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Maldives Geography

    Location: Southern Asia, group of atolls in the Indian Ocean, south-southwest of India

    Geographic coordinates: 3 15 N, 73 00 E

    Map references: Asia

    Area:
    total: 300 sq km
    land: 300 sq km
    water: 0 sq km

    Area—comparative: about 1.7 times the size of Washington, DC

    Land boundaries: 0 km

    Coastline: 644 km

    Maritime claims: measured from claimed archipelagic baselines
    contiguous zone: 24 nm
    exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
    territorial sea: 12 nm

    Climate: tropical; hot, humid; dry, northeast monsoon (November to March); rainy, southwest monsoon (June to August)

    Terrain: flat, with white sandy beaches

    Elevation extremes:
    lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m
    highest point: unnamed location on Wilingili island in the Addu Atoll 2.4 m

    Natural resources: fish

    Land use:
    arable land: 10%
    permanent crops: 0%
    permanent pastures: 3%
    forests and woodland: 3%
    other: 84% (1993 est.)

    Irrigated land: NA sq km

    Natural hazards: low level of islands makes them very sensitive to sea level rise

    Environment—current issues: depletion of freshwater aquifers threatens water supplies

    Environment—international agreements:
    party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Hazardous Wastes, Ozone Layer Protection
    signed, but not ratified: Law of the Sea

    Geography—note: 1,190 coral islands grouped into 26 atolls; archipelago of strategic location astride and along major sea lanes in Indian Ocean

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