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Indonesia Geografi

Indonesia Geografi

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Published by DONY DONKERS

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Published by: DONY DONKERS on Mar 09, 2010
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Indonesia's Geography
Indonesia is the largest archipelago in the world. It consists of five major islands and about 30 smaller groups. The figure forthe total number of islands is 17,508 according to theIndonesian Naval Hydro-Oceanographic office. The archipelagois on a crossroads between two oceans, the Pacific and theIndian ocean, and bridges two continents, Asia and Australia. This strategic position has always influenced the cultural,social, political and economic life of the country. The territory of the Republic of Indonesia stretches from 6
08'north latitude to 11
15' south latitude, and from 94
45' to141
05' east longitude. The Indonesian sea area is four timesgreater than its land area, which is about 1.9 million sq. km. The sea area is about 7.9 million sq. km (including an exclusiveeconomic zone) and constitutes about 81% of the total area of the country. The five main islands are: Sumatra, which is about 473,606 sq.km. in size; the most fertile and densely populated islands, Java/Madura, 132,107 sq. km; Kalimantan, which comprisestwo-thirds of the island of Borneo and measures 539,460 sq.km; Sulawesi, 189,216 sq. km; and Irian Jaya, 421,981 sq. km,which is part of the world's second largest island, New Guinea.Indonesia's other islands are smaller in size. The archipelago is divided into three groups. The islands of  Java, Sumatra and Kalimantan, and the small islands in-between, lie on the Sunda Shelf which begin on the coasts of Malaysia and Indo China, where the sea depth does not exceed700 feet. Irian Jaya which is part of the island of New Guinea,and the Aru Islands lie on the Sahul Shelf, which stretchesnorthwards from the Australian coast. Here the sea depth issimilar to that of the Sunda Shelf.
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ocated between these two shelves is the island group of Nusatenggara, Maluku and Sulawesi, where the sea depthreaches 15,000 feet. Coastal plains have been developedaround the islands of Sumatra, Java, Kalimantan and Irian Jaya. The land area is generally covered by thick tropical rain forests,where fertile soils are continuously replenished by volcaniceruptions like those on the island of Java. The country is predominantly mountainous with some 400volcanoes, of which 100 are active. Mountains higher than9,000 feet are found on the islands of Sumatra (Mt. Leuser andMt. Kerinci), Java (Mt. Gede, Mt. Tangkubanperahu, Mt. Ciremai,Mt. Kawi, Mt. Kelud, Mt. Semeru and Mt. Raung), Sulawesi (Mt.Lompobatang and Mt. Rantekombala), Bali (Mt. Batur and Mt.Agung), Lombok (Mt. Rinjani) and Sumbawa (Mt. Tambora). The
highest mountain is the perpetually snow-capped Mandala Top(15,300 feet) in the Jaya Wijaya mountain range of Irian Jaya.Many rivers flow throughout the country. They serve as usefultransportation routes on certain islands, for example, the Musi,Batanghari, Indragiri and Kampar rivers in Sumatra; theKapuas, Barito, Mahakam and Rejang rivers in Kalimantan; andthe Memberamo and Digul rivers in Irian Jaya. On Java riversare important for irrigation purposes, i.e., the Bengawan Solo,Citarum and Brantas rivers.A number of islands are dotted with scenic lakes, like the Toba,Maninjau and Singkarak lakes on Sumatra; the Tempe, Towuti,Sidenreng, Poso, Limboto, Tondano, and Matana lakes onSulawesi; and the Paniai and Sentani lakes on Irian Jaya.
 The climate and weather of Indonesia is characterized by twotropical seasons, which vary with the equatorial air circulation(the Walker circulation) and the meridian air circulation (theHardley circulation). The displacement of the latter follows thenorth-south movement of the sun and its relative position fromthe earth, in particular from the continents of Asia andAustralia, at certain periods of the year. These factorscontribute to the displacement and intensity of the Inter- Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) which is an equatorialtrough of low pressure that produces rain. Thus, the west andeast monsoons, or the rainy and dry seasons, are a prevalentfeature of the tropical climate. The Main Seasons The climate changes every six months. The dry season (June toSeptember) is influenced by the Australian continental airmasses; while the rainy season (December to March) is theresult of the Asian and Pacific Ocean air masses. The aircontains vapor which precipitates and produces rain in thecountry. Tropical areas have rains almost the whole yearthrough. However, the climate of Central Maluku is anexception. The rainy season is from June to September and thedry season from December to March. The transitional periodsbetween the two seasons are April to May and October toNovember. Temperature and HumidityDue to the large number of islands and mountains in thecountry, average temperatures may be classified as follows:coastal plains: 28
Cinland and mountain areas: 26
Chigher mountain areas: 23
C, varying with the altitude.Being in a tropical zone, Indonesia has an average relative
humidity between 70% and 90%, with a minimum of 73% and amaximum of 87%.
When independence was proclaimed and sovereignty gained,Indonesia had to enact laws to govern the seas in accordancewith the geographic structure of an archipelagic state. This,however, did not mean that the country would bar internationalpassage. The laws were necessary instruments for the unityand national resilience of the country, with a territory thatembraces all the islands, the islets and the seas in between.In view of the country's susceptibility to foreign interventionfrom the sea and for domestic security reasons, on December13, 1957, the Indonesian Government issued a declaration onthe territorial waters of the Republic. It stated that all thewaters surrounding and between the islands in the territorycame within Indonesia's sovereignty. It also determined thatthe country's territorial water limit was 12 miles, measuredfrom a straight baseline drawn from the outermost points of the islands.In the past, archipelagic states like Indonesia have unilaterallydetermined their 200-mile-Exclusive Economic Zones. Todaysuch economic zones are confirmed by the InternationalConvention on the Law of the Sea, which was ratified by the

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