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Myanmar (formerly Burma), Land and Resources

The total area of Myanmar is 676,552 sq km (261,218 sq mi). From north to south, Myanmar stretches about 2,085 km (about 1,295 mi); from east to west, the distance is about 930 km (about 575 mi). The coastal region is known as Lower Myanmar, while the interior region is known as Upper Myanmar. A horseshoe-shaped mountain complex and the valley of the Irrawaddy River system are the country’s dominant topographical features. The mountains of the northern margin rise to 5,881 m (19,295 ft) atop Hkakabo Razi, the highest peak in Southeast Asia. The two other mountain systems have northern to southern axes. The Arakan Yoma range, with peaks mostly between 915 m (3,000 ft) and 1,525 m (5,000 ft), forms a barrier between Myanmar and the subcontinent of India. The Bilauktaung Range, the southern extension of the Shan Plateau, lies along the boundary between southwestern Thailand and southeastern Lower Myanmar. The Shan Plateau, originating in China, has an average elevation of about 1,215 m (about 3,986 ft).

Generally narrow and elongated in the interior, the central lowlands attain a width of about 320 km (about 200 mi) across the Irrawaddy-Sittang delta. The deltaic plains, extremely fertile and economically the most important section of the country, cover an area of about 47,000 sq km (about 18,000 sq mi). Both the Arakan (in the northwest) and the Tenasserim (in the southwest) coasts of Myanmar are rocky and fringed with islands. The country has a number of excellent natural harbors.

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