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Madagascar Geography

    Location: Southern Africa, island in the Indian Ocean, east of Mozambique

    Geographic coordinates: 20 00 S, 47 00 E

    Map references: Africa

    Area:
    total: 587,040 sq km
    land: 581,540 sq km
    water: 5,500 sq km

    Area—comparative: slightly less than twice the size of Arizona

    Land boundaries: 0 km

    Coastline: 4,828 km

    Maritime claims:
    contiguous zone: 24 nm
    continental shelf: 200 nm or 100 nm from the 2,500-m deep isobath
    exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
    territorial sea: 12 nm

    Climate: tropical along coast, temperate inland, arid in south

    Terrain: narrow coastal plain, high plateau and mountains in center

    Elevation extremes:
    lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m
    highest point: Maromokotro 2,876 m

    Natural resources: graphite, chromite, coal, bauxite, salt, quartz, tar sands, semiprecious stones, mica, fish

    Land use:
    arable land: 4%
    permanent crops: 1%
    permanent pastures: 41%
    forests and woodland: 40%
    other: 14% (1993 est.)

    Irrigated land: 10,870 sq km (1993 est.)

    Natural hazards: periodic cyclones

    Environment—current issues: soil erosion results from deforestation and overgrazing; desertification; surface water contaminated with raw sewage and other organic wastes; several species of flora and fauna unique to the island are endangered

    Environment—international agreements:
    party to: Biodiversity, Desertification, Endangered Species, Marine Life Conservation, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection
    signed, but not ratified: Climate Change, Law of the Sea

    Geography—note: world's fourth-largest island; strategic location along Mozambique Channel

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Revised 1-Mar-99
Copyright © 1999 Photius Coutsoukis (all rights reserved)