Geography And Geology

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(Piton: Pamplemousses district)

A Brief Description

Geological History

Mountain Ranges

Weather and Climate

Water Resources


A brief description

Barely 1865 kilometres square, the island of Mauritius is small by any standards. Yet it has a diversity of geographical features that makes the landscape always interesting to look at. Basically, the island is made up of undulating uplands varying in height from 300 metres to a maximum of 600 metres in the south. Surrounding the uplands are mountain ranges and plains. Numerous rivers flow to the sea fed entirely by rain fall. Last but not least, stretches of coral sand beaches are found along part of the coast line.

Geological History

Except for beaches and coral reef formation, the island is entirely of volcanic origin. Three major periods of volcanic activity resulted in the formation of the island.

The first period, called the Emergence and Older Series or the Ancient Series, lasted from 10 million years ago to about 5 million years ago. This period caused the emergence of the island. The Ancient series can be further broken down into two distinct parts: The Breccia Series from 10 million years ago to 7.8 million years ago and the Old Series Lavas from 7.6 million years ago to 5 million years ago.

The second period called the Early Volcanic Series or Intermediate Series lasted from 3 million years ago to 1.7 million years ago.

The third period called the Younger Series or the Recent Series lasted from 700,000 years ago to 20,000 years ago.

The geology of the island is basically basalt everywhere. But the three main phases of volcanic activity has given rise to different types of rock.

Mountain Ranges

There are three main mountain ranges which are the Port Louis-Moka Mountain Range, the Black River - Savanne Mountain Complex and the Bambous Mountain Massif.

These mountain ranges were formed by very important lava flows some 7 million years ago. In fact they are remnants of an ancient shield volcano that collapsed upon itself forming a caldera. The three mountain ranges can be seen to form a rough discontinuous circle that encircle the central uplands and highlands. They were the walls of this ancient shield volcano that first caused the emergence of the island.


Proag, V. The Geology and Water Resources of Mauritius, Mahatma Gandhi Institute, 1995

Saddul, P. Mauritius, A Geomorphological Analysis, Mahatma Gandhi Institute, 1995

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Last Update: 10th of December 1998

Date on the Web: 26th of January 1998.