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1UpTravel - Geography Info and Facts of Countries : . - Australia


Australia Geography and Facts

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

Geographic coordinates: 27 00 S, 133 00 E

Map references: Oceania

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

Area - comparative: slightly smaller than the US

Land boundaries: 0 km

Coastline: 25,760 km

Maritime claims:
contiguous zone: 24 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
territorial sea: 12 nm

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

Terrain: 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, silver, uranium, nickel, tungsten, mineral sands, lead, zinc, diamonds, natural gas, petroleum

Land use:
arable land: 6%
permanent crops: 0%
permanent pastures: 54%
forests and woodland: 19%
other: 21% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: 21,070 sq km (1993 est.)

Natural hazards: cyclones along the coast; severe droughts

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 Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification

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


Geography
Australia, an island continent located Southeast of Asia and colaborating with the neighboring island of Tasmania, the Commonwealth of Australia, a self-governing member of the Commonwealth of Nations. Australia is also the largest island and the smallest continent in the world. It was once part of Asia, but the massive land broke off and drifted south about 25,000 years ago.


Climate
Australia is situated in the Southern hemisphere, between the Indian Ocean and the South Pacific Ocean. Basically, Australia's seasons are just the opposite of the northern hemisphere - summer starts in December, fall in March, winter in June and spring in September. The seasons are arid to semiarid; with temperate zone in south and east; tropical climate in north. The tropical zone (consisting of 40% of Australia) has two major seasons, summer ('wet') and winter ('dry') while the temperate zone has all four seasons (winter, spring, summer and fall).


Background: Australia became a British commonwealth in 1901. Blessed by rich natural resources, the country enjoyed rapid gains in herding, agriculture, and manufacturing and made a major contribution to the British effort in World Wars I and II. Australia subsequently developed its minerals, metals, and fossil fuel markets, all of which have become key Australian exports.

Long-term concerns include pollution, particularly depletion of the ozone layer, and management and conservation of coastal areas, especially the Great Barrier Reef.


  Australia is the only country that is also a continent. In area, it ranks as the sixth largest country and smallest continent. Australia lies between the South Pacific Ocean and the Indian Ocean.

         The part of the Indian Ocean south of Australia is called the Southern Ocean in the country. Australia is about 11,000 kilometres southwest of North America and about 3,000 kilometres southeast of mainland Asia.

          Australia is often referred to as being "down under" because it lies entirely within the Southern Hemisphere. The name Australia comes from the Latin word australis, meaning southern.

          The country's official name is the Commonwealth of Australia.


A referendum to change Australia's status, from a commonwealth headed by the British monarch to an independent republic, was defeated in 1999.



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