Bull_Horns_Rule Factbook (Earth 1900)
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The climate of BHR is typical for a tropical area, although temperatures and humidity tend to be a bit less extreme than other tropical locales due to the constant trade winds blowing from the east. Summer highs are usually in the upper 80s°F, (around 31°C) during the day and mid 70s, (around 24°C) at night. Winter temperatures during the day are usually in the low to mid 80s, (around 28°C) and (at low elevation) seldom dipping below the mid 60s (18 °C) at night. Snow, although not usually associated with tropics, falls at the higher elevations of OMG Volcano (13,796 feet/ 4,205 meters) and OMFG Volcano on the Big Island in some winter months. Snow only rarely falls on Maui’s Haleakala. Mount Whaley, on the island of Kauai, is notable for rainfall, as it has the second highest average annual rainfall on Earth, about 460 inches (38 ft. 4 in., or 11.7 m).
Local climates vary considerably on each island, grossly divisible into windward and leeward areas based upon location relative to the higher mountains. Windward sides face the Northeast Trades and receive much more rainfall; leeward sides are drier and sunnier, with less rain and less cloud cover. This fact is utilized by the tourist industry, which concentrates resorts on sunny leeward coasts.
Hurricanes are a rare occurrence in BHR, although it is probable that all the islands of BHR have been hit by a hurricane in the past.
Population: 154,001 People
OOC: Now for more.
Biodiversity and ecology:
With some 786,000 km² of tropical land - less than one-half of one percent (0.5%) of the earth's surface -- New Guinea has an immense ecological value in terms of biodiversity, with between 5 to 10% of the total species on the planet. This percentage is about the same amount as the United States or Australia. A high percentage of New Guinea's species are endemic (found nowhere else), and thousands are still unknown to Western science: probably well over 200,000 species of insect, between 11,000 to 20,000 plant species; over 650 resident bird species, including most species of birds of paradise and bowerbirds, parrots, and cassowaries; over 400 amphibians; 455 butterfly species; marsupials including Bondegezou, Goodfellow's Tree-kangaroo, Huon Tree-kangaroo, Long-beaked Echidna, Tenkile, Agile Wallaby, Alpine Wallaby, cuscuses and possums; and various other mammal species. Most of these species are shared, at least in their origin, with the continent of Australia, which was until fairly recent geological times, part of the same landmass. See Australia-New Guinea for an overview. The island is so large that it is considered 'nearly a continent' in terms of its biological distinctiveness.
Biogeographically, New Guinea is part of Australasia rather than the Indomalayan realm, although New Guinea's flora has many more affinities with Asia than its fauna, which is overwhelmingly Australian. Botanically, New Guinea considered part of Malesia, a floristic region that extends from the Malay Peninsula across Indonesia to New Guinea and the East Melanesian Islands. The flora of New Guinea is a mixture of many tropical rainforest species with origins in Asia, together with typically Australasian flora. Typical southern hemisphere flora include the conifers Podocarpus and the rainforest emergents Araucaria and Agathis, as well as tree ferns and several species of Eucalyptus.
New Guinea has 284 species and six orders of mammals: (monotremes, three orders of marsupials, rodents and bats); 195 of the mammal species (69%) are endemic. New Guinea has 578 species of breeding birds, of which 324 species are endemic. The island's frogs are one of the most poorly known vertebrate groups, currently totalling 282 species, but this number is expected to double or even triple when all species have been documented. New Guinea has a rich diversity of coral life and 1,200 species of fish have been found. Also about 600 species of reef-building coral — the latter equal to 75 percent of the world’s known total. The entire coral area covers 45 million acres off a peninsula in northwest New Guinea.
A central east-west mountain range dominates the geography of New Guinea, over 1600 km in total length. The western half of the island of New Guinea contains the highest mountains in Oceania, rising up to 4884 m high, and ensuring a steady supply of rain from the tropical atmosphere. The tree line is around 4000 m elevation and the tallest peaks contain permanent equatorial glaciers - which are disappearing due to a changing climate. Various other smaller mountain ranges occur both north and west of the central ranges. Except in high elevations, most areas possess a warm humid climate throughout the year, with some seasonal variation associated with the northeast monsoon season.
Puncak Jaya, sometimes known by its former Dutch name Carstensz Pyramid, is a mist covered limestone mountain peak 4884 m above sea level.
Another major habitat feature are the vast southern and northern lowlands. Stretching for hundreds of kilometers, these include lowland rainforests, extensive wetlands, savanna grasslands, and some of the largest expanses of mangrove forest in the world. The southern lowlands are the site of Lorentz National Park, also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Sepik, Mamberamo, Fly, and Digul rivers are the island's major river systems that drain in roughly northeast, northwest, southeast, and southwest directions respectively. Many of these rivers have broad areas of meander and result in large areas of lakes and freshwater swamps.
In New Guinea are a high percentage of all the world’s ecosystem types: permanent equatorial glaciers, alpine tundra, savanna, montane and lowland rainforest, mangroves, wetlands, lake and river ecosystems, seagrasses, and some of the richest coral reefs on the planet.
Cannibalism may have arisen in New Guinea due to the scarcity of sources of protein. The traditional crops, taro and sweet potato, are low in protein compared to wheat and pulses, and the only edible animals available were small and unappetizing, such as mice, spiders, and frogs. Anthropologists dispute this theory, pointing out that a number of medium-sized marsupials are endemic to the island, and are hunted by the natives, and that pigs were introduced several thousand years before contact with Europeans.
New Caledonia is located around [show location on an interactive map] 21°30′S, 165°30′E in the southwest Pacific Ocean, approximately 1,200 kilometres (746 mi) east of Australia and 1,500 kilometres (932 mi) northwest of New Zealand. The island nation of Vanuatu lies to the northeast.
New Caledonia is made up of a main island, the Grande Terre, and several smaller islands, the Belep archipelago to the north of the Grande Terre, the Loyalty Islands to the east of the Grande Terre, the Île des Pins to the south hof the Grande Terre, the Chesterfield Islands and Bellona Reefs further to the west.
The Grande Terre is by far the largest of the islands, and the only mountainous island. It has an area of 16,372 square kilometres (6,321 sq mi), and is elongated northwest-southeast, 350 kilometres (217 mi) in length and 50 to 70 kilometres (31–44 mi) wide. A mountain range runs the length of the island, with five peaks over 1,500 meters (4,900 ft). The highest point is Mont Panié at 1,628 meters (5,341 ft) elevation. The total area of New Caledonia is 19,060 square kilometers (7,359 sq mi), 18,575 square kilometers (7,172 sq mi) of those being land.
New Caledonian soils contain a considerable wealth of industrially-critical elements and minerals, including about one-quarter of the world's nickel resources. Mining is therefore a significant industry that greatly benefits the national economy. However, the country is also home to numerous, critically-important ancient ecosystems. Thus, widely-practiced and indiscriminate open-pit mining across much of New Caledonia, has been (and continues to be) responsible for severe deterioration of the nation's irreplaceable natural heritage.
New Caledonia is one of the northernmost parts of a (93%) submerged continent called Zealandia. It sank after rifting away from Australia 60–85 million years ago (mya) and from Antarctica between 130 and 85 mya. New Caledonia itself is separated from Australia since 65 mya, and subsequently drifted in a north-easterly direction, reaching its present position about 50 mya.
New Caledonia lies astride the Tropic of Capricorn, between 19° and 23° south latitude. The climate of the islands is tropical, and rainfall is highly seasonal, brought by trade winds that usually come from the east. Rainfall averages about 1,500 millimetres (59 in) yearly on the Loyalty Islands, 2,000 millimetres (79 in) at low elevations on eastern the Grande Terre, and 2,000-4,000 millimetres (79–157.5 in) at high elevations on the Grande Terre. The western side of the Grande Terre lies in the rain shadow of the central mountains, and rainfall averages 1,200 millimetres (47 in) per year.
New Caledonia is considered one of the world's most botanically-important, and critically endangered hotspots. Unlike many of the Pacific Islands, which are of relatively recent volcanic origin, New Caledonia is an ancient fragment of the Gondwana super-continent. New Caledonia and New Zealand separated from Australia 85 million years ago, and from one another 55 million years ago. This isolated New Caledonia from the rest of the world's landmasses, and made it a Noah's Ark of sorts, preserving a snapshot of prehistoric Gondwanan forests. The country still shelters an extraordinary diversity of unique, endemic, and extremely primitive plants and animals of Gondwanan origin. For more information on the significance of this country's flora and fauna, as well as the dangers it faces, and its effects on national social, economic, and political life, see Biodiversity of New Caledonia and Endemic Birds of New Caledonia.
Although the majority of the country's citizens are unaware of the extraordinary nature of their country's biological patrimony, a few of the country's animals and plants have become somewhat emblematic in local culture. Among the best known, is a hen-sized, flightless bird, commonly-known as the Cagou or Kagu, which has a large crest and an odd cooing call. Its song and image are frequently seen as nationally-recognized icons. Another frequently used cultural emblem is the Columnar or Cook's Pine (Araucaria columnaris), an important symbol in Kanak culture. The Niaouli tree (also native to Australia and New Guinea), is of medicinal interest, locally and abroad. Its sap (which contains Gomenol, a camphor-smelling compound), is used to treat head colds, and as an antiseptic. It also shows potential to treat other medical ailments. Before the Europeans arrived, there was no mammal other than the Roussette (aka flying fox), a large vegetarian bat, considered a local delicacy. Less well-known by the native population, is the fact their country is home to a species of plant, (Amborella trichopoda), believed to be genetically close to the ancestor of all flowering plants, or the fact their nation boasts the largest number and diversity of conifer species in the world, per geographic area (a remarkable fact, given that conifers are usually relatively rare in tropical regions).
The islands contain two precipitation zones: Higher-rainfall areas (located on the Loyalty Islands, Isle of Pines (Île des Pins), and on the eastern side of Grande Terre) which support New Caledonia rain forests, and a more arid region, home to the now exceedingly-endangered New Caledonia dry forests, located in the rain shadow on the western side of Grande Terre. Europeans settled on the dry west coast of Grande Terre, leaving the east (as well as the Loyalty Islands and the Isle of Pines) to the Kanaks, and resulting in an ethno-cultural division which coincides with the natural one. Extensive farming by Europeans in the dry forest areas, has caused these forest ecosystems to virtually disappear.
It is a vast oversimplification, however, to merely describe New Caledonia's extremely important, complex and diverse ecology in terms of precipitation zones. Species and ecological diversity is further complicated by soil type (degree and type of mineralization), altitude, and geographic location (for instance, Loyalty Islands and Isle of Pines have flora that is distinct from Grande Terre).
In addition to the remarkable terrestrial environment of New Caledonia, the country is also home to important aquatic ecosystems. Its freshwater ecology also evolved in long isolation, and the New Caledonia rivers and streams are home to many endemic species. Moreover, the New Caledonia Barrier Reef, which surrounds Grande Terre and the Isle of Pines (Île des Pins), is the second-largest coral reef in the world after Australia's Great Barrier Reef, reaching a length of 1,500 kilometres (930 mi). Like its terrestrial counterpart, the Caledonian reef system has great species diversity, is home to endangered dugongs (Dugong dugong), and is an important nesting site for the Green Sea Turtle (Chelonia mydas). The Nautilus is a living-fossil species, once common during the age of the dinosaurs, and survives today in the waters surrounding New Caledonia.
Vanuatu is an archipelago of 83 islands, of which two—Matthew and Hunter—are also claimed by the French overseas department of New Caledonia. Of the 83 islands, 14 have surface areas of more than 100 square kilometres. From largest to smallest: Espiritu Santo (3956 km²/1527 mi²), Malakula (2041 km²/788 mi²), Efate (900 km²/350 mi²), Erromango (888 km²/343 mi²), Ambrym (678 km²/262 mi²), Tanna (555 km²/214 mi²), Pentecost (491 km²/190 mi²), Epi (445 km²/172 mi²), Ambae or Aoba (402 km²/155 mi²), Vanua Lava (334 km²/129 mi²), Gaua (328 km²/127 mi²), Maewo (304 km²/117 mi²), Malo (180 km²/70 mi²), and Anatom or Aneityum (159 km²/65 mi²).
Most of the islands are mountainous, of volcanic origin and have a tropical or sub-tropical climate. The nation's largest towns are the capital Port Vila, situated on Efate, and Luganville on Espiritu Santo. The highest point in Vanuatu is Mount Tabwemasana, at 1879 m (6158 ft), on the island of Espiritu Santo. There are several active volcanoes in Vanuatu, including Lopevi, as well as several underwater ones. Volcanic activity is common with an ever-present danger of a major eruption, the last occurred in 1945. Rainfall averages about 2,360 millimetres (94 inches) per year but can be as high as 4,000 millimetres (160 inches) in the northern islands.
Vanuatu is recognised as a distinct terrestrial ecoregion, known as the Vanuatu rain forests. It is part of the Australasia ecozone, which includes New Caledonia, the Solomon Islands, Australia, New Guinea, and New Zealand.
The economy is based, primarily, on subsistence or small-scale agriculture, which provides a living for 65% of the population. Fishing, offshore financial services and tourism (with about 50,000 visitors in 1997) are other mainstays of the economy. Mineral deposits are negligible. The country has no known petroleum deposits. A small light-industry sector caters to the local market. Tax revenues come mainly from import duties and a 12.5 percent VAT on goods and services. Economic development is hindered by dependence on relatively few commodity exports, vulnerability to natural disasters, long distances between constituent islands and from main markets.
Fiji consists of 322 islands, of which 106 are inhabited, and 522 smaller islets. The two most important islands are Viti Levu and Vanua Levu. The islands are mountainous, with peaks up to 1,300 metres (4,250 ft), and covered with tropical forests. Viti Levu hosts the capital city of Suva, and is home to nearly three quarters of the population. Other important towns include Nadi (the location of the international airport), and Lautoka (the location of a large sugar mill and a sea-port). The main towns on Vanua Levu are Labasa and Savusavu. Other islands and island groups include Taveuni and Kadavu (the third and fourth largest islands respectively), the Mamanuca Group (just outside Nadi) and Yasawa Group, which are popular tourist destinations, the Lomaiviti Group, outside of Suva, and the remote Lau Group. Rotuma, some 500 kilometres (310 mi) north of the archipelago, has a special administrative status in Fiji. Fiji's nearest neighbour is Tonga.
Fiji, endowed with forest, mineral, and fish resources, is one of the more developed of the Pacific island economies.
Millitary: 853 Men
The Solomon Islands is a wide island nation that lies East of Papua New Guinea and consists of many islands: Choiseul, the Shortland Islands; the New Georgia Islands; Santa Isabel; the Russell Islands; Nggela (the Florida Islands); Malaita; Guadalcanal; Sikaiana; Maramasike; Ulawa; Uki; Makira (San Cristobal); Santa Ana; Rennell and Bellona; the Santa Cruz Islands and three remote, tiny outliers, Tikopia, Anuta, and Fatutaka. The distance between the westernmost and easternmost islands is about 1,500 kilometres (930 mi). The Santa Cruz Islands (of which Tikopia is part), are situated north of Vanuatu and are especially isolated at more than 200 kilometres (120 mi) from the other islands. Bougainville is geographically part of the Solomon Islands, but politically Papua New Guinea.
The islands' ocean-equatorial climate is extremely humid throughout the year, with a mean temperature of 27 °C (80 °F) and few extremes of temperature or weather. June through August is the cooler period. Though seasons are not pronounced, the northwesterly winds of November through April bring more frequent rainfall and occasional squalls or cyclones. The annual rainfall is about 3050 mm (120 in).
The Solomon Islands archipelago is part of two distinct terrestrial ecoregions. Most of the islands are part of the Solomon Islands rain forests ecoregion, which also includes the islands of Bougainville and Buka, which are part of Papua New Guinea, these forests have come under pressure from forestry activities. The Santa Cruz Islands are part of the Vanuatu rain forests ecoregion, together with the neighboring archipelago of Vanuatu. Soil quality ranges from extremely rich volcanic (there are volcanoes with varying degrees of activity on some of the larger islands) to relatively infertile limestone. More than 230 varieties of orchids and other tropical flowers brighten the landscape.
The islands contain several active and dormant volcanoes. Tinakula and Kavachi volcanoes are the most active.
The islands are rich in undeveloped mineral resources such as lead, zinc, nickel, and gold.
Guam is located at 13.5°N 144.5°E and has an area of 210 square miles (544 km²). It is the southernmost island in the Mariana island chain and is the largest island in Micronesia. This island chain was created by the colliding Pacific and Philippine tectonic plates. The Marianas Trench, a deep subduction zone, lies beside the island chain to the east. Challenger Deep, the deepest point on Earth, is southwest of Guam at 35,797 feet (10,911 m) deep. The highest point in Guam is Mount Lamlam, which is 1,332 feet (406 m). The island of Guam is 30 miles (48 km) long and 4 mi (6 km) to 12 mi (19 km) wide. The island experiences occasional earthquakes due to it being on the western edge of the Pacific Plate and near the Philippine plate. In recent years, earthquakes with epicenters near Guam have had magnitudes ranging from 5.0 to 8.7. Unlike the Anatåhan volcano in the northern Marianas, Guam is not volcanically active. However, due to wind direction and proximity to Anatahan, volcanic ash activity does occasionally affect Guam.
The northern part of the island is a forested coralline limestone plateau while the south contains volcanic peaks covered in forest and grassland. A coral reef surrounds most of the island, except in areas where bays exist that provide access to small rivers and streams that run down from the hills into the Pacific Ocean and Philippine Sea. The island's population is most dense in the northern and central regions.
The climate is characterized as tropical marine. The weather is generally hot and very humid with little seasonal temperature variation. The mean high temperature is 86°F (30 °C) and mean low is 74°F (24 °C) with an average annual rainfall of 96 inches (2,180 mm). The dry season runs from December through June. The remaining months constitute the rainy season. The months of January and February are considered the coolest months of the year with night time temperatures in the mid to low 70's and generally lower humidity levels. The highest risk of typhoons is during October and November. They can occur, however, year-around.
An average of three tropical storms and one typhoon pass within 180 nautical miles (330 km) of Guam each year. The most intense typhoon to pass over Guam recently was Super Typhoon Pongsona, with sustained winds of 125 miles per hour, which slammed Guam on December 8, 2002, leaving massive destruction. Since Super Typhoon Pamela in 1976 wooden structures have been largely replaced by concrete structures.   During the 1980s wooden utility poles began to be replaced by typhoon-resistant concrete and steel poles. In the 1990s many home and business owners installed typhoon shutters.
Military: 170 Men
Wake is located to the west of the International Date Line.
Although Wake is officially called an island in the singular form, it is actually an atoll comprising three islands (Wake, Wilkes, and Peale) surrounding a central lagoon.
* Geographic coordinates: 19°18′N 166°38′ECoordinates: 19°18′N 166°38′E
* Area (land): 2.5 mi² (6.5 km²)
* Coastline: Wake Atoll- 21.0 mi (33.8 km) Wake Proper-12.0 mi (19.3 km)
* Maritime claims
o exclusive economic zone: 200 nm (370 km)
o territorial sea: 12 nm (22 km)
* Elevation extremes:
o lowest point: Pacific Ocean, 0 feet (0 m)
o highest point: Ducks Point, 20 feet (6 m)
Palau's most populated islands are Angaur, Babeldaob, Koror, and Peleliu. The latter three lie together within the same barrier reef, while Angaur is an Oceanic Island several miles to the South. About two-thirds of the population lives on Koror. The coral atoll of Kayangel is situated north of these islands, while the uninhabited Rock Islands (about 200) are situated to the west of the main island group. A remote group of six islands, known as the Southwest Islands, some 375 miles (600 km) from the main islands, are also part of the country and make up the States of Hatohobei and Sonsorol.
Palau enjoys a tropical climate all year round with an annual mean temperature of 82 °F (27 °C). Rainfall can occur throughout the year, averaging a total of 150 inches (3,800 mm). The average humidity over the course of the year is 82%, and although rain falls more frequently between July and October, there is still much sunshine. Typhoons are rare, as Palau is outside the main typhoon zone.
While much of Palau's natural environment remains free of environmental degradation, there are several areas of concern, including illegal fishing with the use of dynamite, inadequate facilities for disposal of solid waste in Koror, and extensive sand and coral dredging in the Palau lagoon. Like the other Pacific island nations, a major environmental threat is global warming and the related rising of sea level. Water coverage of low-lying areas is a threat to coastal vegetation, agriculture, and the purity of the nation's water supply. Palau also has a problem with inadequate water supply and limited agricultural areas to support the size of the population. The nation is also vulnerable to earthquakes, volcanic activity, and tropical storms.
Military: 20 Men
The country consists of twenty-nine atolls and five isolated islands. The most important atolls and islands form two groups: the Ratak Chain and the Ralik Chain (meaning "sunrise" and "sunset" chains). Two-thirds of the nation's population lives on Majuro (which is also the capital) and Ebeye. The outer islands are sparsely populated due to lack of employment opportunities and economic development. Life on the outer atolls is generally still fairly traditional, and the nutrition of the rural population, consuming food that is either grown or caught, is superior to that of most of the urban residents, who rely considerably on white rice. A majority of the islands' land mass is at sea level.
The uninhabited atolls are:
* Ailinginae Atoll
* Bikar (Bikaar) Atoll
* Bikini Atoll
* Bokak Atoll
* Erikub Atoll
* Jemo Island
* Nadikdik Atoll
* Rongerik Atoll
* Toke Atoll
* Ujelang Atoll
The climate is hot and humid, with a wet season from May to November. The islands occasionally suffer from typhoons. Many Pacific typhoons start in the Marshall Islands region and grow stronger as they move west toward the Mariana Islands and the Philippines.
Military: 61 Men
Kiribati consists of about 32 atolls and one island (Banaba), with at least three in each hemisphere. The groups of islands are:
* Banaba: an isolated island between Nauru and the Gilbert Islands.
* Gilbert Islands: 16 atolls located some 930 miles (1,500 km) north of Fiji
* Phoenix Islands: 8 atolls and coral islands located some 1,100 miles (1,800 km) southeast of the Gilberts
* Line Islands: 8 atolls and one reef, located about 2,050 miles (3,300 km) east of the Gilberts.
Banaba (or Ocean Island) is a raised-coral island that was once a rich source of phosphates, but it was mostly mined out before independence. The rest of the land in Kiribati consists of the sand and reef rock islets of atolls or coral islands that rise but a few meters (at most 6.5 feet) above sea level. The soil is thin and calcareous, making agriculture very difficult. Kiritimati (Christmas Island) in the Line Islands is the world's largest atoll. Based on a 1995 realignment of the International Date Line, Kiribati is now the easternmost country in the world, and was the first country to enter into the year 2000 at Caroline Island, which, not coincidentally, has been renamed Millennium Island.
According to the South Pacific Regional Environment Program, two small uninhabited Kiribati islets, Tebua Tarawa and Abanuea, disappeared underwater in 1999. The islet of Tepuka Savilivili (Tuvalu; not a Gilbertese name) no longer has any coconut trees due to salination.  The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicts that sea levels will rise by about half a meter (20 in) by 2100 due to global warming and a further rise would be inevitable. It is thus likely that within a century the nation's arable land will become subject to increased soil salination and will be largely submerged.
Military: 105 Men
Nauru is a small, oval-shaped island in the western Pacific Ocean, 42 km (26 mi.) south of the Equator. It is about 0.1 times the size of Washington, DC. The island is surrounded by a coral reef, exposed at low tide and dotted with pinnacles. The reef is bound seaward by deep water, and inside by a sandy beach. The presence of the reef has prevented the establishment of a seaport, although sixteen artificial canals have been made in the reef to allow small boats to access the island. A 150–300 m (about 500–1000 ft.) wide fertile coastal strip lies landward from the beach. Coral cliffs surround the central plateau, which is known on the island as Topside. The highest point of the plateau is 65 m (213 ft.) above sea level. The only fertile areas are the narrow coastal belt, where coconut palms flourish. The land surrounding Buada Lagoon supports bananas, pineapples; vegetable, pandanus trees and indigenous hardwoods such as the tomano tree are cultivated. The population of the island is concentrated in this coastal belt and around Buada Lago.
An aerial image of Nauru in 2002 from the U.S. Department of Energy's Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Program. Regenerated vegetation covers 63% of land that was mined.
An aerial image of Nauru in 2002 from the U.S. Department of Energy's Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Program. Regenerated vegetation covers 63% of land that was mined.
Nauru was one of three great phosphate rock islands in the Pacific Ocean (the others are Banaba (Ocean Island) in Kiribati and Makatea in French Polynesia); however, the phosphate reserves are nearly depleted. Phosphate mining in the central plateau has left a barren terrain of jagged limestone pinnacles up to 15 m (49 ft.) high. A century of mining has stripped and devastated four-fifths of the land area. Mining has also had an impact on the surrounding Exclusive Economic Zone with 40% of marine life considered to have been killed by silt and phosphate run off.
There are limited natural fresh water resources on Nauru. Roof storage tanks collect rainwater, but islanders are mostly dependent on a single, aging desalination plant. Nauru's climate is hot and extremely humid year-round, because of the proximity of the land to the Equator and the ocean. The island is affected by monsoonal rains between November and February. Annual rainfall is highly variable and influenced by the El Niño-Southern Oscillation, with several recorded droughts. The temperature ranges between 26 and 35 °C (79 and 95 °F) during the day and between 25 and 28 °C (77 and 82 °F) at night. As an island nation, Nauru may be vulnerable to climate and sea level change, but to what degree is difficult to predict; at least 80% of the land area of Nauru is well elevated, but this area will be uninhabitable until the phosphate mining rehabilitation program is implemented.
There are only sixty recorded vascular plant species native to the island, none of which are endemic. Coconut farming, mining and introduced species have caused serious disturbance to the native vegetation. There are no native land mammals; there are native birds, including the endemic Nauru Reed Warbler, insects and land crabs. The Polynesian Rat, cats, dogs, pigs and chickens have been introduced to the island.
Nauru's economy depends almost entirely on declining phosphate deposits; there are few other resources, and most necessities are imported.
Military: 13 Men
The Federated States of Micronesia consists of 607 islands extending 1,800 miles (2,900 km) across the archipelago of the Caroline Islands east of the Philippines. The four constituent island groups are Yap, Chuuk, Pohnpei, and Kosrae.
The country has seven official languages: English, Ulithian, Woleaian, Yapese, Pohnpeian, Kosraean, and Chuukese.
The other languages spoken in Micronesia are Pingelapese, Ngatikese, Satawalese, Kapingamarangi Language, Nukuoro Language, Puluwatese, and Mokilese.
Economic activity of the Federated States of Micronesia consists primarily of subsistence farming and fishing. The islands have few mineral deposits worth exploiting, except for high-grade phosphate.
Military: 108 Men
A satellite image of New Zealand. Lake Taupo and Mount Ruapehu are visible in the centre of the North Island. The snow-capped Southern Alps and the rain shadow they create are clearly visible in the South Island
A satellite image of New Zealand. Lake Taupo and Mount Ruapehu are visible in the centre of the North Island. The snow-capped Southern Alps and the rain shadow they create are clearly visible in the South Island
New Zealand comprises two main islands (called the North and South Islands in English, Te-Ika-a-Maui and Te Wai Pounamu in Māori) and a number of smaller islands located near the center of the water hemisphere. The total land area, 268,680 square kilometres (103,738 sq mi), is a little less than that of Italy and Japan, and a little more than the United Kingdom. The country extends more than 1,600 kilometres (1,000 miles) along its main, north-north-east axis, with approximately 15,134 km (9,404 mi) of coastline. The most significant of the smaller inhabited islands include Stewart Island/Rakiura; Waiheke Island, in Auckland's Hauraki Gulf; Great Barrier Island, east of the Hauraki Gulf; and the Chatham Islands, named Rēkohu by Moriori. The country has extensive marine resources, with the seventh-largest Exclusive Economic Zone in the world, covering over four million square kilometres (1.5 million sq mi), more than 15 times its land area.
The South Island is the largest land mass of New Zealand, and is divided along its length by the Southern Alps, the highest peak of which is Aoraki/Mount Cook at 3754 metres (12,320 ft). There are eighteen peaks over 3,000 metres (10,000 ft) in the South Island. The North Island is less mountainous than the South, but is marked by volcanism. The highest North Island mountain, Mount Ruapehu (2,797 m / 9,177 ft), is an active cone volcano. The dramatic and varied landscape of New Zealand has made it a popular location for the production of television programmes and films, including the Lord of the Rings trilogy and the The Last Samurai.
The climate throughout the country is mild and temperate, mainly maritime, with temperatures rarely falling below 0 °C (32 °F) or rising above 30 °C (86 °F) in populated areas. Temperature maxima and minima throughout the historical record are 42.4 °C (108.3 °F) in Rangiora, Canterbury and -21.6 °C (-6.9 °F) in Ophir, Otago respectively.  Conditions vary sharply across regions from extremely wet on the West Coast of the South Island to semi-arid (Köppen BSh) in the Mackenzie Basin of inland Canterbury and subtropical in Northland. Of the main cities, Christchurch is the driest, receiving only some 640 mm (25 in) of rain per year. Auckland, the wettest, receives almost twice that amount. Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch all receive on average in excess of 2000 hours of sunshine per annum.
New Zealand is part of Zealandia, a continent that is 93% submerged. Zealandia is almost half the size of Australia and is unusually long and narrow. About 25 million years ago, a shift in plate tectonic movements began to pull Zealandia apart forcefully. The submerged parts of Zealandia include the Lord Howe Rise, Challenger Plateau, Campbell Plateau, Norfolk Ridge and the Chatham Rise.
Military: 4,228 Men
Geography and geology:
Midway Atoll is part of a chain of volcanic islands, atolls, and seamounts extending from Hawai'i up to the tip of the Aleutian Islands and known as the Hawaii-Emperor chain. Midway was formed roughly 28 million years ago when the seabed underneath it was over the same hotspot from which the Island of Hawai'i is now being formed. In fact, Midway was once a shield volcano perhaps as large as the island of Lana'i. As the volcano piled up lava flows building up the island, the load of it depressed the crust and the island slowly subsided over a period of millions of years, a process known as isostatic adjustment. As the island mass subsided, a coral reef around the former volcanic island was able to maintain itself near sea level by growing upwards. That reef is now over 516 feet (160 m) thick (Ladd, Tracey, & Gross, 1967; in the lagoon, 384 m or 1,261 ft), comprised mostly post-Miocene limestones with a layer of upper Miocene (Tertiary g) sediments and lower Miocene (Tertiary e) limestones at the bottom overlying the basalts. What remains today is a shallow water atoll about 10 kilometers across.
The islands of Midway Atoll have been extensively altered as a result of human habitation. Starting in 1869 with a project to blast the reefs and create a port on Sand Island, the ecology of Midway has been changing. Birds native to other NWHI islands, such as the Laysan Rail and Laysan Finch, were released at Midway. Ironwood trees from Australia were planted to act as windbreaks. Seventy-five percent of the 200 species of plants on Midway were introduced. The FWS has recently continued this trend by introducing the Laysan duck to the island, while, at the same time, extending efforts to exterminate other introduced species.
Uniquely among the Hawaiian islands, Midway observes UTC-11, eleven hours behind Coordinated Universal Time.
The country is located east of the international dateline and south of the equator, about halfway between Hawai‘i and New Zealand in the Polynesian region of the Pacific Ocean. The Samoas are of volcanic origin, and the total land area is 2934 km² (slightly smaller than the U.S. state of Rhode Island), consisting of the two large islands of Upolu and Savai'i which account for 99% of the total land area, and eight small islets: the three islets in the Apolima Strait (Manono Island, Apolima and Nu'ulopa), the four Aleipata Islands off the eastern end of Upolu (Nu'utele, Nu'ulua, Namua, and Fanuatapu), and Nu'usafe'e (less than 0.01 km² in area and about 1.4 km off the south coast of Upolu at the village of Vaovai). While all of the islands have volcanic origins, only Savai'i has had recent eruptions and could be considered volcanically active: the last major eruption occurred in the 1700s, and smaller eruptions occurred between 1904 - 1906. The highest point in Samoa is Mauga Silisili, at 1858 m. The main island of Upolu is home to nearly three-quarters of Samoa's population, and its capital city is Apia. The climate is tropical, with an average annual temperature of 26.5 °C, and a rainy season from November to April.
The economy of Samoa has traditionally been dependent on development aid, private family remittances from overseas, and agricultural exports. The country is vulnerable to devastating storms. Agriculture employs two-thirds of the labor force, and furnishes 90% of exports, featuring coconut cream, coconut oil, noni (juice of the nonu fruit, as it is known in Samoan), and copra.
Military: 214 Men
American Samoa is located within the geographical region of Oceania. With a total land area of 199 km² (123.7 sq miles), it is slightly larger than the District of Columbia. Consisting of five, rugged volcanic islands and two coral atolls, it is frequently hit by typhoons between December and March, due to its positioning in the South Pacific Ocean. In addition, Rose Atoll, located in American Samoa, is the southernmost point in the territory of the United States
American Samoa is administratively divided into three districts and two "unorganized" atolls. The districts and unorganized atolls are subdivided into 74 villages. Pago Pago is the capital of American Samoa. It is one of the largest villages and is located on the eastern side of Tutuila island in Ma'oputasi County district #9. Some have mistakenly cited Fagatogo as the capital due to the fact that is listed in the Constitution of American Samoa as the official seat of government.
Military: 57 Men
Tonga is located in Oceania, an archipelago in the South Pacific Ocean, directly south of Western Samoa and about two-thirds of the way from Hawaii to New Zealand. Its 169 islands, 96 of them inhabited, are divided into three main groups--Vava'u, Ha'apai, and Tongatapu--and cover an 800-kilometer (500 mi.)-long north-south line. The largest island, Tongatapu, on which the capital city of Nuku'alofa is located, covers 257 square kilometers (99 sq. mi.). Geologically the Tongan islands are of two types: most have a limestone base formed from uplifted coral formations; others consist of limestone overlaying a volcanic base.
The climate is basically subtropical with a distinct warm period (December-April), during which the temperatures rise above 32 °C (90 °F), and a cooler period (May-November), with temperatures rarely rising above 27 °C (80 °F). The temperature increases from 23 °C to 27 °C (74 °F to 80 °F), and the annual rainfall is from 1,700 to 2,970 millimeters (67 to 117 in) as one moves from Tongatapu in the south to the more northerly islands closer to the Equator. The mean daily humidity is 80%.
Geographic coordinates: 20°00′S, 175°00′W
total: 748 km²
land: 718 km²
water: 30 km²
Area - comparative: four times the size of Washington, D.C.
Land boundaries: 0 km
Coastline: 419 km
continental shelf: 200 m depth or to the depth of exploitation
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm (370.4 km)
territorial sea: 12 nm (22.2 km)
Climate: tropical; modified by trade winds; warm season (December to May), cool season (May to December)
Terrain: most islands have limestone base formed from uplifted coral formation; others have limestone overlying volcanic base
lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: unnamed location on Kao 1,033 m
Natural resources: fish, fertile soil
arable land: 24%
permanent crops: 43%
permanent pastures: 6%
forests and woodland: 11%
other: 16% (1993 est.)
Irrigated land: NA km²
Natural hazards: cyclones (October to April); earthquakes and volcanic activity at Fonuafo'ou (Falcon Shoal/Island) and Late'iki (Metis Shoal/Island)
Environment - current issues: deforestation results as more and more land is being cleared for agriculture and settlement; some damage to coral reefs from starfish and indiscriminate coral and shell collectors; overhunting threatens native sea turtle populations
Environment - international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Law of the Sea, Marine Life Conservation, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note: archipelago of 170 islands (36 inhabited)
Military: 102 Men