Socotra Geology and Geography
Socotra in Yemen lies in the northwestern corner of the Western Indian Ocean, at the junction between the Gulf of Aden and the Arabian Sea at 12o 30’N – 53o50’E.
The island is 240 km east of Somalia, 380 Km southeast of Ras Fartaq on the Gulf of Aden coastline of Yemen and 200 km east of Cape Guardafui, the tip of the Horn of Africa. Socotra is 125 km long and 45 km wide, with a total surface area of 3665 km2.
Socotra Island’s highest elevation is at Jabal Mashneq (1526 masl) in the central Hagghier Massif.
The island can be divided into three main zones:
- the Hagghier Mountains
- The limestone plateau
- The alluvial coastal plains
The island’s backbone is formed by the Hagghier mountains located northwest of the island. With their jagged granite peaks, these mountains rise dramatically along their sheer northern face and gently slope along the southern and eastern flanks.
Although Socotra lies in the rain-bearing monsoon belt, it is predominantly the Hagghier Mountains that attract the precipitation. Because of this their slopes are well vegetated, and several of their streams are perennial.
The limestone Plateau surrounds this elevation to the east-west and south, covering most of the island and averaging 300 -700 m in altitude. They drop away at the edges of cliffs and are eroded on the surface into karsts topography.