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Papua New Guinea Geography Profile 2018

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LocationOceania, group of islands including the eastern half of the island of New Guinea between the Coral Sea and the South Pacific Ocean, east of Indonesia
Geographic coordinates6 00 S, 147 00 E
Map referencesOceania
Areatotal: 462,840 sq km
land: 452,860 sq km
water: 9,980 sq km
Area - comparativeslightly larger than California
Land boundariestotal: 824 km
border countries (1): Indonesia 824 km
Coastline5,152 km
Maritime claimsmeasured from claimed archipelagic baselines
territorial sea: 12 nm
continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation
exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm
Climatetropical; northwest monsoon (December to March), southeast monsoon (May to October); slight seasonal temperature variation
Terrainmostly mountains with coastal lowlands and rolling foothills
Elevation extremesmean elevation: 667 m
elevation extremes: lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: Mount Wilhelm 4,509 m
Natural resourcesgold, copper, silver, natural gas, timber, oil, fisheries
Land useagricultural land: 2.6%
arable land 0.7%; permanent crops 1.5%; permanent pasture 0.4%
forest: 63.1%
other: 34.3% (2011 est.)
Irrigated land0 sq km (2012)
Population distributionpopulation concentrated in the highlands and eastern coastal areas on the island of New Guinea; predominantly a rural distribution with only about one-fifth of the population residing in urban areas
Natural hazardsactive volcanism; situated along the Pacific "Ring of Fire"; the country is subject to frequent and sometimes severe earthquakes; mud slides; tsunamis
volcanism: severe volcanic activity; Ulawun (2,334 m), one of Papua New Guinea's potentially most dangerous volcanoes, has been deemed a Decade Volcano by the International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth's Interior, worthy of study due to its explosive history and close proximity to human populations; Rabaul (688 m) destroyed the city of Rabaul in 1937 and 1994; Lamington erupted in 1951 killing 3,000 people; Manam's 2004 eruption forced the island's abandonment; other historically active volcanoes include Bam, Bagana, Garbuna, Karkar, Langila, Lolobau, Long Island, Pago, St. Andrew Strait, Victory, and Waiowa
Environment - current issuesrain forest subject to deforestation as a result of growing commercial demand for tropical timber; pollution from mining projects; severe drought
Environment - international agreementsparty to: Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - noteshares island of New Guinea with Indonesia; generally east-west trending highlands break up New Guinea into diverse ecoregions; one of world's largest swamps along southwest coast

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

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