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World Geography

    Map references: World, Time Zones

    Area:
    total: 510.072 million sq km
    land: 148.94 million sq km
    water: 361.132 million sq km
    note: 70.8% of the world's surface is water, 29.2% is land

    Area—comparative: land area about 15 times the size of the US

    Land boundaries: the land boundaries in the world total 251,480.24 km (not counting shared boundaries twice)

    Coastline: 356,000 km

    Maritime claims:
    contiguous zone: 24 nm claimed by most, but can vary
    continental shelf: 200-m depth claimed by most or to depth of exploitation; others claim 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin
    exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm claimed by most, but can vary
    exclusive economic zone: 200 nm claimed by most, but can vary
    territorial sea: 12 nm claimed by most, but can vary
    note: boundary situations with neighboring states prevent many countries from extending their fishing or economic zones to a full 200 nm; 43 nations and other areas that are landlocked include Afghanistan, Andorra, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bhutan, Bolivia, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, Czech Republic, Ethiopia, Holy See (Vatican City), Hungary, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Lesotho, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malawi, Mali, Moldova, Mongolia, Nepal, Niger, Paraguay, Rwanda, San Marino, Slovakia, Swaziland, Switzerland, Tajikistan, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Uzbekistan, West Bank, Zambia, Zimbabwe

    Climate: two large areas of polar climates separated by two rather narrow temperate zones from a wide equatorial band of tropical to subtropical climates

    Terrain: the greatest ocean depth is the Mariana Trench at 10,924 m in the Pacific Ocean

    Elevation extremes:
    lowest point: Dead Sea -408 m
    highest point: Mount Everest 8,848 m

    Natural resources: the rapid using up of nonrenewable mineral resources, the depletion of forest areas and wetlands, the extinction of animal and plant species, and the deterioration in air and water quality (especially in Eastern Europe, the former USSR, and China) pose serious long-term problems that governments and peoples are only beginning to address

    Land use:
    arable land: 10%
    permanent crops: 1%
    permanent pastures: 26%
    forests and woodland: 32%
    other: 31% (1993 est.)

    Irrigated land: 2,481,250 sq km (1993 est.)

    Natural hazards: large areas subject to severe weather (tropical cyclones), natural disasters (earthquakes, landslides, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions)

    Environment—current issues: large areas subject to overpopulation, industrial disasters, pollution (air, water, acid rain, toxic substances), loss of vegetation (overgrazing, deforestation, desertification), loss of wildlife, soil degradation, soil depletion, erosion

    Environment—international agreements: selected international environmental agreements are included under the Environment—international agreements entry for each country and in the Selected International Environmental Agreements appendix

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