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    United States Geography 1995

      Location: North America, between Canada and Mexico

      Map references: North America, Standard Time Zones of the World

      total area: 9,372,610 sq km
      land area: 9,166,600 sq km
      comparative area: about half the size of Russia; about three-tenths the size of Africa; about one-half the size of South America (or slightly larger than Brazil); slightly smaller than China; about two and one-half times the size of Western Europe
      note: includes only the 50 states and District of Columbia

      Land boundaries: total 12,248 km, Canada 8,893 km (including 2,477 km with Alaska), Cuba 29 km (US Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay), Mexico 3,326 km

      Coastline: 19,924 km

      Maritime claims:
      contiguous zone: 24 nm depth
      continental shelf: 200-m depth or to depth of exploitation
      exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
      territorial sea: 12 nm

      International disputes: maritime boundary disputes with Canada (Dixon Entrance, Beaufort Sea, Strait of Juan de Fuca); US Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay is leased from Cuba and only mutual agreement or US abandonment of the area can terminate the lease; Haiti claims Navassa Island; US has made no territorial claim in Antarctica (but has reserved the right to do so) and does not recognize the claims of any other nation; Republic of Marshall Islands claims Wake Island

      Climate: mostly temperate, but tropical in Hawaii and Florida and arctic in Alaska, semiarid in the great plains west of the Mississippi River and arid in the Great Basin of the southwest; low winter temperatures in the northwest are ameliorated occasionally in January and February by warm chinook winds from the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains

      Terrain: vast central plain, mountains in west, hills and low mountains in east; rugged mountains and broad river valleys in Alaska; rugged, volcanic topography in Hawaii

      Natural resources: coal, copper, lead, molybdenum, phosphates, uranium, bauxite, gold, iron, mercury, nickel, potash, silver, tungsten, zinc, petroleum, natural gas, timber

      Land use:
      arable land: 20%
      permanent crops: 0%
      meadows and pastures: 26%
      forest and woodland: 29%
      other: 25%

      Irrigated land: 181,020 sq km (1989 est.)

      current issues: air pollution resulting in acid rain in both the US and Canada; the US is the largest single emitter of carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels; water pollution from runoff of pesticides and fertilizers; sparse water resources in much of the western part of the country requires careful management; desertification
      natural hazards: tsunamis, volcanoes, and earthquake activity around Pacific Basin; hurricanes along the Atlantic coast; tornadoes in the midwest; mudslides in California; forest fires in the west; flooding; permafrost in northern Alaska is a major impediment to development
      international agreements: party to - Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Antarctic Treaty, Climate Change, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber, Wetlands, Whaling; signed, but not ratified - Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Biodiversity, Hazardous Wastes

      Note: world's fourth-largest country (after Russia, Canada, and China)

      NOTE: The information regarding United States on this page is re-published from the 1995 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of United States Geography 1995 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about United States Geography 1995 should be addressed to the CIA.

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    Revised 09-Aug-02
    Copyright © 2002 Photius Coutsoukis (all rights reserved)