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March 2005



Indonesia (area: c.735,000 sq mi/1,903,650 sq km; approximately three times the size of Texas), an independent republic located in the Malay Archipelago, SE Asia, is the 5th-most populous country in the world. Indonesia comprises more than 17,000 islands extending more than 3,000 miles (4,830 km) along the equator between the Indian and Pacific oceans. The most important islands, culturally and economically are Java, Sumatra, and Bali. All the larger islands have a central volcanic mountainous area flanked by coastal plains; there are more than 100 active volcanoes. Earthquakes are frequent, and occasionally severe.

According to the United States Geological Survey Volcano Hazard Program the Gunung Awu volcano on Great Sanghihe Island, Indonesia, has been erupting since June 5, 2004. A map of Indonesian volcanoes that have erupted over the past century can be found at the Smithsonian/USGS Weekly Volcanic Activity Report.

CIA World Factbook; U.S. State Department Background Notes,

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