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Geography of Lithuania

The largest and most populous of the Baltic states, Lithuania is a generally maritime country with 60 miles of sandy coastline, of which only 24 miles face the open Baltic Sea. Lithuania's major warm-water port of Klaipeda lies at the narrow mouth of Kursiu Gulf[?], a shallow lagoon extending south to Kaliningrad. The Nemunas River[?] and some of its tributaries are used for internal shipping (In 2000, 89 inland ships carried 900,000 tons of cargo, which is less than 1% of the total goods traffic). Between 56.27 and 53.53 latitude and 20.56 and 26.50 longitude, Lithuania is glacially flat, except for morainic hills in the western uplands and eastern highlands no higher than 300 meters. The terrain is marked by numerous small lakes and swamps, and a mixed forest zone covers 30% of the country. The growing season lasts 169 days in the east and 202 days in the west, with most farmland consisting of sandy- or clay-loam soils. Limestone, clay, sand, and gravel are Lithuania's primary natural resources, but the coastal shelf offers perhaps 10 million barrels' worth of oil deposits, and the southeast could provide high yields of iron ore and granite. According to some geographers, Lithuania's capital, Vilnius, lies at the geographical center of Europe.

Location: Northeastern Europe, bordering the Baltic Sea, between Latvia and Russia

Geographic coordinates: 56 00 N, 24 00 E

Map references: Europe

Area:
total: 65,200 sq km
land: 65,200 sq km
water: 0 sq km

Area - comparative: slightly larger than West Virginia

Land boundaries:
total: 1,273 km
border countries: Belarus 502 km, Latvia 453 km, Poland 91 km, Russia (Kaliningrad) 227 km

Coastline: 99 km

Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 12 nm

Climate: transitional, between maritime and continental; wet, moderate winters and summers

Terrain: lowland, many scattered small lakes, fertile soil

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Baltic Sea 0 m
highest point: Juozapines/Kalnas 292 m

Natural resources: peat, arable land

Land use:
arable land: 35%
permanent crops: 12%
permanent pastures: 7%
forests and woodland: 31%
other: 15% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: 430 sq km (1993 est.)

Natural hazards: NA

Environment - current issues: contamination of soil and groundwater with petroleum products and chemicals at military bases

Environment - international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Hazardous Wastes, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol

See also : Lithuania



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