Grande Terre (New Caledonia)

The island of Grande Terre is the main island and by far the largest island of New Caledonia, it is located in the Coral Sea.


Grande Terre has an area of ​​16,664 km ². It is about 400 km long and 50 km to 60 km wide. The island runs through a fold mountain with four peaks that exceed 1500 m. With 1,628 m Mont Panié is the highest and the Mont Humboldt with 1,618 m the second highest mountain. Around the island there is the New Caledonian barrier reef. The longest river of the island is 150 km long Diahot, the largest city, the capital of New Caledonia, Noumea.

The mountains provide a climate divide is, in the west with frequent rain, while in the east it rarely rains.

The island was once a part of the eastern margin of Gondwana. She separated from the Australian continent 80 million years ago and from New Zealand 55 million years ago and migrated to the northeast. Today Grande Terre is on the edge of the Australian lithospheric plate that is immersed below the Pacific lithospheric plate ( plate tectonics ). A consequence of this is that the seabed along with the island of Grande Terre and other islands, such as the Belep islands and the atoll de la Surprise in the North West and the Isle of Pines, the Ile Ouen and the Ile Koutoumo the southeast, slightly raised been. The eastern Loyalty Islands are of volcanic origin even as they are still closer to the edge of the plate.