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Offical reports give the land area as 147,181 km², 56,827 miles² (some earlier publications have this as low as 140,797 km²), representing about 0.09% of the total global land area. 23% is low-lying Terai, 77% are the hills and mountains. In comparison with other countries, Nepal is about the same as the length of the UK and the ‘boot' of Italy, and about the same area as Bangladesh (144k km²), Greece (132k km²), and Florida or Illinois (USA). It is slightly smaller than Honshu island (Japan), Java, and California (USA).
Although there is little controversy over the highest elevation in Nepal (Sagarmatha [Mount Everest], 8848* m, 29028 ft), the lowest elevation is open to continued debate. Contendors for the title of lowest elevation include: Kechana Kabal, Jhapa District, 62 m; Budha Nagar, Morang District, 60 m; and Musaharniya Tol, Dhanusa District, 59 m. These altitudes are those given on the official Topo maps, but they are currently under review by the government survey office. Unofficial reports indicate that Musaharniya Tol has the lowest altitude at around 56.3 m, but this awaits confirmation.
[*8850 m is given in a 1999 estimate]
70 large glaciers can be found in the Himalaya, representing the largest body of ice outside the Polar ice caps. The rate of retreat has been accelerating since 1970’s due to global warming, and is faster than that recorded anywhere else in the world. These glaciers feed the major rivers (Mahakali, Karnali, Narayani [Gandaki] and Koshi) which originate deep in the Himalaya, and each has at least one tributary which rises in Xizang (Tibet). Smaller rivers, such as the Babai, West Rapti, Bagmati, Kamla, Kankai and Mechi, generally originate in the Mid Hills or in the Mahabharat Range.
Nepal extends 885 km west to east to (longitudes 80°04' to 88°12' E), and an average of 193 km north to south, varying between 145 km in central Nepal to 241 km in the west (latitudes 26°22' to 30°27' N).