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Christmas Island:
Geography

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Christmas Island Page


Other pages in this profile of Christmas Island:
People, Government, Economy, Communications & Transportation, Military & Transnational Issues.
Background
Definition
Named in 1643 for the day of its discovery, the island was annexed and settlement began by the UK in 1888. Phosphate mining began in the 1890s. The UK transferred sovereignty to Australia in 1958. Almost two-thirds of the island has been declared a national park.
Location
Definition
Southeastern Asia, island in the Indian Ocean, south of Indonesia
Geographic coordinates
Definition
10 30 S, 105 40 E
Map references
Definition
Southeast Asia
Area
Definition - World rank and map
total: 135 sq km
land: 135 sq km
water: 0 sq km
Area - comparative
Definition
about three-quarters the size of Washington, DC
Land boundaries
Definition
0 km
Coastline
Definition
138.9 km
Maritime claims
Definition
territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 12 nm
exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm
Climate
Definition
tropical with a wet season (December to April) and dry season; heat and humidity moderated by trade winds
Terrain
Definition
steep cliffs along coast rise abruptly to central plateau
Elevation extremes
Definition
lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m
highest point: Murray Hill 361 m
Natural resources
Definition
phosphate, beaches
Land use
Definition - World rank and map
arable land: 0%
permanent crops: 0%
other: 100% (mainly tropical rainforest; 63% of the island is a national park) (2005)
Irrigated land
Definition
NA
Natural hazards
Definition
the narrow fringing reef surrounding the island can be a maritime hazard
Environment - current issues
Definition
loss of rainforest; impact of phosphate mining
Geography - note
Definition
located along major sea lanes of Indian Ocean


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