Geography of Indonesia

The world's 16th largest country in terms of land area Indonesia has approximately 17,508 islands out of which 6,000 are inhabited. Besides its numerous islands there are sixty smaller archipelagos, two major are Nusa Tenggara and the Maluku Islands. The geography of Indonesia is also world famous for its volcanic mountains and its sporadic eruptions. The Indonesian islands all scattered over both sides of the equator, the five largest being Java, Sumatra, Kalimantan, New Guinea and Sulawesi. Together the geography of Indonesia is also diverse with different variations.


Situated in the South-Eastern Asia, in the Malay Archipelago between the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Oceans it's geographically 5 00 S, 120 00 E.

Land boundaries-

Indonesia borders a total land of 2,830 km. Malaysia on the island of Borneo with 1,782 km, Papua New Guinea on the island of New Guinea with 820 km and East Timor on the island of Timor with a total of 228 km. Besides, the island covers a total coastline of 54,716 km.

Area- Total area covered: 1,919,440 sq km
  • Land: 1,826,440 sq km
  • Water: 93,000 sq km

Land Topography-

Indonesian geography has mostly coastal lowlands with mountains in the interior of the large islands. Because of its location on the edges of three tectonic plates, the Pacific, Eurasian, and Australian plates numerous volcanoes and frequent earthquakes are quite common. The country has some 400 volcanoes of which 150 are active including Krakatoa and Tambora both famous for their devastating eruptions in the nineteenth century. However, the volcanic ash that erupts is a major supplier of the high agricultural fertility that has historically sustained the high population densities of Java and Bali. The mountains range between 3,000 and 3,800 m above sea level are found on the islands of Sumatra, Java, Sulawesi, Bali, Lombok and Seram. Located in the Sudirman Mountains is the highest peak, Puncak Jaya also known as Mount Carstenz with a height of 4,884 m. The largest lake with an area of 1,145 sq km is Lake Toba in Sumatra. Meandering through swamps to the sea are the country's largest rivers Mahakam and Barito allowing communication and transport between settlements built along their edges.

Land Usage-

Indonesian natural resources include petroleum, tin, bauxite, copper, natural gas, timber, nickel, gold, silver, fertile soils and coal.

  • Arable land: 11.03%
  • Permanent crops: 7.04%
  • Other: 81.93%

Indonesia's climate is tropical in nature with two distinct monsoonal wet and dry seasons. With a generally high humidity of about 80%, the temperature also varies over the year. The mean daily temperature of Jakarta is 21 to 33 C. The warm waters surrounding Indonesia ensures that temperatures on the land remain fairly constant. The archipelagoes divided by the Equator is almost tropical in nature with the coastal plains averaging 28 C. The average annual rainfall in the lowlands varies from 1,780 to 3,175 mm and up to 6,100 mm in mountainous regions. The west coast of Sumatra, West Java, Kalimantan, Sulawesi, and Papua receive the highest rainfall. According to the Indonesian geography temperatures drop approximately 1 per 90 m increase in elevation from sea-level with some high-altitude inland mountain regions experiencing night frosts. Irian Jaya, the highest mountain ranges are permanently capped with snow.

Natural Hazards-

Earthquakes, volcanoes, tsunamis, occasional floods, severe droughts and even forest fires are the natural calamities experienced by the country quite regularly.


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