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)
1 LOCATION AND SIZE
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.
2 TERRITORIES AND DEPENDENCIES
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.
4 TOPOGRAPHIC REGIONS
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.
5 OCEANS AND SEAS
Nauru is located in the west-central Pacific Ocean.
Seacoast and Undersea Features
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.
Sea Inlets and Straits
Nauru has a smooth coastline without significant indentations.
Beaches line the coral reef that encircles Nauru.
6 INLAND LAKES
The permanent, often brackish Buada Lagoon (Lake Buada) is the only lake of significance on the island.
7 RIVERS AND WATERFALLS
Nauru has no rivers.
There are no deserts on Nauru.
9 FLAT AND ROLLING TERRAIN
Nauru's coastal strip consists of sandy beaches fringed by palm trees.
10 MOUNTAINS AND VOLCANOES
There are no mountains on Nauru.
11 CANYONS AND CAVES
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.
12 PLATEAUS AND MONOLITHS
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.
13 MAN-MADE FEATURES
The landscape does not include any prominent man-made features.
DID YOU KNOW?
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.
14 FURTHER READING
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).