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    Australia Geography - 2004

      Oceania, continent between the Indian Ocean and the South Pacific Ocean

      Geographic coordinates:
      27 00 S, 133 00 E

      Map references:

      total: 7,686,850 sq km
      water: 68,920 sq km
      note: includes Lord Howe Island and Macquarie Island
      land: 7,617,930 sq km

      Area - comparative:
      slightly smaller than the US contiguous 48 states

      Land boundaries:
      0 km

      25,760 km

      Maritime claims - as described in UNCLOS 1982 (see Notes and Definitions):
      territorial sea: 12 NM
      continental shelf: 200 NM or to the edge of the continental margin
      exclusive economic zone: 200 NM
      contiguous zone: 24 NM

      generally arid to semiarid; temperate in south and east; tropical in north

      mostly low plateau with deserts; fertile plain in southeast

      Elevation extremes:
      lowest point: Lake Eyre -15 m
      highest point: Mount Kosciuszko 2,229 m

      Natural resources:
      bauxite, coal, iron ore, copper, tin, gold, silver, uranium, nickel, tungsten, mineral sands, lead, zinc, diamonds, natural gas, petroleum

      Land use:
      arable land: 6.88%
      permanent crops: 0.03%
      other: 93.09% (1998 est.)

      Irrigated land:
      24,000 sq km (1998 est.)

      Natural hazards:
      cyclones along the coast; severe droughts; forest fires

      Environment - current issues:
      soil erosion from overgrazing, industrial development, urbanization, and poor farming practices; soil salinity rising due to the use of poor quality water; desertification; clearing for agricultural purposes threatens the natural habitat of many unique animal and plant species; the Great Barrier Reef off the northeast coast, the largest coral reef in the world, is threatened by increased shipping and its popularity as a tourist site; limited natural fresh water resources

      Environment - international agreements:
      party to: Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Seals, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
      signed, but not ratified: Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol

      Geography - note:
      world's smallest continent but sixth-largest country; population concentrated along the eastern and southeastern coasts; regular, tropical, invigorating, sea breeze known as "the Doctor" occurs along the west coast in the summer

      NOTE: The information regarding Australia on this page is re-published from the 2004 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Australia Geography 2004 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Australia Geography 2004 should be addressed to the CIA.

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    Revised 21-May-04
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