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Cayman Environment

These islands are low and fairly dry, especially when compared to neighboring Jamaica. On Grand Cayman, the elevation is only about 60 feet above sea level at its highest point. The Sister Islands are each amoebae-shaped and small. Cayman Brac soars to a nosebleed level, by Caymanian standards, of 140 feet above sea level.

These three islands are actually the peaks of a submarine mountain range, the Cayman Ridge, part of a chain running from Cuba to near Belize. The islands are actually limestone outcroppings with little soil, so vegetation is not as lush as on some islands.

The islands are covered with two types of limestone: bluff limestone, formed about 30 million years ago, and ironshore, a substance created about 120,000 years ago, combining limestone with coral, mollusk shell, and marl. Ironshore accounts for the pocked surface that holds little pockets of soil (and makes walking barefoot just about impossible) on much of these islands. You won't hear us complaining about the rough ground that makes up these islands, though. The limestone and little soil means that there's very little runoff. The result? Crystal-clear waters directly offshore.

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