ology logo
card
257

Guatemala

OLogy Series
place
card
257

Guatemala

OLogy Series
place

Guatemala is located in Central America. It sits south of Mexico and northwest of El Salvador and Honduras. This country is alive with bustling cities, crossed by soaring mountains, covered by thick jungles, and rich with agriculture. It is also the home of incredible architecture, from ancient Mayan ruins to centuries-old churches.

Besides volcanoes, what other natural hazards occur in Guatemala?

earthquakes

hurricanes

both

Are you right?

Correct!

Earthquakes occur under the west coast of Guatemala. Hurricanes and other tropical storms come in from the Caribbean Sea.

From the area now known as Guatemala, Mesoamerican cultures like the Olmec collected this important natural resource:

diamonds

jade

petroleum

Are you right?

Correct!

For a long time, no one knew exactly where the jade used by Mesoamerican cultures came from. Now we know that Guatemala has amazing natural jade deposits.

Guatemala is located at the boundaries of four plates. One plate subducts below the other, and the other two plates:

slide past each other

collide and fold up

spread apart from each other

Are you right?

Correct!

The Cocos plate sinks below the Caribbean plate, and the North American and Caribbean plates slide past each other. These plate movements cause earthquakes, volcanoes, and jade formation.

Most people visit Guatemala to see the Maya citadels or the volcanoes. But I find central Guatemala, with the rich Motagua Valley and towering Sierra de las Minas region, equally beautiful.

Guatemala has the tallest volcanoes in Central America.

Fact
or
Fiction
?

Fact

The volcanoes in Guatemala are also the most active. Over 30 volcanoes soar above the western part of the country. After sunset, they can create a beautiful red glow in the sky.

For centuries, Guatemala was ruled by France.

Fact
or
Fiction
?

Fiction

Guatemala was a Spanish colony from the 16th century to 1821. Antigua was the capital of New Spain. Today, the country is a democracy.

Population: 13.9 million
Size: 108,890 square kilometers
Capital and largest city: Guatemala City
Geography: mountains, jungles, coastal plains
Languages spoken: Spanish and 23 officially recognized Amerindian languages
Climate: tropical, hot, and humid
Cool fact: Many dinosaur bones are found in the jungles of Guatemala.

Image credits: CIA World Factbook.