Morocco geography

Morocco Geology and Morphology


Morocco is made up of very varied terrains: crystalline and metamorphic rocks occupy vast surfaces, especially in central Morocco; the Trias is represented by chalky-saline soils; the different levels of the Secondary, especially the Jurassic and Cretaceous, cover very extensive regions; the marine tertiary lands are generally found in the depressed parts.

The relief of Morocco includes, alongside corrugated chains, planked platforms and floodplains.

In the Primary, Hercinian corrugations were determined, generally oriented by SSO. to NNE., which were then dismantled during the following geological periods and covered by secondary and tertiary horizontal layers, generally not very thick, which, in many points, allow the ancient substratum to be seen. In the Tertiary there was a new phase of corrugations, to which the essential features of the current relief are due; these corrugations, from the Pyrenean age in the Atlas, from the Alpine age in the Rif, were accompanied by sinking and volcanic eruptions.

The coastal mountainous massifs that border the Mediterranean and are distinct from the Atlas, represent a fragment of Mediterranean Europe and are connected to the Betic mountain range. After all, the communication between the ocean and the Mediterranean was first at N. of the betic chain along the Guadalquivir valley, then at S. del Rif along the Taza corridor, and finally through the present Strait of Gibraltar, which is relatively recent and seems to date from the Pliocene. The Rif chains are arranged in an arc of a circle; the higher one generally runs very close to the Mediterranean, since the south-western and southern slopes are much more extensive than the northern one. The main axis formed of Jurassic limestones extends with altitudes of over 2000 m. from Xauen to Yebel Tidhirine (2455m), which is the highlight. The streams that flow into the Mediterranean have dug deep ravines; the hydrographic system of the southern slope is connected both to the Sebou, through the Ouergha, and to the Loukkos. A crown of small massifs, Kefs, Zerhoun, Zalagh, which form the so-called Prerif, rises in the plains to S. del Sebou. The area between Uad Kert and Moulouya is not part of the Rif proper, and in fact has a different structure: it is a slightly corrugated area, which follows the Middle Atlas and continues in the Oudida, Beni Snassene and Tlemcen mountains.. The northern coast of Morocco has the usual characteristics of the Mediterranean coasts; mountainous, indented by beautiful gulfs in the hemicycle, it offers only difficult communications with the interior. of Beni Snassene and Tlemcen.  The northern coast of Morocco has the usual characteristics of the Mediterranean coasts; mountainous, indented by beautiful gulfs in the hemicycle, it offers only difficult communications with the interior.

Western Morocco is made up of plains or tables that extend in steps from the Atlantic to the foot of the Atlas; there are two very different areas, which can be called northern Morocco and southern Morocco, or the kingdom of Fez and the kingdom of Morocco. Northern Morocco is accidental from the last foothills of the Rif; the hills enclose floors that are ancient sea gulfs filled by floods. The town lends itself to the cultivation of fruit trees and olive trees; cereals are also important and the natives also practice cattle breeding, particularly oxen. The Sebou alluvial plain, which has an area of ​​about 4000 square kilometers, is the outlet to the Atlantic of the great road that crosses from the O. at the E. the whole Barbary; merjas. The secondary and tertiary strata form a large syncline in the region of Fez and Taza, the sides of which rise to the North. towards the Rif, to the South. towards the Middle Atlas; the corridor narrows at the height of Taza, corresponding to the Tuahar hill; one then enters the Fahma which resembles the Dahra and the steppes of the province of Oran.

The great triangle between the ocean (from Rabat to Cape Guir) and the Atlas constitutes the Moroccan plateau, which is exactly the same as the Iberian plateau. The arrangement in tiered tables is even more pronounced here than in northern Morocco. The subsoil is made up of archean and primary soils, often exposed by erosion, which continue in the western part of the High Atlas and almost entirely cover the western and central Sahara. In the meseta Moroccan one can distinguish a coastal plain, an internal plateau and an irrigation area that extends at the foot of the Atlas; the coastal plain, 60 to 80 km wide, gradually rises from 150 to 250 meters above sea level and is dominated by the bank with which the internal plateau descends on it. The soil and climate conditions greatly favor the cultivation of cereals; more than a third of the area is cultivated by indigenous people with a proportion that is rarely found in northern Africa; south of the Tensift course, due to the southernmost latitude, the region becomes much less rich. The coast of the Moroccan plateau is not very articulated: there are rarely small incisions, due to outcrops of ancient land (as in Casablanca), or secondary (as in Mazagan, Capo Bianco, Safi), or formed by an islet detached by erosion, as in Mogador; sometimes, as in Mehdia, in Rabat, in Azemmour, an attempt has been made to establish a port at the mouth of a river, despite the bar that makes access difficult; at times the edge of the plateau is preceded by a flat coastal strip with dunes. Above all this coast the Atlantic waves break violently.

The inner plateau, more rugged than the coastal plain, occupies by far the largest part of the Moroccan plateau, with a length of 200 km. per 100 of width, and gradually rises from 300 to 600 msm It is deeply engraved by the course of the Oum er-Rebia, which flows from Mechra ech-Chaïr to Bou Laouane in a real cañon. Between the plateau and the Atlas extends the Tadla plain, which widens towards S., where it reaches the Tensift plain, and narrows towards the North to end in the narrow valley of Khenifra. The primary massif, in the form of steep schists and granite reliefs, predominates in the Zaer and Zemmour region, which extends on the left bank of the Sebou between Meknès and Rabat; the same structure continues further east in the plateau of Oulmès and in the region of the Zaïane, up to the upper valley of the Oum er-Rebia, as well as in the plateau of the Rehamna, and in the Djebilet. This inland plateau, farther from the sea and poorer in water, is much less fertile than the coastal plain; some parts, such as Tadla, are populated with herds of rams. At the foot of the Atlas the crops start again, but they are irrigated crops; the irrigation area has a length of 300 km. and a width from 30 to 40, it begins at the Oued Chichaoua, 70 km. from the coast, and extends as far as Boujad in Tadla; the plain of Morocco, the center of this irrigated region, corresponds to a sinking zone that precedes the western High Atlas. For Morocco geography, please check

It is customary to distinguish the Moroccan Atlas in three chains with SW-NE direction: a main median or High Atlas, and two secondary ones, the Middle Atlas in N. and the Anti Atlas in S., which together form a great corrugated chain rising in the midst of immense regions with a tabular structure (see atlas).

Morocco geography