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Marshall Islands:
Geography

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Marshall Islands Page


Other pages in this profile of the Marshall Islands:
People, Government, Economy, Communications & Transportation, Military & Transnational Issues.
Background
Definition
After almost four decades under US administration as the easternmost part of the UN Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, the Marshall Islands attained independence in 1986 under a Compact of Free Association. Compensation claims continue as a result of US nuclear testing on some of the atolls between 1947 and 1962. The Marshall Islands hosts the US Army Kwajalein Atoll (USAKA) Reagan Missile Test Site, a key installation in the US missile defense network.
Location
Definition
Oceania, two archipelagic island chains of 29 atolls, each made up of many small islets, and five single islands in the North Pacific Ocean, about half way between Hawaii and Australia
Geographic coordinates
Definition
9 00 N, 168 00 E
Map references
Definition
Oceania
Area
Definition - World rank and map
total: 181.3 sq km
land: 181.3 sq km
water: 0 sq km
note: the archipelago includes 11,673 sq km of lagoon waters and includes the atolls of Bikini, Enewetak, Kwajalein, Majuro, Rongelap, and Utirik
Area - comparative
Definition
about the size of Washington, DC
Land boundaries
Definition
0 km
Coastline
Definition
370.4 km
Maritime claims
Definition
territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
Climate
Definition
tropical; hot and humid; wet season May to November; islands border typhoon belt
Terrain
Definition
low coral limestone and sand islands
Elevation extremes
Definition
lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: unnamed location on Likiep 10 m
Natural resources
Definition
coconut products, marine products, deep seabed minerals
Land use
Definition - World rank and map
arable land: 11.11%
permanent crops: 44.44%
other: 44.45% (2005)
Irrigated land
Definition
0 sq km
Natural hazards
Definition
infrequent typhoons
Environment - current issues
Definition
inadequate supplies of potable water; pollution of Majuro lagoon from household waste and discharges from fishing vessels
Environment - international agreements
Definition
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note
Definition
the Marshall Islands Bikini and Enewetak are former US nuclear test sites; Kwajalein, the famous World War II battleground, is used as a US missile test range; island city of Ebeye is the second largest settlement in the Marshall Islands, after the capital of Majuro, and one of the most densely populated locations in the Pacific


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