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The Active Environment of the Ryukyus

The Active Environment of the Ryukyus

(p.17) Chapter 2 The Active Environment of the Ryukyus
Ancient Ryukyu
Richard Pearson
University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter provides the geographical description of the Ryukyu Islands. The islands form a chain, 1,100 km long, which are composed of the Ryukyu Trench, the main island arc of sea mounts, an inner line of volcanoes, the Okinawa Trough, and the continental shelf. The line of volcanoes extends between the western side of the Ryukyu Islands and the Okinawa Trough, and can be seen in the Tokara Islands and Iō Torishima. Some special features of the islands have played important roles in the development of living patterns in the region. These features are the unique combination of inland broadleaf evergreen forest with Indo-Pacific strand flora and coral reefs, the East Asian monsoon, the Kuroshio (Black Current), and seasonal typhoons.

Keywords:   Ryukyu Islands, Okinawa Trough, Iō Torishima, Tokara Islands, Black Current, East Asian monsoon

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