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    United States Geography 1997

      Location North America, bordering both the North Atlantic Ocean and the NorthPacific Ocean, between Canada and Mexico

      Geographic coordinates 38 00 N, 97 00 W

      Map references North America

      total: 9,629,091 sq km
      land: 9,158,960 sq km
      water : 470,131 sq km
      note: includes only the 50 states and District of Columbia

      Area - comparative about one-half the size of Russia; about three-tenths the size of Africa;about one-half the size of South America (or slightly larger than Brazil);slightly larger than China; about two and one-half times the size of WesternEurope

      Land boundaries
      total: 12,248 km
      border countries : Canada 8,893 km (including 2,477 km with Alaska), Cuba 29 km (US NavalBase at Guantanamo Bay), Mexico 3,326 km
      note: Guantanamo Naval Base is leased by the US and thus remains part of Cuba

      Coastline 19,924 km

      Maritime claims
      contiguous zone : 12 nm
      continental shelf: not specified
      exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
      territorial sea: 12 nm

      Climate mostly temperate, but tropical in Hawaii and Florida and arctic in Alaska,semiarid in the great plains west of the Mississippi River and arid in the Great Basin of the southwest; low winter temperatures in the northwest areameliorated occasionally in January and February by warm chinook winds fromthe eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains

      Terrain vast central plain, mountains in west, hills and low mountains in east;rugged mountains and broad river valleys in Alaska; rugged, volcanic topographyin Hawaii

      Elevation extremes
      lowest point: Death Valley -86 m
      highest point: Mount McKinley 6,194 m

      Natural resources coal, copper, lead, molybdenum, phosphates, uranium, bauxite, gold,iron, mercury, nickel, potash, silver, tungsten, zinc, petroleum, naturalgas, timber

      Land use
      arable land: 19%
      permanent crops : 0%
      permanent pastures: 25%
      forests and woodland: 30%
      other: 26% (1993 est.)

      Irrigated land 207,000 sq km (1993 est.)

      Natural hazards tsunamis, volcanoes, and earthquake activity around Pacific Basin; hurricanesalong the Atlantic coast; tornadoes in the midwest; mud slides in California;forest fires in the west; flooding; permafrost in northern Alaska is a majorimpediment to development

      Environment - current issues air pollution resulting in acid rain in both the US and Canada; theUS is the largest single emitter of carbon dioxide from the burning of fossilfuels; water pollution from runoff of pesticides and fertilizers; very limitednatural fresh water resources in much of the western part of the country requirecareful management; desertification

      Environment - international agreements
      party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Antarctic Treaty, ClimateChange, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Marine Dumping, MarineLife Conservation, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution,Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
      signed, but not ratified: Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Antarctic-Environmental Protocol,Biodiversity, Desertification, Hazardous Wastes

      Geography - note world's third-largest country (after Russia and Canada)

      NOTE: The information regarding United States on this page is re-published from the 1997 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of United States Geography 1997 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about United States Geography 1997 should be addressed to the CIA.

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    Revised 06-Mar-02
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