Sri Lanka/Geography

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Location: Southern Asia, island in the Indian Ocean, south of India

Geographic coordinates: 7 00 N, 81 00 E

Map references: Asia

Area:
total: 65,610 sq km
land: 64,740 sq km
water: 870 sq km

Area - comparative: slightly larger than West Virginia

Land boundaries: 0 km

Coastline: 1,340 km

Maritime claims:
contiguous zone: 24 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
territorial sea: 12 nm

Climate: tropical monsoon; northeast monsoon (December to March); southwest monsoon (June to October)

Terrain: mostly low, flat to rolling plain; mountains in south-central interior

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m
highest point: Pidurutalagala 2,524 m

Natural resources: limestone, graphite, mineral sands, gems, phosphates, clay, hydropower

Land use:
arable land: 14%
permanent crops: 15%
permanent pastures: 7%
forests and woodland: 32%
other: 32% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: 5,500 sq km (1993 est.)

Natural hazards: occasional cyclones and tornadoes

Environment - current issues: deforestation; soil erosion; wildlife populations threatened by poaching and urbanization; coastal degradation from mining activities and increased pollution; freshwater resources being polluted by industrial wastes and sewage runoff; waste disposal; air pollution in Colombo

Environment - international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Marine Life Conservation

Geography - note: strategic location near major Indian Ocean sea lanes