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Solomon Islands:
Geography

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Solomon Islands Page


Other pages in this profile of the Solomon Islands:
People, Government, Economy, Communications & Transportation, Military & Transnational Issues.
Background
Definition
The UK established a protectorate over the Solomon Islands in the 1890s. Some of the bitterest fighting of World War II occurred on this archipelago. Self-government was achieved in 1976 and independence two years later. Ethnic violence, government malfeasance, and endemic crime have undermined stability and civil society. In June 2003, then Prime Minister Sir Allan KEMAKEZA sought the assistance of Australia in reestablishing law and order; the following month, an Australian-led multinational force arrived to restore peace and disarm ethnic militias. The Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands (RAMSI) has generally been effective in restoring law and order and rebuilding government institutions.
Location
Definition
Oceania, group of islands in the South Pacific Ocean, east of Papua New Guinea
Geographic coordinates
Definition
8 00 S, 159 00 E
Map references
Definition
Oceania
Area
Definition - World rank and map
total: 28,450 sq km
land: 27,540 sq km
water: 910 sq km
Area - comparative
Definition
slightly smaller than Maryland
Land boundaries
Definition
0 km
Coastline
Definition
5,313 km
Maritime claims
Definition
measured from claimed archipelagic baselines
territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm
Climate
Definition
tropical monsoon; few extremes of temperature and weather
Terrain
Definition
mostly rugged mountains with some low coral atolls
Elevation extremes
Definition
lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: Mount Makarakomburu 2,447 m
Natural resources
Definition
fish, forests, gold, bauxite, phosphates, lead, zinc, nickel
Land use
Definition - World rank and map
arable land: 0.62%
permanent crops: 2.04%
other: 97.34% (2005)
Irrigated land
Definition
NA
Total renewable water resources
Definition
44.7 cu km (1987)
Natural hazards
Definition
typhoons, but rarely destructive; geologically active region with frequent earthquakes, tremors, and volcanic activity; tsunamis
Environment - current issues
Definition
deforestation; soil erosion; many of the surrounding coral reefs are dead or dying
Environment - international agreements
Definition
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Environmental Modification, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note
Definition
strategic location on sea routes between the South Pacific Ocean, the Solomon Sea, and the Coral Sea; on 2 April 2007 an undersea earthquake measuring 8.1 on the Richter scale occurred 345 km WNW of the capital Honiara, the resulting tsunami devastated coastal areas of Western and Choiseul provinces with dozens of deaths and thousands dislocated; the provincial capital of Gizo was especially hard hit


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