Geography of Hong Kong
The name "Hong Kong", literally meaning "fragrant harbour," is derived from the area around present-day Aberdeen on Hong Kong Island, where fragrant wood products and incense were once traded. The narrow body of water separating Hong Kong Island and Kowloon Peninsula, Victoria Harbour, is one of the deepest natural maritime ports in the world. Hong Kong and its 260 territorial islands and peninsulas are located in the South China Sea, at the mouth of the Pearl River Delta.
The Kowloon Peninsula to the south of Boundary Street and the New Territories to the north of Hong Kong Island were added to Colonial Hong Kong in 1860 and 1898 respectively. The landscape of Hong Kong is fairly hilly to mountainous with steep slopes. The highest point in the territory is Tai Mo Shan, at a height of 958 metres. Lowlands exist in the northwestern part of the New Territories.
Hong Kong is 60 km east of Macau on the opposite side of the Pearl River estuary. It has a land border with Shenzhen to the north. The remaining land is reserved as country parks and nature reserves .
Hong Kong's climate is subtropical and monsoonal with cool dry winters and hot and wet summers. As of 2006, its annual average rainfall is 2,214 mm (87.2 in), though about 80% of the rain falls between May and September. It is occasionally affected by tropical cyclones between May and November, most often from July to September. The mean temperature of Hong Kong ranges from 16 °C (60.8 °F) in January and February to 28 °C (82.4 °F) in July and August.
January and February are more cloudy, with occasional cold fronts followed by dry northerly winds. It is not uncommon for temperatures to drop below 10 °C (50 °F) in urban areas. Sub-zero temperatures and frost occur at times on high ground and in the New Territories. March and April can be pleasant although there are occasional spells of high humidity. Fog and drizzle are common on high ground which is exposed to the southeast. May to August are hot and humid with occasional showers and thunderstorms. Afternoon temperatures often exceed 31 °C (87.8 °F) whereas at night, temperatures generally remain around 26 °C (78.8 °F) with high humidity. In November and December there are pleasant breezes, plenty of sunshine and comfortable temperatures.
Hong Kong's terrain is hilly and mountainous with steep slopes. There are lowlands in the northern part of Hong Kong. A significant amount of land in Hong Kong, especially on the Hong Kong Island and the Kowloon peninsula, is reclaimed.
Principal peaks of Hong Kong
- Tai Mo Shan - 957 m, Tsuen Wan
- Lantau Peak (Fung Wong Shan) - 934 m, on Lantau Island
- Sunset Peak (Tai Tung Shan) - 869 m, on Lantau Island
- Sze Fong Shan - 785 m
- Lin Fa Shan - 766 m, on Lantau Island
- Nei Lak Shan - 751 m, on Lantau Island
- Yi Tung Shan - 747 m, on Lantau Island
- Ma On Shan - 702 m
- The Hunch Backs (Ngau Ngak Shan) - 674 m
- Grassy Hill - 647 m
- Wong Leng - 639 m
- Buffalo Hill - 606 m
- West Buffalo Hill - 604 m
- Kowloon Peak (Fei Ngo Shan) - 602 m
- Shun Yeung Fung - 591 m
- Tiu Shau Ngam - 588 m
- Kai Kung Leng - 585 m
- Castle Peak - 583 m
- Lin Fa Shan, Tsuen Wan - 578 m
- Tate's Cairn (Tai Lo Shan) - 577 m
The natural resources of Hong Kong can be divided into three main categories:
- Metalliferous minerals and non-metalliferous industrial minerals in the onshore area;
- Quarried rock and building stone;
- Offshore sand deposits.
Despite its small size, Hong Kong has a relatively large number of mineral occurrences. Some mineral deposits have been exploited commercially. Metalliferous mineral occurrences are grouped into four broad categories: tin-tungsten-molybdenum mineralisation, copper-lead-zinc mineralisation, iron mineralisation and placer deposits of tin and gold. Mesozoic igneous activity is largely responsible for this diversity of mineral deposits and the mineral concentrations have been variably enhanced by hydrothermal activity associated with faulting. Concentrations of non-metalliferous minerals that have been commercially exploited include kaolin clay, feldspar, quartz, beryl and graphite.
For many years, granite and volcanic rocks have been quarried locally for road base metal, riprap, armour stone and asphalt, although the main purpose now is for concrete aggregates. At present, there are three quarries operating in Hong Kong. These are principally in granite and are located at Lam Tei, Shek O and Anderson Road. All the quarries are in the process of rehabilitation and have a life expectancy of between two and eight years.
Additional natural resources include forest and wildlife.
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