Samoa Geography

What is the terrain and geography like in Samoa?

Overview:

Samoa is a group of volcanic islands in the heart of the South Pacific. Independent or "Western " Samoa lies halfway between Hawaii and New Zealand and just to the west of American Samoa. Samoa consists primarily of two major islands, Upolu and Savaii, which together make up an area of approximately 2,680 sq. km (115 sq. miles). The capital, Apia, sits on the northern coast of Upolu. Savaii is a few kilometers to the west of Upolu and slightly larger. The only other inhabited islands Manono and Apolima, are two small land masses in the Apolima Strait, which separates Upolu and Savaii. Many tiny uninhabited islands and a few lonely atolls comprise the remainder of the country.

Lush forests of predominantly broadleaf evergreens, vines, ferns, and mosses cover the upland areas of the islands. The mountains of Upolu and Savaii are host to temperate forest vegetation, such as tree ferns, wild coleus and epiphytic plants (mosses and other nonparasitic creepers) and grasses. Banyan trees dominate the landscape at higher elevations. The tropical rainforests are both a source of food as well as a rich resource for natural medicine. Traditional healers use 75 plant species to treat up to 200 different types of diseases. Scrubland, marshes, pandanus forests and mangrove swamps cover the remainder of the island.

Geography - note:

occupies an almost central position within Polynesia

Climate:

Samoa's proximity to the Equator results in hot and humid conditions throughout most of the year. There are two distinct seasons, the dry season (winter) between May and October and the wet season (summer) between November and April. The average annual temperature is 26.5 °C in coastal areas, with a decrease in temperature as the land rises inland. Southeasterly trade winds make April to October the more pleasant months. Samoa lies in the cyclone belt and is periodically buffeted and bruised by cyclones, the majority of which occur between November and April.

Samoa Use of Natural Resources

Samoa Environment

Climate:

Samoa's proximity to the Equator results in hot and humid conditions throughout most of the year. There are two distinct seasons, the dry season (winter) between May and October and the wet season (summer) between November and April. The average annual temperature is 26.5 °C in coastal areas, with a decrease in temperature as the land rises inland. Southeasterly trade winds make April to October the more pleasant months. Samoa lies in the cyclone belt and is periodically buffeted and bruised by cyclones, the majority of which occur between November and April.

Terrain:

two main islands (Savaii, Upolu) and several smaller islands and uninhabited islets; narrow coastal plain with volcanic, rocky, rugged mountains in interior

Natural Resources:

hardwood forests, fish, hydropower

Natural Hazards:

occasional typhoons; active volcanism

Environmental Issues:

soil erosion, deforestation, invasive species, overfishing

Environment - International Agreements:

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands

signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Samoa Geography

Geographic Location Oceania
Total Area 1,093 Square Miles
2,831 Square Kilometers
Land Area 1,089 Square Miles
2,821 Square Kilometers
Water Area 4 Square Miles
10 Square Kilometers
Coastline 250 Miles
403 Kilometers
Geographic Coordinates 13 35 S, 172 20 W
Terrain two main islands (Savaii, Upolu) and several smaller islands and uninhabited islets; narrow coastal plain with volcanic, rocky, rugged mountains in interior
Highest Point 1,857 Meters
Highest Point Location Mauga Silisili (Savaii) 1,857 m
Lowest Point Location Pacific Ocean 0 m
Natural Resources hardwood forests, fish, hydropower
Time Zone UTC+13 (18 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
Daylight saving time +1hr, begins last Sunday in September; ends first Sunday in April
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