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Palau:
Geography

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Palau Page


Background
Definition
After three decades as part of the UN Trust Territory of the Pacific under US administration, this westernmost cluster of the Caroline Islands opted for independence in 1978 rather than join the Federated States of Micronesia. A Compact of Free Association with the US was approved in 1986, but not ratified until 1993. It entered into force the following year, when the islands gained independence.
Location
Definition
Oceania, group of islands in the North Pacific Ocean, southeast of the Philippines
Geographic coordinates
Definition
7 30 N, 134 30 E
Map references
Definition
Oceania
Area
Definition - World rank and map
total: 458 sq km
land: 458 sq km
water: 0 sq km
Area - comparative
Definition
slightly more than 2.5 times the size of Washington, DC
Land boundaries
Definition
0 km
Coastline
Definition
1,519 km
Maritime claims
Definition
territorial sea: 3 nm
exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm
Climate
Definition
tropical; hot and humid; wet season May to November
Terrain
Definition
varying geologically from the high, mountainous main island of Babelthuap to low, coral islands usually fringed by large barrier reefs
Elevation extremes
Definition
lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: Mount Ngerchelchuus 242 m
Natural resources
Definition
forests, minerals (especially gold), marine products, deep-seabed minerals
Land use
Definition - World rank and map
arable land: 8.7%
permanent crops: 4.35%
other: 86.95% (2005)
Irrigated land
Definition
NA
Natural hazards
Definition
typhoons (June to December)
Environment - current issues
Definition
inadequate facilities for disposal of solid waste; threats to the marine ecosystem from sand and coral dredging, illegal fishing practices, and overfishing
Environment - international agreements
Definition
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note
Definition
westernmost archipelago in the Caroline chain, consists of six island groups totaling more than 300 islands; includes World War II battleground of Beliliou (Peleliu) and world-famous rock islands


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