Sumatra - Geography

Geography

The longest axis of the island runs approximately 1,790 km (1,110 mi) northwest–southeast, crossing the equator near the centre. At its widest point, the island spans 435 km (270 mi). The interior of the island is dominated by two geographical regions: the Barisan Mountains in the west and swampy plains in the east.

To the southeast is Java, separated by the Sunda Strait. To the north is the Malay Peninsula, separated by the Strait of Malacca. To the east is Borneo, across the Karimata Strait. West of the island is the Indian Ocean.

The backbone of the island is the Barisan Mountain chain, with the active volcano Mount Kerinci as the highest point at 3,805 m (12,467 ft), located at about the midpoint of the range. The volcanic activity of this region endowed the region with fertile land and beautiful sceneries, for instance around Lake Toba. It also contains deposits of coal and gold. The volcanic activity stems from Sumatra's location on the Pacific "Ring of Fire"—which is also the reason why Sumatra has had some of the most powerful earthquakes ever recorded: in 1833, 2004, 2005 and in the September 2007 Sumatra earthquakes.

To the east, big rivers carry silt from the mountains, forming the vast lowland interspersed by swamps. Even if mostly unsuitable for farming, the area is currently of great economic importance for Indonesia. It produces oil from both above and below the soil—palm oil and petroleum.

Sumatra is the largest producer of Indonesian coffee. Small-holders grow Arabica coffee (Coffea arabica) in the highlands, while Robusta (Coffea canephora) is found in the lowlands. Arabica coffee from the regions of Gayo, Lintong and Sidikilang is typically processed using the Giling Basah (wet hulling) technique, which gives it a heavy body and low acidity.

Most of Sumatra used to be covered by tropical rainforest, but economic development coupled with corruption and illegal logging has severely threatened its existence. Even designated conservation areas have not been spared from this destruction.

The island is the world's 5th highest island, and the third highest in the Indonesian archipelago.

Batang Hari River is the longest river in the island with its source in Minangkabau highlands stretching around 800 kilometers eastward to its estuarine in Jambi lowlands.

Read more about this topic:  Sumatra

Other articles related to "geography":

Human Geography - History
... In the history of geography, geographers have often recorded and described features of the Earth that might now be considered the remit of human, rather than physical, geographers ... the 18th and 19th centuries, however, that geography was recognised as a formal academic discipline ... did not get its first full Chair of geography until 1917 ...
Yacolt, Washington - Geography
... According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 0.5 square miles (1.3 km²), all of it land. ...
Yorkville, Oneida County, New York - Geography
... According to the United States Census Bureau, the village has a total area of 0.7 square miles (1.7 km²), all of it land. ...
Human Geography - Fields - Historical
... Historical Geography is the study of the human, physical, fictional, theoretical, and "real" geographies of the past ... Historical geography studies a wide variety of issues and topics ... Subfields include Time geography ...

Famous quotes containing the word geography:

    Yet America is a poem in our eyes; its ample geography dazzles the imagination, and it will not wait long for metres.
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882)

    At present cats have more purchasing power and influence than the poor of this planet. Accidents of geography and colonial history should no longer determine who gets the fish.
    Derek Wall (b. 1965)

    The California fever is not likely to take us off.... There is neither romance nor glory in digging for gold after the manner of the pictures in the geography of diamond washing in Brazil.
    Rutherford Birchard Hayes (1822–1893)