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Australia Geography Profile 2018

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LocationOceania, continent between the Indian Ocean and the South Pacific Ocean
Geographic coordinates27 00 S, 133 00 E
Map referencesOceania
Areatotal: 7,741,220 sq km
land: 7,682,300 sq km
water: 58,920 sq km
note: includes Lord Howe Island and Macquarie Island
Area - comparativeslightly smaller than the US contiguous 48 states
Land boundaries0 km
Coastline25,760 km
Maritime claimsterritorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin
Climategenerally arid to semiarid; temperate in south and east; tropical in north
Terrainmostly low plateau with deserts; fertile plain in southeast
Elevation extremesmean elevation: 330 m
elevation extremes: lowest point: Lake Eyre -15 m
highest point: Mount Kosciuszko 2,228 m
Natural resourcesbauxite, coal, iron ore, copper, tin, gold, silver, uranium, nickel, tungsten, rare earth elements, mineral sands, lead, zinc, diamonds, natural gas, petroleum
note: Australia is the world's largest net exporter of coal accounting for 29% of global coal exports
Land useagricultural land: 53.4%
arable land 6.2%; permanent crops 0.1%; permanent pasture 47.1%
forest: 19.3%
other: 27.3% (2011 est.)
Irrigated land25,500 sq km (2012)
Population distributionpopulation is primarily located on the periphery, with the highest concentration of people residing in the southeast; a secondary population center is located in and around Perth in the west; of the States and Territories, New South Wales has, by far, the largest population; the interior, or "outback", has a very sparse population
Natural hazardscyclones along the coast; severe droughts; forest fires
volcanism: volcanic activity on Heard and McDonald Islands
Environment - current issuessoil 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 freshwater resources
Environment - international agreementsparty to: Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Seals, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, 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: none of the selected agreements
Geography - noteworld's smallest continent but sixth-largest country; the largest country in Oceania, the largest country entirely in the Southern Hemisphere, and the largest country without land borders; the only continent without glaciers; population concentrated along the eastern and southeastern coasts; the invigorating sea breeze known as the "Fremantle Doctor" affects the city of Perth on the west coast and is one of the most consistent winds in the world

Source: CIA World Factbook
This page was last updated on January 20, 2018