Terrain shapes and bedrock
According to COUNTRYAAH, Morocco’s bedrock has been folded in connection with the Eurasian continent colliding with Africa, and the country is largely occupied by the western parts of the Atlas Mountain. Rifatlas at the far north is an arcuate mountain range with a clear connection to the mountains of southeastern Spain; it reaches a maximum of 2,456 m above sea level. Further south, the interior of Morocco is occupied by three higher and mutually parallel chains with the southwest – northeast direction: Middle Atlas, High Atlas and Antiatlas. With peaks up to 4 165 m above sea level. and deep-cut valleys they provide a powerful relief to this part of the country.
Eastern Morocco is occupied by high plateaus of 1,200-1,300 meters above sea level. They are originally large sinks filled with coarse sediments. Along the Atlantic there are coastal plains, e.g. the great Rharb plain, southwest of Rifatlas, covered by river deposits. From Rabat and south to the High Atlas is about 200 m above sea level. the Moroccan mesetan. Morocco is a seismically active area, and it is often affected by earthquakes with great losses in human life and damage to buildings etc.
On the eastern side of the Atlas Mountains, the watercourses are short and flow towards the Sahara, where they dry out in the sand. To the Mediterranean flows Moulouya, a 510 km long river. Loukkos from western Rifatlas, the fast-flowing Sebou, Oum er-Rbia, Tensift and Sous.
The northern parts of Morocco have a Mediterranean climate, the southern and inner parts of the steppe and desert climate. Desert winds from the east, chergui, can provide temperatures of 35-40 °C. In the north, January 12 and August have 23 °C; corresponding inland temperatures are 10 and 28 °C, respectively. In the highest mountains, the winter temperature can drop to -20 °C and during the summer it can be 40 °C.
According to BRIDGAT, the rainfall in the north is 1,200 mm/year and falls in November – January, in the south it is lower than 250 mm/ year.
Nearest to the Mediterranean is an open, culturally influenced landscape with a flora that has a distinct western Mediterranean feel with both European and North African elements.
The high Atlas mountains extending south of this densely populated zone, is wooded including Aleppo pine, sandarakcypress (Tetracli’nis articula’ta), kermesek, holm oak, Phoenician a (Juni’perus phoeni’cea), dwarf palm, cypress, a and several species of sumac Pista’cia. At higher altitudes, especially in the Middle Atlantic, atlas sedges are also growing. On the northern side of the mountains, between 1,500 and 2,000 m above sea level, there is a rare stock of cork oak, which here has its southern border.
South of the mountain ranges, the dry, rocky desert plains with steep vegetation of, among others, the wormwood Artemiʹsia heʹrba-a -lba and the grass albardin (Lyʹgeum spaʹrtum) and espartograss (Macrochloʹa tenaciʹssima) are spread. In some places, the desert is characterized by the densely tufted amaranth plant Anabaʹsis aretioiʹdes, which except very closely resembles a large gray-green stone.
Along the Atlantic coast in the southern parts of the country there are many endemic genera and species as well as those that also occur in the Canary Islands. Farther from the coast are sparse populations of the endemic tree argania (Argaʹnia spinoʹsa), whose fruits serve as animal food and as a raw material for the production of cooking oil.
Several species of large mammals that now live on the African savannas have disappeared from Morocco in historical times, among other things. antelopes, elephant and lion. Lions disappeared as late as the early 1900s, but leopards rarely live in the Atlas Mountains. Sabeloryx and Koantilop (the subspecies Alceʹlaphus buseʹlaphus buseʹlaphus) disappeared during the 20th century. In desert areas, dorkas gasell, fennel and striped hyena are rarely left. In the Atlas Mountains there are man sheep and gold shawls and in wooded parts berber crown deer and berber monkey.
Among birds, hermitibis has one of its last moorings in the Atlas Mountains. Here you will also find lambs, mutton, large desert finch (Rhodopeʹchys sanguiʹnea) and several species of larch, including Moroccan rock larch (Eremoʹphila biʹlopha). In desert areas there are larches and several species of stone washes. In dry, partially cultivated areas in northern Morocco, fowl is rare.
Snakes and lizards are common, including the French Finger Lizard Acanthodaʹctylus erythruʹrus, Algerian Sand Runner (Psammoʹdromus algiʹrus), and Cornworm. In slightly more humid areas of northern Morocco there are geckos, chameleon and lizard snake and in the south puff adder. Slab tongue frog and western leaf frog (Hyʹla meridionaʹlis) are found in northern Morocco.
In 2011, Morocco had ten areas called national parks, but with the main purpose of preserving the landscape for recreation and tourism. In addition, there were five major hunting and biological reserves.