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Northern Mariana Islands:
Geography

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Northern Mariana Islands Page


Other pages in this profile of the Northern Mariana Islands:
People, Government, Economy, Communications & Transportation, Military & Transnational Issues.
Background
Definition
Under US administration as part of the UN Trust Territory of the Pacific, the people of the Northern Mariana Islands decided in the 1970s not to seek independence but instead to forge closer links with the US. Negotiations for territorial status began in 1972. A covenant to establish a commonwealth in political union with the US was approved in 1975, and came into force on 24 March 1976. A new government and constitution went into effect in 1978.
Location
Definition
Oceania, islands in the North Pacific Ocean, about three-quarters of the way from Hawaii to the Philippines
Geographic coordinates
Definition
15 12 N, 145 45 E
Map references
Definition
Oceania
Area
Definition - World rank and map
total: 477 sq km
land: 477 sq km
water: 0 sq km
note: includes 14 islands including Saipan, Rota, and Tinian
Area - comparative
Definition
2.5 times the size of Washington, DC
Land boundaries
Definition
0 km
Coastline
Definition
1,482 km
Maritime claims
Definition
territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
Climate
Definition
tropical marine; moderated by northeast trade winds, little seasonal temperature variation; dry season December to June, rainy season July to October
Terrain
Definition
southern islands are limestone with level terraces and fringing coral reefs; northern islands are volcanic
Elevation extremes
Definition
lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: unnamed location on Agrihan 965 m
Natural resources
Definition
arable land, fish
Land use
Definition - World rank and map
arable land: 13.04%
permanent crops: 4.35%
other: 82.61% (2005)
Irrigated land
Definition
NA
Natural hazards
Definition
active volcanoes on Pagan and Agrihan; typhoons (especially August to November)
Environment - current issues
Definition
contamination of groundwater on Saipan may contribute to disease; clean-up of landfill; protection of endangered species conflicts with development
Geography - note
Definition
strategic location in the North Pacific Ocean


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