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Field Listing :: Geography - note
This entry includes miscellaneous geographic information of significance not included elsewhere.
By Country Listing of the values for the Geography - note field
Country Geography - note
Afghanistan
landlocked; the Hindu Kush mountains that run northeast to southwest divide the northern provinces from the rest of the country; the highest peaks are in the northern Vakhan (Wakhan Corridor)
Akrotiri
British extraterritorial rights also extended to several small off-post sites scattered across Cyprus; of the Sovereign Base Area (SBA) land, 60% is privately owned and farmed, 20% is owned by the Ministry of Defense, and 20% is SBA Crown land
Albania
strategic location along Strait of Otranto (links Adriatic Sea to Ionian Sea and Mediterranean Sea)
Algeria
largest country in Africa but 80% desert; canyons and caves in the southern Hoggar Mountains and in the barren Tassili n'Ajjer area in the southeast of the country contain numerous examples of prehistoric art - rock paintings and carvings depicting human activities and wild and domestic animals (elephants, giraffes, cattle) - that date to the African Humid Period, roughly 11,000 to 5,000 years ago, when the region was completely vegetated
American Samoa
Pago Pago has one of the best natural deepwater harbors in the South Pacific Ocean, sheltered by shape from rough seas and protected by peripheral mountains from high winds; strategic location in the South Pacific Ocean
Andorra
landlocked; straddles a number of important crossroads in the Pyrenees
Angola
the province of Cabinda is an exclave, separated from the rest of the country by the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Anguilla
the most northerly of the Leeward Islands in the Lesser Antilles
Antarctica
the coldest, windiest, highest (on average), and driest continent; during summer, more solar radiation reaches the surface at the South Pole than is received at the Equator in an equivalent period; mostly uninhabitable, 98% of the land area is covered by the Antarctic ice sheet, the largest single mass of ice on earth covering an area of 14 million sq km (5.4 million sq mi) and containing 26.5 million cu km (6.4 million cu mi) of ice (this is almost 62% of all of the world's fresh water); if all this ice were converted to liquid water, one estimate is that it would be sufficient to raise the height of the world's oceans by 58 m (190 ft)
Antigua and Barbuda
Antigua has a deeply indented shoreline with many natural harbors and beaches; Barbuda has a large western harbor
Arctic Ocean
major chokepoint is the southern Chukchi Sea (northern access to the Pacific Ocean via the Bering Strait); strategic location between North America and Russia; shortest marine link between the extremes of eastern and western Russia; floating research stations operated by the US and Russia; maximum snow cover in March or April about 20 to 50 centimeters over the frozen ocean; snow cover lasts about 10 months
Argentina
second-largest country in South America (after Brazil); strategic location relative to sea lanes between the South Atlantic and the South Pacific Oceans (Strait of Magellan, Beagle Channel, Drake Passage); diverse geophysical landscapes range from tropical climates in the north to tundra in the far south; Cerro Aconcagua is the Western Hemisphere's tallest mountain, while Laguna del Carbon is the lowest point in the Western Hemisphere; shares Iguazu Falls, the world's largest waterfalls system, with Brazil
Armenia
landlocked in the Lesser Caucasus Mountains; Sevana Lich (Lake Sevan) is the largest lake in this mountain range
Aruba
a flat, riverless island renowned for its white sand beaches; its tropical climate is moderated by constant trade winds from the Atlantic Ocean; the temperature is almost constant at about 27 degrees Celsius (81 degrees Fahrenheit)
Ashmore and Cartier Islands
Ashmore Reef National Nature Reserve established in August 1983; Cartier Island Marine Reserve established in 2000
Atlantic Ocean
major chokepoints include the Dardanelles, Strait of Gibraltar, access to the Panama and Suez Canals; strategic straits include the Strait of Dover, Straits of Florida, Mona Passage, The Sound (Oresund), and Windward Passage; the Equator divides the Atlantic Ocean into the North Atlantic Ocean and South Atlantic Ocean
Australia
world's smallest continent but sixth-largest country; the largest country in Oceania, the largest country entirely in the Southern Hemisphere, and the largest country without land borders; the only continent without glaciers; population concentrated along the eastern and southeastern coasts; the invigorating sea breeze known as the "Fremantle Doctor" affects the city of Perth on the west coast and is one of the most consistent winds in the world
Austria
landlocked; strategic location at the crossroads of central Europe with many easily traversable Alpine passes and valleys; major river is the Danube; population is concentrated on eastern lowlands because of steep slopes, poor soils, and low temperatures elsewhere
Azerbaijan
both the main area of the country and the Naxcivan exclave are landlocked
Bahamas, The
strategic location adjacent to US and Cuba; extensive island chain of which 30 are inhabited
Bahrain
close to primary Middle Eastern petroleum sources; strategic location in Persian Gulf, through which much of the Western world's petroleum must transit to reach open ocean
Bangladesh
most of the country is situated on deltas of large rivers flowing from the Himalayas: the Ganges unites with the Jamuna (main channel of the Brahmaputra) and later joins the Meghna to eventually empty into the Bay of Bengal
Barbados
easternmost Caribbean island
Belarus
landlocked; glacial scouring accounts for the flatness of Belarusian terrain and for its 11,000 lakes
Belgium
crossroads of Western Europe; most West European capitals are within 1,000 km of Brussels, the seat of both the European Union and NATO
Belize
only country in Central America without a coastline on the North Pacific Ocean
Benin
sandbanks create difficult access to a coast with no natural harbors, river mouths, or islands
Bermuda
consists of about 138 coral islands and islets with ample rainfall, but no rivers or freshwater lakes; some land was leased by the US Government from 1941 to 1995
Bhutan
landlocked; strategic location between China and India; controls several key Himalayan mountain passes
Bolivia
landlocked; shares control of Lago Titicaca, world's highest navigable lake (elevation 3,805 m), with Peru
Bosnia and Herzegovina
within Bosnia and Herzegovina's recognized borders, the country is divided into a joint Bosniak/Croat Federation (about 51% of the territory) and the Bosnian Serb-led Republika Srpska or RS (about 49% of the territory); the region called Herzegovina is contiguous to Croatia and Montenegro, and traditionally has been settled by an ethnic Croat majority in the west and an ethnic Serb majority in the east
Botswana
landlocked; population concentrated in eastern part of the country
Bouvet Island
covered by glacial ice; declared a nature reserve by Norway
Brazil
largest country in South America and in the Southern Hemisphere; shares common boundaries with every South American country except Chile and Ecuador; most of the Pantanal, the world's largest tropical wetland, extends through the west central part of the country; shares Iguazu Falls, the world's largest waterfalls system, with Argentina
British Indian Ocean Territory

note 1: archipelago of 55 islands; Diego Garcia, the largest and southernmost island, occupies a strategic location in the central Indian Ocean; the island is the site of a joint US-UK military facility

note 2: Diego Garcia is the only inhabited island of the BIOT and one of only two British territories where traffic drives on the right, the other being Gibraltar

British Virgin Islands
strong ties to nearby US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico
Brunei
*/close to vital sea lanes through South China Sea linking Indian and Pacific Oceans; two parts physically separated by Malaysia; the eastern part, the Temburong district, is an exclave and is almost an enclave within Malaysia
Bulgaria
strategic location near Turkish Straits; controls key land routes from Europe to Middle East and Asia
Burkina Faso
landlocked savanna cut by the three principal rivers of the Black, Red, and White Voltas
Burma
strategic location near major Indian Ocean shipping lanes; the north-south flowing Irrawaddy River is the country's largest and most important commercial waterway
Burundi
landlocked; straddles crest of the Nile-Congo watershed; the Kagera, which drains into Lake Victoria, is the most remote headstream of the White Nile
Cabo Verde
strategic location 500 km from west coast of Africa near major north-south sea routes; important communications station; important sea and air refueling site
Cambodia
a land of paddies and forests dominated by the Mekong River and Tonle Sap (Southeast Asia's largest freshwater lake)
Cameroon
sometimes referred to as the hinge of Africa because of its central location on the continent and its position at the west-south juncture of the Gulf of Guinea; throughout the country there are areas of thermal springs and indications of current or prior volcanic activity; Mount Cameroon, the highest mountain in Sub-Saharan west Africa, is an active volcano
Canada

note 1: second-largest country in world (after Russia) and largest in the Americas; strategic location between Russia and US via north polar route; approximately 90% of the population is concentrated within 160 km (100 mi) of the US border

note 2: Canada has more fresh water than any other country and almost 9% of Canadian territory is water; Canada has at least 2 million and possibly over 3 million lakes - that is more than all other countries combined

Cayman Islands
important location between Cuba and Central America
Central African Republic
landlocked; almost the precise center of Africa
Chad

note 1: Chad is the largest of Africa's 16 landlocked countries

note 2: not long ago - geologically speaking - what is today the Sahara was green savannah teeming with wildlife; during the African Humid Period, roughly 11,000 to 5,000 years ago, a vibrant animal community, including elephants, giraffes, hippos, and antelope lived there; the last remnant of the "Green Sahara" exists in the Lakes of Ounianga (oo-nee-ahn-ga) in northern Chad, a series of 18 interconnected freshwater, saline, and hypersaline lakes now protected as a World Heritage site

note 3: Lake Chad, the most significant water body in the Sahel, is a remnant of a former inland sea, paleolake Mega-Chad; at its greatest extent, sometime before 5000 B.C., Lake Mega-Chad was the largest of four Saharan paleolakes that existed during the African Humid Period; it covered an area of about 400,000 sq km (150,000 sq mi), roughly the size of today's Caspian Sea

Chile

note 1: the longest north-south trending country in the world, extending across 39 degrees of latitude; strategic location relative to sea lanes between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans (Strait of Magellan, Beagle Channel, Drake Passage)

note 2: Chile is one of the countries along the Ring of Fire, a belt of active volcanoes and earthquake epicenters bordering the Pacific Ocean; up to 90% of the world's earthquakes and some 75% of the world's volcanoes occur within the Ring of Fire

note 3: the Atacama Desert - the driest desert in the world - spreads across the northern part of the country; the small crater lake of Ojos del Salado is the world's highest lake (at 6,390 m)

China
world's fourth largest country (after Russia, Canada, and US) and largest country situated entirely in Asia; Mount Everest on the border with Nepal is the world's tallest peak above sea level
Christmas Island
located along major sea lanes of the Indian Ocean
Clipperton Island
the atoll reef is approximately 12 km (7.5 mi) in circumference; an attempt to colonize the atoll in the early 20th century ended in disaster and was abandoned in 1917
Cocos (Keeling) Islands
islands are thickly covered with coconut palms and other vegetation; site of a World War I naval battle in November 1914 between the Australian light cruiser HMAS Sydney and the German raider SMS Emden; after being heavily damaged in the engagement, the Emden was beached by her captain on North Keeling Island
Colombia
only South American country with coastlines on both the North Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea
Comoros
important location at northern end of Mozambique Channel
Congo, Democratic Republic of the

note 1: second largest country in Africa (after Algeria) and largest country in Sub-Saharan Africa; straddles the equator; dense tropical rain forest in central river basin and eastern highlands; the narrow strip of land that controls the lower Congo River is the DRC's only outlet to the South Atlantic Ocean

note 2: because of its speed, cataracts, rapids, and turbulence the Congo River, most of which flows through the DRC, has never been accurately measured along much of its length; nonetheless, it is conceded to be the deepest river in the world; estimates of its greatest depth vary between 220 and 250 meters

Congo, Republic of the
about 70% of the population lives in Brazzaville, Pointe-Noire, or along the railroad between them
Cook Islands
the northern Cook Islands are seven low-lying, sparsely populated, coral atolls; the southern Cook Islands, where most of the population lives, consist of eight elevated, fertile, volcanic isles, including the largest, Rarotonga, at 67 sq km
Coral Sea Islands
important nesting area for birds and turtles
Costa Rica
four volcanoes, two of them active, rise near the capital of San Jose in the center of the country; one of the volcanoes, Irazu, erupted destructively in 1963-65
Cote d'Ivoire
most of the inhabitants live along the sandy coastal region; apart from the capital area, the forested interior is sparsely populated
Croatia
controls most land routes from Western Europe to Aegean Sea and Turkish Straits; most Adriatic Sea islands lie off the coast of Croatia - some 1,200 islands, islets, ridges, and rocks
Cuba
largest country in Caribbean and westernmost island of the Greater Antilles
Curacao

Curacao is a part of the Windward Islands (southern) group in the Lesser Antilles

Cyprus
the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea (after Sicily and Sardinia); several small Cypriot enclaves exist within the Dhekelia Sovereign Base Area
Czechia
landlocked; strategically located astride some of oldest and most significant land routes in Europe; Moravian Gate is a traditional military corridor between the North European Plain and the Danube in central Europe
Denmark
composed of the Jutland Peninsula and a group of more than 400 islands (Danish Archipelago); controls Danish Straits (Skagerrak and Kattegat) linking Baltic and North Seas; about one-quarter of the population lives in greater Copenhagen
Dhekelia
British extraterritorial rights also extended to several small off-post sites scattered across Cyprus; several small Cypriot enclaves exist within the Sovereign Base Area (SBA); of the SBA land, 60% is privately owned and farmed, 20% is owned by the Ministry of Defense, and 20% is SBA Crown land
Djibouti
strategic location near world's busiest shipping lanes and close to Arabian oilfields; terminus of rail traffic into Ethiopia; mostly wasteland; Lac Assal (Lake Assal) is the lowest point in Africa and the saltiest lake in the world
Dominica
known as "The Nature Island of the Caribbean" due to its spectacular, lush, and varied flora and fauna, which are protected by an extensive natural park system; the most mountainous of the Lesser Antilles, its volcanic peaks are cones of lava craters and include Boiling Lake, the second-largest, thermally active lake in the world
Dominican Republic
shares island of Hispaniola with Haiti (eastern two-thirds makes up the Dominican Republic, western one-third is Haiti); the second largest country in the Antilles (after Cuba); geographically diverse with the Caribbean's tallest mountain, Pico Duarte, and lowest elevation and largest lake, Lago Enriquillo
Ecuador
Cotopaxi in Andes is highest active volcano in world
Egypt
controls Sinai Peninsula, the only land bridge between Africa and remainder of Eastern Hemisphere; controls Suez Canal, a sea link between Indian Ocean and Mediterranean Sea; size, and juxtaposition to Israel, establish its major role in Middle Eastern geopolitics; dependence on upstream neighbors; dominance of Nile basin issues; prone to influxes of refugees from Sudan and the Palestinian territories
El Salvador
smallest Central American country and only one without a coastline on the Caribbean Sea
Equatorial Guinea
insular and continental regions widely separated; despite its name, no part of the Equator passes through Equatorial Guinea; the mainland part of the country is located just north of the Equator
Eritrea
strategic geopolitical position along world's busiest shipping lanes; Eritrea retained the entire coastline of Ethiopia along the Red Sea upon de jure independence from Ethiopia on 24 May 1993
Estonia
the mainland terrain is flat, boggy, and partly wooded; offshore lie more than 1,500 islands
Eswatini
landlocked; almost completely surrounded by South Africa
Ethiopia
landlocked - entire coastline along the Red Sea was lost with the de jure independence of Eritrea on 24 May 1993; Ethiopia is, therefore, the most populous landlocked country in the world; the Blue Nile, the chief headstream of the Nile by water volume, rises in T'ana Hayk (Lake Tana) in northwest Ethiopia; three major crops are believed to have originated in Ethiopia: coffee, grain sorghum, and castor bean
Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)
deeply indented coast provides good natural harbors; short growing season
Faroe Islands
archipelago of 17 inhabited islands and one uninhabited island, and a few uninhabited islets; strategically located along important sea lanes in northeastern Atlantic; precipitous terrain limits habitation to small coastal lowlands
Fiji
includes 332 islands; approximately 110 are inhabited
Finland
long boundary with Russia; Helsinki is northernmost national capital on European continent; population concentrated on small southwestern coastal plain
France
largest West European nation; most major French rivers - the Meuse, Seine, Loire, Charente, Dordogne, and Garonne - flow northward or westward into the Atlantic Ocean, only the Rhone flows southward into the Mediterranean Sea
French Polynesia
includes five archipelagoes: four volcanic (Iles Gambier, Iles Marquises, Iles Tubuai, Society Islands) and one coral (Archipel des Tuamotu); the Tuamotu Archipelago forms the largest group of atolls in the world - 78 in total, 48 inhabited; Makatea in the Tuamotu Archipelago is one of the three great phosphate rock islands in the Pacific Ocean - the others are Banaba (Ocean Island) in Kiribati and Nauru
French Southern and Antarctic Lands

islands' component is widely scattered across remote locations in the southern Indian Ocean

Bassas da India (Iles Eparses): atoll is a circular reef atop a long-extinct, submerged volcano;

Europa Island and Juan de Nova Island (Iles Eparses): wildlife sanctuary for seabirds and sea turtles;

Glorioso Island (Iles Eparses): islands and rocks are surrounded by an extensive reef system;

Tromelin Island (Iles Eparses): climatologically important location for forecasting cyclones in the western Indian Ocean; wildlife sanctuary (seabirds, tortoises)

Gabon
a small population and oil and mineral reserves have helped Gabon become one of Africa's wealthier countries; in general, these circumstances have allowed the country to maintain and conserve its pristine rain forest and rich biodiversity
Gambia, The
almost an enclave of Senegal; smallest country on the African mainland
Gaza Strip
strategic strip of land along Mideast-North African trade routes has experienced an incredibly turbulent history; the town of Gaza itself has been besieged countless times in its history; there are no Israeli settlements in the Gaza Strip; the Gaza Strip settlements were evacuated in 2005 (2017)
Georgia
strategically located east of the Black Sea; Georgia controls much of the Caucasus Mountains and the routes through them; Krubera Cave in the western part of the country is the deepest-known cave in the world; at -2,197 m it is the only known cave on earth deeper than 2,000 m
Germany
strategic location on North European Plain and along the entrance to the Baltic Sea; most major rivers in Germany - the Rhine, Weser, Oder, Elbe - flow northward; the Danube, which originates in the Black Forest, flows eastward
Ghana
Lake Volta is the world's largest artificial lake (manmade reservoir) by surface area (8,482 sq km; 3,275 sq mi); the lake was created following the completion of the Akosombo Dam in 1965, which holds back the White Volta and Black Volta Rivers
Gibraltar

note 1: strategic location on Strait of Gibraltar that links the North Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea

note 2: one of only two British territories where traffic drives on the right, the other being the island of Diego Garcia in the British Indian Ocean Territory

Greece
strategic location dominating the Aegean Sea and southern approach to Turkish Straits; a peninsular country, possessing an archipelago of about 2,000 islands
Greenland
dominates North Atlantic Ocean between North America and Europe; sparse population confined to small settlements along coast; close to one-quarter of the population lives in the capital, Nuuk; world's second largest ice sheet after that of Antarctica covering an area of 1.71 million sq km (660,000 sq mi) or about 79% of the island, and containing 2.85 million cu km (684 thousand cu mi) of ice (this is almost 7% of all of the world's fresh water); if all this ice were converted to liquid water, one estimate is that it would be sufficient to raise the height of the world's oceans by 7.2 m (24 ft)
Grenada
the administration of the islands of the Grenadines group is divided between Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Grenada
Guam
largest and southernmost island in the Mariana Islands archipelago and the largest island in Micronesia; strategic location in western North Pacific Ocean
Guatemala

note 1: despite having both eastern and western coastlines (Caribbean Sea and Pacific Ocean respectively), there are no natural harbors on the west coast

note 2: Guatemala is one of the countries along the Ring of Fire, a belt of active volcanoes and earthquake epicenters bordering the Pacific Ocean; up to 90% of the world's earthquakes and some 75% of the world's volcanoes occur within the Ring of Fire

Guernsey
large, deepwater harbor at Saint Peter Port
Guinea
the Niger and its important tributary the Milo River have their sources in the Guinean highlands
Guinea-Bissau
this small country is swampy along its western coast and low-lying inland
Guyana
the third-smallest country in South America after Suriname and Uruguay; substantial portions of its western and eastern territories are claimed by Venezuela and Suriname respectively; contains some of the largest unspoiled rainforests on the continent
Haiti
shares island of Hispaniola with Dominican Republic (western one-third is Haiti, eastern two-thirds is the Dominican Republic); it is the most mountainous nation in the Caribbean
Heard Island and McDonald Islands
Mawson Peak on Heard Island is the highest Australian mountain (at 2,745 meters, it is taller than Mt. Kosciuszko in Australia proper), and one of only two active volcanoes located in Australian territory, the other being McDonald Island; in 1992, McDonald Island broke its dormancy and began erupting; it has erupted several times since, most recently in 2005
Holy See (Vatican City)
landlocked; an enclave in Rome, Italy; world's smallest state; beyond the territorial boundary of Vatican City, the Lateran Treaty of 1929 grants the Holy See extraterritorial authority over 23 sites in Rome and five outside of Rome, including the Pontifical Palace at Castel Gandolfo (the Pope's summer residence)
Honduras
has only a short Pacific coast but a long Caribbean shoreline, including the virtually uninhabited eastern Mosquito Coast
Hong Kong
consists of a mainland area (the New Territories) and more than 200 islands
Howland Island
almost totally covered with grasses, prostrate vines, and low-growing shrubs; small area of trees in the center; primarily a nesting, roosting, and foraging habitat for seabirds, shorebirds, and marine wildlife
Hungary
landlocked; strategic location astride main land routes between Western Europe and Balkan Peninsula as well as between Ukraine and Mediterranean basin; the north-south flowing Duna (Danube) and Tisza Rivers divide the country into three large regions
Iceland
strategic location between Greenland and Europe; westernmost European country; Reykjavik is the northernmost national capital in the world; more land covered by glaciers than in all of continental Europe
India
dominates South Asian subcontinent; near important Indian Ocean trade routes; Kanchenjunga, third tallest mountain in the world, lies on the border with Nepal
Indian Ocean
major chokepoints include Bab el Mandeb, Strait of Hormuz, Strait of Malacca, southern access to the Suez Canal, and the Lombok Strait
Indonesia

note 1: according to Indonesia's National Coordinating Agency for Survey and Mapping, the total number of islands in the archipelago is 13,466, of which 922 are permanently inhabited (Indonesia is the world's largest country comprised solely of islands); the country straddles the equator and occupies a strategic location astride or along major sea lanes from the Indian Ocean to the Pacific Ocean

note 2: Indonesia is one of the countries along the Ring of Fire, a belt of active volcanoes and earthquake epicenters bordering the Pacific Ocean; up to 90% of the world's earthquakes and some 75% of the world's volcanoes occur within the Ring of Fire

note 3: despite having the fourth largest population in the world, Indonesia is the most heavily forested region on earth after the Amazon

Iran
strategic location on the Persian Gulf and Strait of Hormuz, which are vital maritime pathways for crude oil transport
Iraq
strategic location on Shatt al Arab waterway and at the head of the Persian Gulf
Ireland
strategic location on major air and sea routes between North America and northern Europe; over 40% of the population resides within 100 km of Dublin
Isle of Man
one small islet, the Calf of Man, lies to the southwest and is a bird sanctuary
Israel
Lake Tiberias (Sea of Galilee) is an important freshwater source; the Dead Sea is the second saltiest body of water in the world (after Lake Assal in Djibouti); in 2017, there were 422 settlements in the Israeli-occupied territories - 42 settlements in the Golan Heights, 380 sites in the occupied Palestinian territories to include 213 settlements and 132 outposts in the West Bank, and 35 settlements in East Jerusalem; there are no Israeli settlements in the Gaza Strip, as all were evacuated in 2005 (2017)
Italy
strategic location dominating central Mediterranean as well as southern sea and air approaches to Western Europe
Jamaica
third largest island in the Caribbean (after Cuba and Hispaniola); strategic location between Cayman Trench and Jamaica Channel, the main sea lanes for the Panama Canal
Jan Mayen
barren volcanic spoon-shaped island with some moss and grass flora; island consists of two parts: a larger northeast Nord-Jan (the spoon "bowl") and the smaller Sor-Jan (the "handle"), linked by a 2.5 km-wide isthmus (the "stem") with two large lakes, Sorlaguna (South Lagoon) and Nordlaguna (North Lagoon)
Japan

note 1: strategic location in northeast Asia; composed of four main islands - from north: Hokkaido, Honshu (the largest and most populous), Shikoku, and Kyushu (the "Home Islands") - and 6,848 smaller islands and islets

note 2: Japan annually records the most earthquakes in the world; it is one of the countries along the Ring of Fire, a belt of active volcanoes and earthquake epicenters bordering the Pacific Ocean; up to 90% of the world's earthquakes and some 75% of the world's volcanoes occur within the Ring of Fire

Jarvis Island
sparse bunch grass, prostrate vines, and low-growing shrubs; primarily a nesting, roosting, and foraging habitat for seabirds, shorebirds, and marine wildlife
Jersey
largest and southernmost of Channel Islands; about 30% of population concentrated in Saint Helier
Johnston Atoll
strategic location in the North Pacific Ocean; Johnston Island and Sand Island are natural islands, which have been expanded by coral dredging; North Island (Akau) and East Island (Hikina) are manmade islands formed from coral dredging; the egg-shaped reef is 34 km in circumference; closed to the public; a former US nuclear weapons test site; site of now-closed Johnston Atoll Chemical Agent Disposal System (JACADS); most facilities dismantled and cleanup complete in 2004; some low-growing vegetation
Jordan
strategic location at the head of the Gulf of Aqaba and as the Arab country that shares the longest border with Israel and the occupied West Bank
Kazakhstan
world's largest landlocked country and one of only two landlocked countries in the world that extends into two continents (the other is Azerbaijan); Russia leases approximately 6,000 sq km of territory enclosing the Baykonur Cosmodrome; in January 2004, Kazakhstan and Russia extended the lease to 2050
Kenya
the Kenyan Highlands comprise one of the most successful agricultural production regions in Africa; glaciers are found on Mount Kenya, Africa's second highest peak; unique physiography supports abundant and varied wildlife of scientific and economic value
Kingman Reef
barren coral atoll with deep interior lagoon; closed to the public
Kiribati
21 of the 33 islands are inhabited; Banaba (Ocean Island) in Kiribati is one of the three great phosphate rock islands in the Pacific Ocean - the others are Makatea in French Polynesia, and Nauru; Kiribati is the only country in the world to fall into all four hemispheres (northern, southern, eastern, and western)
Korea, North
strategic location bordering China, South Korea, and Russia; mountainous interior is isolated and sparsely populated
Korea, South
strategic location on Korea Strait; about 3,000 mostly small and uninhabited islands lie off the western and southern coasts
Kosovo
the 41-km long Nerodimka River divides into two branches each of which flows into a different sea: the northern branch flows into the Sitnica River, which via the Ibar, Morava, and Danube Rivers ultimately flows into the Black Sea; the southern branch flows via the Lepenac and Vardar Rivers into the Aegean Sea
Kuwait
strategic location at head of Persian Gulf
Kyrgyzstan
landlocked; entirely mountainous, dominated by the Tien Shan range; 94% of the country is 1,000 m above sea level with an average elevation of 2,750 m; many tall peaks, glaciers, and high-altitude lakes
Laos
landlocked; most of the country is mountainous and thickly forested; the Mekong River forms a large part of the western boundary with Thailand
Latvia
most of the country is composed of fertile low-lying plains with some hills in the east
Lebanon
smallest country in continental Asia; Nahr el Litani is the only major river in Near East not crossing an international boundary; rugged terrain historically helped isolate, protect, and develop numerous factional groups based on religion, clan, and ethnicity
Lesotho
landlocked, an enclave of (completely surrounded by) South Africa; mountainous, more than 80% of the country is 1,800 m above sea level
Liberia
facing the Atlantic Ocean, the coastline is characterized by lagoons, mangrove swamps, and river-deposited sandbars; the inland grassy plateau supports limited agriculture
Libya
note 1: more than 90% of the country is desert or semidesert

note 2: the volcano Waw an Namus lies in south central Libya in the middle of the Sahara; the caldera is an oasis - the name means "oasis of mosquitoes" - containing several small lakes surrounded by vegetation and hosting various insects and a large diversity of birds
Liechtenstein
along with Uzbekistan, one of only two doubly landlocked countries in the world; variety of microclimatic variations based on elevation
Lithuania
fertile central plains are separated by hilly uplands that are ancient glacial deposits
Luxembourg
landlocked; the only grand duchy in the world
Macau
essentially urban; an area of land reclaimed from the sea measuring 5.2 sq km and known as Cotai now connects the islands of Coloane and Taipa; the island area is connected to the mainland peninsula by three bridges
Macedonia
landlocked; major transportation corridor from Western and Central Europe to Aegean Sea and Southern Europe to Western Europe
Madagascar
world's fourth-largest island; strategic location along Mozambique Channel; despite Madagascar’s close proximity to the African continent, ocean currents isolate the island resulting in high rates of endemic plant and animal species; approximately 90% of the flora and fauna on the island are found nowhere else
Malawi
landlocked; Lake Nyasa, some 580 km long, is the country's most prominent physical feature; it contains more fish species than any other lake on earth
Malaysia
strategic location along Strait of Malacca and southern South China Sea
Maldives
smallest Asian country; archipelago of 1,190 coral islands grouped into 26 atolls (200 inhabited islands, plus 80 islands with tourist resorts); strategic location astride and along major sea lanes in Indian Ocean
Mali
landlocked; divided into three natural zones: the southern, cultivated Sudanese; the central, semiarid Sahelian; and the northern, arid Saharan
Malta
the country comprises an archipelago, with only the three largest islands (Malta, Ghawdex or Gozo, and Kemmuna or Comino) inhabited; numerous bays provide good harbors; Malta and Tunisia are discussing the commercial exploitation of the continental shelf between their countries, particularly for oil exploration
Marshall Islands
the islands of Bikini and Enewetak are former US nuclear test sites; Kwajalein atoll, famous as a World War II battleground, surrounds the world's largest lagoon and is used as a US missile test range; the 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
Mauritania
Mauritania is considered both a part of North Africa's Maghreb region and West Africa's Sahel region; most of the population is concentrated in the cities of Nouakchott and Nouadhibou and along the Senegal River in the southern part of the country
Mauritius
the main island, from which the country derives its name, is of volcanic origin and is almost entirely surrounded by coral reefs; former home of the dodo, a large flightless bird related to pigeons, driven to extinction by the end of the 17th century through a combination of hunting and the introduction of predatory species
Mexico

note 1: strategic location on southern border of US; corn (maize), one of the world's major grain crops, almost certainly originated in Mexico

note 2: Mexico is one of the countries along the Ring of Fire, a belt of active volcanoes and earthquake epicenters bordering the Pacific Ocean; up to 90% of the world's earthquakes and some 75% of the world's volcanoes occur within the Ring of Fire

Micronesia, Federated States of
composed of four major island groups totaling 607 islands
Midway Islands
the coral atoll is managed as a national wildlife refuge and was open to the public for ecotourism from 1996 to 2002 and then again from 2008 to 2012; in 2000, the lands and waters of the Midway National Wildlife Refuge were also designated as the Battle of Midway National Monument; Henderson Airfield on Sand Island continues to serve as an emergency landing field for military and civilian aircraft transiting the Pacific Ocean (2016)
Moldova
landlocked; well endowed with various sedimentary rocks and minerals including sand, gravel, gypsum, and limestone
Monaco
second-smallest independent state in the world (after the Holy See); smallest country with a coastline; almost entirely urban
Mongolia
landlocked; strategic location between China and Russia
Montenegro
strategic location along the Adriatic coast
Montserrat
the island is entirely volcanic in origin and comprised of three major volcanic centers of differing ages
Morocco
strategic location along Strait of Gibraltar; the only African nation to have both Atlantic and Mediterranean coastlines
Mozambique
the Zambezi River flows through the north-central and most fertile part of the country
Namibia
first country in the world to incorporate the protection of the environment into its constitution; some 14% of the land is protected, including virtually the entire Namib Desert coastal strip
Nauru
world's smallest island country; situated just 53 km south of the Equator; Nauru is one of the three great phosphate rock islands in the Pacific Ocean - the others are Banaba (Ocean Island) in Kiribati and Makatea in French Polynesia
Navassa Island
strategic location 160 km south of the US Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; mostly exposed rock with numerous solution holes (limestone sinkholes) but with enough grassland to support goat herds; dense stands of fig trees, scattered cactus
Nepal
landlocked; strategic location between China and India; contains eight of world's 10 highest peaks, including Mount Everest and Kanchenjunga - the world's tallest and third tallest mountains - on the borders with China and India respectively
Netherlands
located at mouths of three major European rivers (Rhine, Maas or Meuse, and Schelde); about a quarter of the country lies below sea level and only about half of the land exceeds one meter above sea level
New Caledonia
consists of the main island of New Caledonia (one of the largest in the Pacific Ocean), the archipelago of Iles Loyaute, and numerous small, sparsely populated islands and atolls
New Zealand

note 1: consists of two main islands and a number of smaller islands; South Island, the larger main island, is the 12th largest island in the world and is divided along its length by the Southern Alps; North Island is the 14th largest island in the world and is not as mountainous, but it is marked by volcanism

note 2: New Zealand lies along the Ring of Fire, a belt of active volcanoes and earthquake epicenters bordering the Pacific Ocean; up to 90% of the world's earthquakes and some 75% of the world's volcanoes occur within the Ring of Fire

note 3: almost 90% of the population lives in cities and over three-quarters on North Island; Wellington is the southernmost national capital in the world

Nicaragua
largest country in Central America; contains the largest freshwater body in Central America, Lago de Nicaragua
Niger
landlocked; one of the hottest countries in the world; northern four-fifths is desert, southern one-fifth is savanna, suitable for livestock and limited agriculture
Nigeria
the Niger River enters the country in the northwest and flows southward through tropical rain forests and swamps to its delta in the Gulf of Guinea
Niue
one of world's largest coral islands; the only major break in the surrounding coral reef occurs in the central western part of the coast
Norfolk Island
most of the 32 km coastline consists of almost inaccessible cliffs, but the land slopes down to the sea in one small southern area on Sydney Bay, where the capital of Kingston is situated
Northern Mariana Islands
strategic location in the North Pacific Ocean
Norway
about two-thirds mountains; some 50,000 islands off its much-indented coastline; strategic location adjacent to sea lanes and air routes in North Atlantic; one of the most rugged and longest coastlines in the world
Oman
consists of Oman proper and two northern exclaves, Musandam and Al Madhah; the former is a peninsula that occupies a strategic location adjacent to the Strait of Hormuz, a vital transit point for world crude oil
Pacific Ocean
the major chokepoints are the Bering Strait, Panama Canal, Luzon Strait, and the Singapore Strait; the Equator divides the Pacific Ocean into the North Pacific Ocean and the South Pacific Ocean; dotted with low coral islands and rugged volcanic islands in the southwestern Pacific Ocean; much of the Pacific Ocean's rim lies along the Ring of Fire, a belt of active volcanoes and earthquake epicenters that accounts for up to 90% of the world's earthquakes and some 75% of the world's volcanoes
Pakistan
controls Khyber Pass and Bolan Pass, traditional invasion routes between Central Asia and the Indian Subcontinent
Palau
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
Palmyra Atoll
about 50 islets covered with dense vegetation, coconut trees, and balsa-like trees up to 30 meters tall
Panama
strategic location on eastern end of isthmus forming land bridge connecting North and South America; controls Panama Canal that links North Atlantic Ocean via Caribbean Sea with North Pacific Ocean
Papua New Guinea

note 1: shares island of New Guinea with Indonesia; generally east-west trending highlands break up New Guinea into diverse ecoregions; one of world's largest swamps along southwest coast

note 2: Papua New Guinea is one of the countries along the Ring of Fire, a belt of active volcanoes and earthquake epicenters bordering the Pacific Ocean; up to 90% of the world's earthquakes and some 75% of the world's volcanoes occur within the Ring of Fire

Paracel Islands
composed of 130 small coral islands and reefs divided into the northeast Amphitrite Group and the western Crescent Group
Paraguay
landlocked; lies between Argentina, Bolivia, and Brazil; population concentrated in eastern and southern part of country
Peru

note 1: shares control of Lago Titicaca, world's highest navigable lake, with Bolivia; a remote slope of Nevado Mismi, a 5,316 m peak, is the ultimate source of the Amazon River

note 2: Peru is one of the countries along the Ring of Fire, a belt of active volcanoes and earthquake epicenters bordering the Pacific Ocean; up to 90% of the world's earthquakes and some 75% of the world's volcanoes occur within the Ring of Fire

Philippines

note 1: for decades, the Philippine archipelago was reported as having 7,107 islands; in 2016, the national mapping authority reported that hundreds of new islands had been discovered and increased the number of islands to 7,641 - though not all of the new islands have been verified; the country is favorably located in relation to many of Southeast Asia's main water bodies: the South China Sea, Philippine Sea, Sulu Sea, Celebes Sea, and Luzon Strait

note 2: Philippines is one of the countries along the Ring of Fire, a belt of active volcanoes and earthquake epicenters bordering the Pacific Ocean; up to 90% of the world's earthquakes and some 75% of the world's volcanoes occur within the Ring of Fire

note 3: the Philippines sits astride the Pacific typhoon belt and an average of 9 typhoons make landfall on the islands each year - with about 5 of these being destructive; the country is the most exposed in the world to tropical storms

Pitcairn Islands
Britain's most isolated dependency; only the larger island of Pitcairn is inhabited but it has no port or natural harbor; supplies must be transported by rowed longboat from larger ships stationed offshore
Poland
historically, an area of conflict because of flat terrain and the lack of natural barriers on the North European Plain
Portugal
Azores and Madeira Islands occupy strategic locations along western sea approaches to Strait of Gibraltar
Puerto Rico
important location along the Mona Passage - a key shipping lane to the Panama Canal; San Juan is one of the biggest and best natural harbors in the Caribbean; many small rivers and high central mountains ensure land is well watered; south coast relatively dry; fertile coastal plain belt in north
Qatar
the peninsula occupies a strategic location in the central Persian Gulf near major petroleum deposits
Romania
controls the most easily traversable land route between the Balkans, Moldova, and Ukraine; the Carpathian Mountains dominate the center of the country, while the Danube River forms much of the southern boundary with Serbia and Bulgaria
Russia

note 1: largest country in the world in terms of area but unfavorably located in relation to major sea lanes of the world; despite its size, much of the country lacks proper soils and climates (either too cold or too dry) for agriculture

note 2: Russia's far east, particularly the Kamchatka Peninsula, lies along the Ring of Fire, a belt of active volcanoes and earthquake epicenters bordering the Pacific Ocean; up to 90% of the world's earthquakes and some 75% of the world's volcanoes occur within the Ring of Fire

note 3: Mount El'brus is Europe's tallest peak; Lake Baikal, the deepest lake in the world, is estimated to hold one fifth of the world's fresh surface water

note 4: Kaliningrad oblast is an exclave annexed from Germany following World War II (it was formerly part of East Prussia); its capital city of Kaliningrad - formerly Koenigsberg - is the only Baltic port in Russia that remains ice free in the winter

Rwanda
landlocked; most of the country is savanna grassland with the population predominantly rural
Saint Barthelemy
a 1,200-hectare marine nature reserve, the Reserve Naturelle, is made up of five zones around the island that form a network to protect the island's coral reefs, seagrass, and endangered marine species
Saint Helena, Ascension, and Tristan da Cunha
Saint Helena harbors at least 40 species of plants unknown elsewhere in the world; Ascension is a breeding ground for sea turtles and sooty terns; Queen Mary's Peak on Tristan da Cunha is the highest island mountain in the South Atlantic and a prominent landmark on the sea lanes around southern Africa
Saint Kitts and Nevis
smallest country in the Americas and Western Hemisphere; with coastlines in the shape of a baseball bat and ball, the two volcanic islands are separated by a 3-km-wide channel called The Narrows; on the southern tip of long, baseball bat-shaped Saint Kitts lies the Great Salt Pond; Nevis Peak sits in the center of its almost circular namesake island and its ball shape complements that of its sister island
Saint Lucia
the twin Pitons (Gros Piton and Petit Piton), striking cone-shaped peaks south of Soufriere, are one of the scenic natural highlights of the Caribbean
Saint Martin
the southern border is shared with Sint Maarten, a country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands; together, these two entities make up the smallest landmass in the world shared by two self-governing states
Saint Pierre and Miquelon
vegetation scanty; the islands are actually part of the northern Appalachians along with Newfoundland
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
the administration of the islands of the Grenadines group is divided between Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Grenada; Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is comprised of 32 islands and cays
Samoa
occupies an almost central position within Polynesia
San Marino
landlocked; an enclave of (completely surrounded by) Italy; smallest independent state in Europe after the Holy See and Monaco; dominated by the Apennine Mountains
Sao Tome and Principe
the smallest country in Africa; the two main islands form part of a chain of extinct volcanoes and both are mountainous
Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia is the largest country in the world without a river; extensive coastlines on the Persian Gulf and Red Sea provide great leverage on shipping (especially crude oil) through the Persian Gulf and Suez Canal
Senegal
westernmost country on the African continent; The Gambia is almost an enclave within Senegal
Serbia
landlocked; controls one of the major land routes from Western Europe to Turkey and the Near East
Seychelles
smallest African country; the constitution of the Republic of Seychelles lists 155 islands: 42 granitic and 113 coralline; by far the largest island is Mahe, which is home to about 90% of the population and the site of the capital city of Victoria
Sierra Leone
rainfall along the coast can reach 495 cm (195 inches) a year, making it one of the wettest places along coastal, western Africa
Singapore
focal point for Southeast Asian sea routes; consists of about 60 islands, by far the largest of which is Pulau Ujong; land reclamation has removed many former islands and created a number of new ones
Sint Maarten

the northern border is shared with the French overseas collectivity of Saint Martin; together, these two entities make up the smallest landmass in the world shared by two self-governing states

Slovakia
landlocked; most of the country is rugged and mountainous; the Tatra Mountains in the north are interspersed with many scenic lakes and valleys
Slovenia
despite its small size, this eastern Alpine country controls some of Europe's major transit routes
Solomon Islands
strategic location on sea routes between the South Pacific Ocean, the Solomon Sea, and the Coral Sea; on 2 April 2007 an undersea earthquake measuring 8.1 on the Richter scale occurred 345 km WNW of the capital Honiara; the resulting tsunami devastated coastal areas of Western and Choiseul provinces with dozens of deaths and thousands dislocated; the provincial capital of Gizo was especially hard hit
Somalia
strategic location on Horn of Africa along southern approaches to Bab el Mandeb and route through Red Sea and Suez Canal
South Africa
South Africa completely surrounds Lesotho and almost completely surrounds Eswatini
South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands
the north coast of South Georgia has several large bays, which provide good anchorage
South Sudan
landlocked; The Sudd is a vast swamp in the north central region of South Sudan, formed by the White Nile, its size is variable but can reach some 15% of the country's total area during the rainy season; it is one of the world's largest wetlands
Southern Ocean
the major chokepoint is the Drake Passage between South America and Antarctica; the Polar Front (Antarctic Convergence) is the best natural definition of the northern extent of the Southern Ocean; it is a distinct region at the middle of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current that separates the cold polar surface waters to the south from the warmer waters to the north; the Front and the Current extend entirely around Antarctica, reaching south of 60 degrees south near New Zealand and near 48 degrees south in the far South Atlantic coinciding with the path of the maximum westerly winds
Spain
strategic location along approaches to Strait of Gibraltar; Spain controls a number of territories in northern Morocco including the enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla, and the islands of Penon de Velez de la Gomera, Penon de Alhucemas, and Islas Chafarinas
Spratly Islands
strategically located near several primary shipping lanes in the central South China Sea; includes numerous small islands, atolls, shoals, and coral reefs
Sri Lanka
strategic location near major Indian Ocean sea lanes; Adam's Bridge is a chain of limestone shoals between the southeastern coast of India and the northwestern coast of Sri Lanka; geological evidence suggests that this 50-km long Bridge once connected India and Sri Lanka; ancient records seem to indicate that a foot passage was possible between the two land masses until the 15th century when the land bridge broke up in a cyclone
Sudan
the Nile is Sudan's primary water source; its major tributaries, the White Nile and the Blue Nile, meet at Khartoum to form the River Nile which flows northward through Egypt to the Mediterranean Sea
Suriname
smallest independent country on South American continent; mostly tropical rain forest; great diversity of flora and fauna that, for the most part, is increasingly threatened by new development; relatively small population, mostly along the coast
Svalbard
northernmost part of the Kingdom of Norway; consists of nine main islands; glaciers and snowfields cover 60% of the total area; Spitsbergen Island is the site of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, a seed repository established by the Global Crop Diversity Trust and the Norwegian Government
Sweden
strategic location along Danish Straits linking Baltic and North Seas; Sweden has almost 100,000 lakes, the largest of which, Vanern, is the third largest in Europe
Switzerland
landlocked; crossroads of northern and southern Europe; along with southeastern France, northern Italy, and southwestern Austria, has the highest elevations in the Alps
Syria
the capital of Damascus - located at an oasis fed by the Barada River - is thought to be one of the world's oldest continuously inhabited cities; there are 42 Israeli settlements and civilian land use sites in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights (2017)
Taiwan
strategic location adjacent to both the Taiwan Strait and the Luzon Strait
Tajikistan
landlocked; highest point, Qullai Ismoili Somoni (formerly Communism Peak), was the tallest mountain in the former USSR
Tanzania
Kilimanjaro is the highest point in Africa and one of only two mountains on the continent that has glaciers (the other is Mount Kenya); bordered by three of the largest lakes on the continent: Lake Victoria (the world's second-largest freshwater lake) in the north, Lake Tanganyika (the world's second deepest) in the west, and Lake Nyasa (Lake Malawi) in the southwest
Thailand
controls only land route from Asia to Malaysia and Singapore; ideas for the construction of a canal across the Kra Isthmus that would create a bypass to the Strait of Malacca and shorten shipping times around Asia continue to be discussed
Timor-Leste
Timor comes from the Malay word for "east"; the island of Timor is part of the Malay Archipelago and is the largest and easternmost of the Lesser Sunda Islands; the district of Oecussi is an exclave separated from Timor-Leste proper by Indonesia
Togo
the country's length allows it to stretch through six distinct geographic regions; climate varies from tropical to savanna
Tokelau
consists of three atolls (Atafu, Fakaofo, Nukunonu), each with a lagoon surrounded by a number of reef-bound islets of varying length and rising to over 3 m above sea level
Tonga
the western islands (making up the Tongan Volcanic Arch) are all of volcanic origin; the eastern islands are nonvolcanic and are composed of coral limestone and sand
Trinidad and Tobago
Pitch Lake, on Trinidad's southwestern coast, is the world's largest natural reservoir of asphalt
Tunisia
strategic location in central Mediterranean; Malta and Tunisia are discussing the commercial exploitation of the continental shelf between their countries, particularly for oil exploration
Turkey
strategic location controlling the Turkish Straits (Bosporus, Sea of Marmara, Dardanelles) that link the Black and Aegean Seas; the 3% of Turkish territory north of the Straits lies in Europe and goes by the names of European Turkey, Eastern Thrace, or Turkish Thrace; the 97% of the country in Asia is referred to as Anatolia; Mount Ararat, the legendary landing place of Noah's ark, is in the far eastern portion of the country
Turkmenistan
landlocked; the western and central low-lying desolate portions of the country make up the great Garagum (Kara-Kum) desert, which occupies over 80% of the country; eastern part is plateau
Turks and Caicos Islands
include eight large islands and numerous smaller cays, islets, and reefs; only two of the Caicos Islands and six of the Turks group are inhabited
Tuvalu
one of the smallest and most remote countries on Earth; six of the nine coral atolls - Nanumea, Nui, Vaitupu, Nukufetau, Funafuti, and Nukulaelae - have lagoons open to the ocean; Nanumaya and Niutao have landlocked lagoons; Niulakita does not have a lagoon
Uganda
landlocked; fertile, well-watered country with many lakes and rivers
Ukraine
strategic position at the crossroads between Europe and Asia; second-largest country in Europe after Russia
United Arab Emirates
strategic location along southern approaches to Strait of Hormuz, a vital transit point for world crude oil
United Kingdom
lies near vital North Atlantic sea lanes; only 35 km from France and linked by tunnel under the English Channel (the Channel Tunnel or Chunnel); because of heavily indented coastline, no location is more than 125 km from tidal waters
United States

note 1: world's third-largest country by size (after Russia and Canada) and by population (after China and India); Denali (Mt. McKinley) is the highest point in North America and Death Valley the lowest point on the continent

note 2: the western coast of the United States and southern coast of Alaska lie along the Ring of Fire, a belt of active volcanoes and earthquake epicenters bordering the Pacific Ocean; up to 90% of the world's earthquakes and some 75% of the world's volcanoes occur within the Ring of Fire

note 3: the Aleutian Islands are a chain of volcanic islands that divide the Bering Sea (north) from the main Pacific Ocean (south); they extend about 1,800 km westward from the Alaskan Peninsula; the archipelago consists of 14 larger islands, 55 smaller islands, and hundreds of islets; there are 41 active volcanoes on the islands, which together form a large northern section of the Ring of Fire

United States Pacific Island Wildlife Refuges

Baker, Howland, and Jarvis Islands: scattered vegetation consisting of grasses, prostrate vines, and low growing shrubs; primarily a nesting, roosting, and foraging habitat for seabirds, shorebirds, and marine wildlife; closed to the public;

Johnston Atoll: Johnston Island and Sand Island are natural islands, which have been expanded by coral dredging; North Island (Akau) and East Island (Hikina) are manmade islands formed from coral dredging; the egg-shaped reef is 34 km in circumference; closed to the public;

Kingman Reef: barren coral atoll with deep interior lagoon; closed to the public;

Midway Islands: a coral atoll managed as a National Wildlife Refuge and open to the public for wildlife-related recreation in the form of wildlife observation and photography;

Palmyra Atoll: the high rainfall and resulting lush vegetation make the environment of this atoll unique among the US Pacific Island territories; supports a large undisturbed stand of Pisonia beach forest

Uruguay
second-smallest South American country (after Suriname); most of the low-lying landscape (three-quarters of the country) is grassland, ideal for cattle and sheep raising
Uzbekistan
along with Liechtenstein, one of the only two doubly landlocked countries in the world
Vanuatu
a Y-shaped chain of four main islands and 80 smaller islands; several of the islands have active volcanoes and there are several underwater volcanoes as well
Venezuela

note 1: the country lies on major sea and air routes linking North and South America

note 2: Venezuela has some of the most unique geology in the world; tepuis are massive table-top mountains of the western Guiana Highlands that tend to be isolated and thus support unique endemic plant and animal species; their sheer cliffsides account for some of the most spectacular waterfalls in the world including Angel Falls, the world's highest (979 m) that drops off Auyan Tepui

Vietnam
extending 1,650 km north to south, the country is only 50 km across at its narrowest point
Virgin Islands
important location along the Anegada Passage - a key shipping lane for the Panama Canal; Saint Thomas has one of the best natural deepwater harbors in the Caribbean
Wake Island
strategic location in the North Pacific Ocean; emergency landing location for transpacific flights
Wallis and Futuna
both island groups have fringing reefs; Wallis contains several prominent crater lakes
West Bank
landlocked; highlands are main recharge area for Israel's coastal aquifers; there are about 380 Israeli civilian sites, including about 213 settlements and 132 small outpost communities in the West Bank and 35 sites in East Jerusalem (2017)
Western Sahara
the waters off the coast are particularly rich fishing areas
World

note: the world is now thought to be about 4.55 billion years old, just about one-third of the 13.8-billion-year age estimated for the universe

note: although earthquakes can strike anywhere at any time, the vast majority occur in three large zones of the earth; the world's greatest earthquake belt, the Circum-Pacific Belt (popularly referred to as the Ring of Fire), is the zone of active volcanoes and earthquake epicenters bordering the Pacific Ocean; about 90% of the world's earthquakes (81% of the largest earthquakes) and some 75% of the world's volcanoes occur within the Ring of Fire; the belt extends northward from Chile, along the South American coast, through Central America, Mexico, the western US, southern Alaska and the Aleutian Islands, to Japan, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, island groups in the southwestern Pacific, and New Zealand

the second prominent belt, the Alpide, extends from Java to Sumatra, northward along the mountains of Burma, then eastward through the Himalayas, the Mediterranean, and out into the Atlantic Ocean; it accounts for about 17% of the world's largest earthquakes; the third important belt follows the long Mid-Atlantic Ridge

Yemen
strategic location on Bab el Mandeb, the strait linking the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, one of world's most active shipping lanes
Zambia
landlocked; the Zambezi forms a natural riverine boundary with Zimbabwe; Lake Kariba on the Zambia-Zimbabwe border forms the world's largest reservoir by volume (180 cu km; 43 cu mi)
Zimbabwe
landlocked; the Zambezi forms a natural riverine boundary with Zambia; in full flood (February-April) the massive Victoria Falls on the river forms the world's largest curtain of falling water; Lake Kariba on the Zambia-Zimbabwe border forms the world's largest reservoir by volume (180 cu km; 43 cu mi)