The information below contains geography information for Nauru, including climate, weather,
cities, and area information. You can also check out the
Nauru Country Page for additional
Area: 21 sq. km.
Cities: Capital--no official capital; government offices in Yaren District.
Terrain: Sandy beach rises to a fertile but narrow ring around raised coral reefs with phosphate plateau in center.
Climate: tropical; monsoonal; rainy season (November to February).
Geography of Nauru
Nauru is a small oval-shaped island in the western Pacific Ocean, located just 42 kilometers (26 mi.) south of the Equator. It is one of three great phosphate rock islands in the Pacific Ocean--the others are Banaba (Ocean Island) in Kiribati and Makatea in French Polynesia--though its phosphate reserves are nearly depleted. Phosphate mining in the central plateau has left a barren terrain of jagged coral pinnacles, up to 15 meters (49 ft.) high. A century of mining has stripped and devastated four-fifths of the total land area.
The island is surrounded by a coral reef, exposed at low tide and dotted with pinnacles. The reef is bounded seaward by deep water, inside by a sandy beach. A 150-300-meter (492-984 ft.) wide fertile coastal strip lies landward from the beach. Coral cliffs surround the central plateau. The highest point of the plateau is 65 meters (213 ft.) above sea level. The only fertile areas are the narrow coastal belt, where there are coconut palms, pandanus trees and indigenous hardwoods, and the land surrounding Buada lagoon, where bananas, pineapples, and some vegetables are grown. Some secondary vegetation grows over the coral pinnacles.