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World Geography Profile 2001

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World, Time Zones


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 16 times the size of the US

Land boundaries

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


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


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


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

Elevation extremes

lowest point: Bentley Subglacial Trench -2,540 m

highest point: Mount Everest 8,850 m (1999 est.)

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

Source: CIA World Factbook
Unless otherwise noted, information in this page is accurate as of May 15, 2007

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