Geography of Taiwan

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Taiwan is a medium-sized archipelago in East Asia, located at 23°30" N, 121°00" E and running through the middle of the Tropic of Cancer (23°5" N). It makes up the majority of the territories effectively under the administration of the Republic of China (commonly known as "Taiwan").



The island of Taiwan was formed approximately 4 to 5 million years ago from a geosyncline (via plate tectonics), and is part of an island arc.[1][2] It was formed when the Eurasian Plate slid under an ancient chain of volcanic islands on the neighboring Philippine Sea Plate. At the northern end of Taiwan, the Philippine Sea Plate slides under the Eurasian Plate.

Physical Boundaries

The main island of the archipelago is Taiwan Island, which comprises about 99%[1] of the current jurisdiction of the Republic of China; the other 1% consists of the smaller islands of the archipelago such as Orchid Island and the Penghu islands, along with the tiny islets - Green Island and Hsiao Liuchiu. The archipelago is separated from mainland China by the Taiwan Strait, which ranges from 220 km (137 mi) at its widest point to 130 km (81 mi) at its narrowest point.[2] Taiwan is bounded by the Bashi Channel in the south, the East China Sea in the north, and the Pacific Ocean in the east.[3]

The islands of Kinmen, Matsu, Wuchiu, etc. across the Taiwan Strait, and Pratas and Taiping in the South China Sea, are also administered by the Republic of China. These islands are however not part of the Taiwanese archipelago. Taiwan's area is 35,980 km2 (13,892 sq mi) of which 32,260 km2 (12,456 sq mi) is land and 3,720 km2 (1,436 sq mi) is territorial water claims, making it slightly smaller than the combined area of Maryland and Delaware, or slightly bigger than territory of Belgium. It is 394 km (245 mi) long and 144 km (89 mi) wide. It has a coastline of 1,566.3 km (973.3 mi). The ROC claims an exclusive economic zone of 200 nmi (370.4 km; 230.2 mi) and a territorial sea of 12 nmi (22.2 km; 13.8 mi).[4]

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