Official name: Republic of Nauru
Area: 21 square kilometers (8.1 square miles)
Highest point on mainland: Unnamed central plateau (61 meters/202 feet)
Lowest point on land: Sea level
Hemispheres: Southern and Eastern
Time zone: 11:30 P.M. = noon GMT
Longest distances: 5.6 kilometers (3.5 miles) from north-northeast to south-southwest; 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) from west-northwest to east-southeast
Land boundaries: None
Coastline: 30 kilometers (18.6 miles)
Territorial sea limits: 22 kilometers (12 nautical miles)
Nauru is an oval-shaped island in the western Pacific Ocean, 42 kilometers (26 miles) south of the equator. The closest neighboring land is the island of Banaba, which is part of the country of Kiribati. With a total area of 21 square kilometers (8.1 square miles), Nauru is the smallest nation in Asia, roughly one-tenth the size of Washington, D.C.
Nauru has no territories or dependencies.
Nauru has a tropical climate that is tempered by sea breezes. The westerly monsoon season occurs from November to February. Temperatures range from 23°C to 32°C (75°F to 91°F). Nauru experiences widely variable rainfall, ranging from 31 centimeters (12 inches) to as much as 457 centimeters (180 inches). Rainfall provides most of the nation's water supply.
A coastal plain at the perimeter of the island gradually rises to a fertile section no wider than 275 meters (902 feet). A coral cliff rises from this belt to a central plateau.
Nauru is located in the west-central Pacific Ocean.
The island is surrounded by a coral reef, which is exposed at low tide and dotted with pinnacles. The reef is bounded seaward by deep water.
Nauru has a smooth coastline without significant indentations.
Beaches line the coral reef that encircles Nauru.
The permanent, often brackish Buada Lagoon (Lake Buada) is the only lake of significance on the island.
Nauru has no rivers.
There are no deserts on Nauru.
Nauru's coastal strip consists of sandy beaches fringed by palm trees.
There are no mountains on Nauru.
Nauru's coral reefs include a large underwater grotto known as the Cave. A popular spot for divers, the Cave is some 30 meters (98 feet) below sea level.
A central plateau of phosphate-bearing rock comprises four-fifths of Nauru's landmass, making the nation one of the largest phosphate-rock islands in the Pacific.
The landscape does not include any prominent man-made features.
Nauru and the other fifteen low-lying countries of the Pacific Islands Forum face the environmental crisis of rising sea levels due to global warming. The consequences of climate change include destruction of freshwater sources, more intense storms, loss of crops to seawater, and coastal erosion.
McDaniel, Carl N. Paradise for Sale: Back to Sustainability. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000.
U.S. Department of State. "Background Notes, Nauru." Washington, DC: Bureau of Public Affairs, Office of Public Communication, Editorial Division, U.S. Department of State, 1988.
Lonely Planet World Guide, Destination Nauru . http://www.lonelyplanet.com/destinations/pacific/nauru/ (accessed April 9, 2003).
Ocean 98: Welcome to Nauru. http://www.ocean98.org/seahnaur.htm (accessed April 9, 2003).
Pacific Island Travel. Nauru. http://www.pacificislandtravel.com/nauru/introduction.html (accessed April 9, 2003).