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Mauritania Geography

    Location: Northern Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between Senegal and Western Sahara

    Geographic coordinates: 20 00 N, 12 00 W

    Map references: Africa

    Area:
    total: 1,030,700 sq km
    land: 1,030,400 sq km
    water: 300 sq km

    Area—comparative: slightly larger than three times the size of New Mexico

    Land boundaries:
    total: 5,074 km
    border countries: Algeria 463 km, Mali 2,237 km, Senegal 813 km, Western Sahara 1,561 km

    Coastline: 754 km

    Maritime claims:
    contiguous zone: 24 nm
    continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin
    exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
    territorial sea: 12 nm

    Climate: desert; constantly hot, dry, dusty

    Terrain: mostly barren, flat plains of the Sahara; some central hills

    Elevation extremes:
    lowest point: Sebkha de Ndrhamcha -3 m
    highest point: Kediet Ijill 910 m

    Natural resources: iron ore, gypsum, fish, copper, phosphate

    Land use:
    arable land: 0%
    permanent crops: 0%
    permanent pastures: 38%
    forests and woodland: 4%
    other: 58% (1993 est.)

    Irrigated land: 490 sq km (1993 est.)

    Natural hazards: hot, dry, dust/sand-laden sirocco wind blows primarily in March and April; periodic droughts

    Environment—current issues: overgrazing, deforestation, and soil erosion aggravated by drought are contributing to desertification; very limited natural fresh water resources away from the Senegal which is the only perennial river

    Environment—international agreements:
    party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
    signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

    Geography—note: most of the population concentrated in the cities of Nouakchott and Nouadhibou and along the Senegal River in the southern part of the country

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