling plain along the Ganges, deserts in west, Himalayas in north
mostly coastal lowlands; larger islands have interior mountains
rugged, mountainous rim; high, central basin with deserts, mountains; small, discontinuous plains along both coasts
mostly broad plains; reedy marshes along Iranian border in south with large flooded areas; mountains along borders with Iran and Turkey
mostly flat to rolling interior plain surrounded by rugged hills and low mountains; sea cliffs on west coast
Isle of Man
hills in north and south bisected by central valley
Negev desert in the south; low coastal plain; central mountains; Jordan Rift Valley
mostly rugged and mountainous; some plains, coastal lowlands
mostly mountains, with narrow, discontinuous coastal plain
Jan Mayen
volcanic island, partly covered by glaciers
mostly rugged and mountainous
gently rolling plain with low, rugged hills along north coast
mostly arid desert plateau; a great north-south geological rift along the west of the country is the dominant topographical feature and includes the Jordan River Valley, the Dead Sea, and the Jordanian Highlands
vast flat steppe extending from the Volga in the west to the Altai Mountains in the east and from the plains of western Siberia in the north to oases and deserts of Central Asia in the south
low plains rise to central highlands bisected by Great Rift Valley; fertile plateau in west
mostly low-lying coral atolls surrounded by extensive reefs
Korea, North
mostly hills and mountains separated by deep, narrow valleys; wide coastal plains in west, discontinuous in east
Korea, South
mostly hills and mountains; wide coastal plains in west and south
flat fluvial basin at an elevation of 400-700 m above sea level surrounded by several high mountain ranges with elevations of 2,000 to 2,500 m
flat to slightly undulating desert plain
peaks of the Tien Shan mountain range and associated valleys and basins encompass the entire country
mostly rugged mountains; some plains and plateaus
low plain
narrow coastal plain; El Beqaa (Bekaa Valley) separates Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon Mountains
mostly highland with plateaus, hills, and mountains
mostly flat to rolling coastal plains rising to rolling plateau and low mountains in northeast
mostly barren, flat to undulating plains, plateaus, depressions
mostly mountainous (Alps) with Rhine Valley in western third
lowland, many scattered small lakes, fertile soil
mostly gently rolling uplands with broad, shallow valleys; uplands to slightly mountainous in the north; steep slope down to Moselle flood plain in the southeast
generally flat
mountainous with deep basins and valleys; three large lakes, each divided by a frontier line; country bisected by the Vardar River
narrow coastal plain, high plateau and mountains in center
narrow elongated plateau with rolling plains, rounded hills, some mountains
coastal plains rising to hills and mountains
flat, with white sandy beaches
mostly flat to rolling northern plains covered by sand; savanna in south, rugged hills in northeast
mostly low, rocky, flat to dissected plains; many coastal cliffs
Marshall Islands
low coral limestone and sand islands
mostly barren, flat plains of the Sahara; some central hills
small coastal plain rising to discontinuous mountains encircling central plateau
high, rugged mountains; low coastal plains; high plateaus; desert
Micronesia, Federated States of
islands vary geologically from high mountainous islands to low, coral atolls; volcanic outcroppings on Pohnpei, Kosrae, and Chuuk
rolling steppe, gradual slope south to Black Sea
hilly, rugged, rocky
vast semidesert and desert plains, grassy steppe, mountains in west and southwest; Gobi Desert in south-central
highly indented coastline with narrow coastal plain backed by rugged high limestone mountains and plateaus
volcanic island, mostly mountainous, with small coastal lowland
mountainous northern coast (Rif Mountains) and interior (Atlas Mountains) bordered by large plateaus with intermontane valleys, and fertile coastal plains
mostly coastal lowlands, uplands in center, high plateaus in northwest, mountains in west
mostly high plateau; Namib Desert along coast; Kalahari Desert in east
sandy beach rises to fertile ring around raised coral reefs with phosphate plateau in center
Navassa Island
raised flat to undulating coral and limestone plateau; ringed by vertical white cliffs (9 to 15 m high)
Tarai or flat river plain of the Ganges in south; central hill region with rugged Himalayas in north
mostly coastal lowland and reclaimed land (polders); some hills in southeast
New Caledonia
coastal plains with interior mountains
New Zealand
predominately mountainous with large coastal plains
extensive Atlantic coastal plains rising to central interior mountains; narrow Pacific coastal plain interrupted by volcanoes
predominately desert plains and sand dunes; flat to rolling plains in south; hills in north
southern lowlands merge into central hills and plateaus; mountains in southeast, plains in north
steep limestone cliffs along coast, central plateau
Norfolk Island
volcanic island with mostly rolling plains
Northern Mariana Islands
the southern islands in this north-south trending archipelago are limestone, with fringing coral reefs; the northern islands are volcanic, with active volcanoes on several islands
glaciated; mostly high plateaus and rugged mountains broken by fertile valleys; small, scattered plains; coastline deeply indented by fjords; arctic tundra in north
central desert plain, rugged mountains in north and south
divided into three major geographic areas: the northern highlands, the Indus River plain in the center and east, and the Balochistan Plateau in the south and west
varying topography from the high, mountainous main island of Babelthuap to low, coral islands usually fringed by large barrier reefs
interior mostly steep, rugged mountains with dissected, upland plains; coastal plains with rolling hills
Papua New Guinea
mostly mountains with coastal lowlands and rolling foothills
Paracel Islands
mostly low and flat
grassy plains and wooded hills east of Rio Paraguay; Gran Chaco region west of Rio Paraguay mostly low, marshy plain near the river, and dry forest and thorny scrub elsewhere
western coastal plain (costa), high and rugged Andes in center (sierra), eastern lowland jungle of Amazon Basin (selva)
mostly mountains with narrow to extensive coastal lowlands
Pitcairn Islands
rugged volcanic formation; rocky coastline with cliffs
mostly flat plain; mountains along southern border
the west-flowing Tagus River divides the country: the north is mountainous toward the interior, while the south is characterized by rolling plains
Puerto Rico
mostly mountains with coastal plain in north; precipitous mountains to the sea on west coast; sandy beaches along most coastal areas
mostly flat and barren desert
central Transylvanian Basin is separated from the Moldavian Plateau on the east by the Eastern Carpathian Mountains and separated from the Walachian Plain on the south by the Transylvanian Alps
broad plain with low hills west of Urals; vast coniferous forest and tundra in Siberia; uplands and mountains along southern border regions
mostly grassy uplands and hills; relief is mountainous with altitude declining from west to east
Saint Barthelemy
hilly, almost completely surrounded by shallow-water reefs, with plentiful beaches
Saint Helena

the islands of this group are of volcanic origin associated with the Atlantic Mid-Ocean Ridge

Saint Helena: rugged, volcanic; small scattered plateaus and plains;

Ascension: surface covered by lava flows and cinder cones of 44 dormant volcanoes; terrain rises to the east;

Tristan da Cunha: sheer cliffs line the coastline of the nearly circular island; the flanks of the central volcanic peak are deeply dissected; narrow coastal plain lies between The Peak and the coastal cliffs

Saint Kitts and Nevis
volcanic with mountainous interiors
Saint Lucia
volcanic and mountainous with broad, fertile valleys
Saint Pierre and Miquelon
mostly barren rock
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
volcanic, mountainous
two main islands (Savaii, Upolu) and several smaller islands and uninhabited islets; narrow coastal plain with volcanic, rugged mountains in interior
San Marino
rugged mountains
Sao Tome and Principe
volcanic, mountainous
Saudi Arabia
mostly sandy desert
generally low, rolling, plains rising to foothills in southeast
extremely varied; to the north, rich fertile plains; to the east, limestone ranges and basins; to the southeast, ancient mountains and hills
Mahe Group is volcanic with a narrow coastal strip and rocky, hilly interior; others are coral, flat, elevated reefs
Sierra Leone
coastal belt of mangrove swamps, wooded hill country, upland plateau, mountains in east
lowlying, gently undulating central plateau
rugged mountains in the central and northern part and lowlands in the south
a short southwestern coastal strip of Karst topography on the Adriatic; an alpine mountain region lies adjacent to Italy and Austria in the north; mixed mountains and valleys with numerous rivers to the east
Solomon Islands
mostly rugged mountains with some low coral atolls
mostly flat to undulating plateau rising to hills in north
South Africa
vast interior plateau rimmed by rugged hills and narrow coastal plain
South Sudan
plains in the north and center rise to southern highlands along the border with Uganda and Kenya; the White Nile, flowing north out of the uplands of Central Africa, is the major geographic feature of the country; The Sudd (a name derived from floating vegetation that hinders navigation) is a large swampy area of more than 100,000 sq km fed by the waters of the White Nile that dominates the center of the country
large, flat to dissected plateau surrounded by rugged hills; Pyrenees Mountains in north
Spratly Islands
small, flat islands, islets, cays, and reefs
Sri Lanka
mostly low, flat to rolling plain; mountains in south-central interior
generally flat, featureless plain; desert dominates the north
mostly rolling hills; narrow coastal plain with swamps
rugged mountains; much of the upland areas are ice covered; west coast clear of ice about half the year; fjords along west and north coasts
mostly mountains and hills; some moderately sloping plains
mostly flat or gently rolling lowlands; mountains in west
mostly mountains (Alps in south, Jura in northwest) with a central plateau of rolling hills, plains, and large lakes
primarily semiarid and desert plateau; narrow coastal plain; mountains in west
eastern two-thirds mostly rugged mountains; flat to gently rolling plains in west
mountainous region dominated by the Trans-Alay Range in the north and the Pamirs in the southeast; western Fergana Valley in north, Kofarnihon and Vakhsh Valleys in southwest
plains along coast; central plateau; highlands in north, south
central plain; Khorat Plateau in the east; mountains elsewhere
gently rolling savanna in north; central hills; southern plateau; low coastal plain with extensive lagoons and marshes
low-lying coral atolls enclosing large lagoons
mostly flat islands with limestone bedrock formed from uplifted coral formation; others have limestone overlying volcanic rock
Trinidad and Tobago
mostly plains with some hills and low mountains
mountains in north; hot, dry central plain; semiarid south merges into the Sahara
high central plateau (Anatolia); narrow coastal plain; several mountain ranges
flat-to-rolling sandy desert with dunes rising to mountains in the south; low mountains along border with Iran; borders Caspian Sea in west
Turks and Caicos Islands
low, flat limestone; extensive marshes and mangrove swamps
low-lying and narrow coral atolls
mostly plateau with rim of mountains
mostly fertile plains (steppes) and plateaus, with mountains found only in the west (the Carpathians) or in the extreme south of the Crimean Peninsula
United Arab Emirates
flat, barren coastal plain merging into rolling sand dunes of vast desert; mountains in east
United Kingdom
mostly rugged hills and low mountains; level to rolling plains in east and southeast
United States
vast central plain, mountains in west, hills and low mountains in east; rugged mountains and broad river valleys in Alaska; rugged, volcanic topography in Hawaii
mostly rolling plains and low hills; fertile coastal lowland
mostly flat-to-rolling sandy desert with dunes; broad, flat intensely irrigated river valleys along course of Amu Darya, Syr Darya (Sirdaryo), and Zarafshon; Fergana Valley in east surrounded by mountainous Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan; shrinking Aral Sea in west
mostly mountainous islands of volcanic origin; narrow coastal plains
Andes Mountains and Maracaibo Lowlands in northwest; central plains (llanos); Guiana Highlands in southeast
low, flat delta in south and north; central highlands; hilly, mountainous in far north and northwest
Virgin Islands
mostly hilly to rugged and mountainous with little flat land
Wake Island
atoll of three low coral islands, Peale, Wake, and Wilkes, built up on an underwater volcano; central lagoon is former crater, islands are part of the rim
Wallis and Futuna
volcanic origin; low hills
West Bank
mostly rugged, dissected upland in west, flat plains descending to Jordan River Valley to the east
Western Sahara
mostly low, flat desert with large areas of rocky or sandy surfaces rising to small mountains in south and northeast
tremendous variation of terrain on each of the continents; check the World 'Elevation' entry for a compilation of terrain extremes; the world's ocean floors are marked by mid-ocean ridges while the ocean surfaces form a dynamic, continuously changing environment; check the 'Terrain' field and its 'major surface currents' subfield under each of the five ocean (Arctic, Atlantic, Indian, Pacific, and Southern) entries for further information on oceanic environs
Ten Cave Superlatives: compiled from "Geography - note(s)" under various country entries where more details may be found

largest cave: Son Doong in Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, Vietnam is the world's largest cave (greatest cross sectional area) and is the largest known cave passage in the world by volume; it currently measures a total of 38.5 million cu m (about 1.35 billion cu ft); it connects to Thung cave (but not yet officially); when recognized, it will add an additional 1.6 million cu m in volume

largest ice cave:
the Eisriesenwelt (Ice Giants World) inside the Hochkogel mountain near Werfen, Austria is the world's largest and longest ice cave system at 42 km (26 mi)

longest cave:
Mammoth Cave, in west-central Kentucky, is the world's longest known cave system with more than 650 km (405 mi) of surveyed passageways

longest salt cave: the Malham Cave in Mount Sodom in Israel is the world's longest salt cave at 10 km (6 mi); its survey is not complete and its length will undoubtedly increase

longest underwater cave: the Sac Actun cave system in Mexico at 348 km (216 mi) is the longest underwater cave in the world and the second longest cave worldwide

longest lava tube cave: Kazumura Cave on the island of Hawaii is the world's longest and deepest lava tube cave; it has been surveyed at 66 km (41 mi) long and 1,102 m (3,614 ft) deep

deepest cave: Veryovkina Cave in the Caucasus country of Georgia is the world's deepest cave, plunging down 2,212 m (7,257 ft)

deepest underwater cave: the Hranice Abyss in Czechia is the world's deepest surveyed underwater cave at 404 m (1,325 ft); its survey is not complete and it could end up being some 800-1,200 m deep

largest cave chamber: the Miao Room in the Gebihe cave system at China's Ziyun Getu He Chuandong National Park encloses some 10.78 million cu m (380.7 million cu ft) of volume

largest bat cave: Bracken Cave outside of San Antonio, Texas is the world's largest bat cave; it is the summer home to the largest colony of bats in the world; an estimated 20 million Mexican free-tailed bats roost in the cave from March to October making it the world's largest known concentration of mammals
narrow coastal plain backed by flat-topped hills and rugged mountains; dissected upland desert plains in center slope into the desert interior of the Arabian Peninsula
mostly high plateau with some hills and mountains
mostly high plateau with higher central plateau (high veld); mountains in east

Source: CIA Factbook