Barat Daya Islands

Barat Daya Islands

The Barat Daya Islands (Indonesian: "Kepulauan Barat Daya") are a group of islands in the Maluku province of Indonesia. The Indonesian phrase "barat daya" means 'south-west', referring to the islands' location relative to the capital of Maluku province, Ambon.


Wetar is the largest island in the group, which also includes Romang and Damar islands. To the west, the Ombai Strait separates Wetar from Alor Island, the easternmost of the Lesser Sunda Islands (Nusa Tenggara). The Wetar Strait separates Wetar from Timor to the south. Romang and Damar lie east of Wetar, separated by the Romang Strait from the Leti Islands and Sermata Island. Ambon Island, Buru, and Seram lie some distance north across the Banda Sea.

The islands are part of a volcanic island arc that includes the Banda Islands, created by the collision of the Indo-Australian Plate and the Eurasian Plate. Romang and Damar are volcanic; Wetar consists mostly of oceanic crust that was pushed to the surface by the colliding plates. The Barat Daya and Banda islands constitute an inner arc; the outer arc, which includes Timor, the Tanimbar Islands, and the Kai Islands, is mostly made up of oceanic crust lifted up by the collision, and wraps around south and east of the inner arc. The Gunungapi Wetar Volcano (elevation 282 m), a stratovolcano on Wetar, erupted in 1699 and 1512. Wetar has several gold mines.

The islands, together with Timor, Nusa Tenggara, Sulawesi, and most of Maluku, are part of Wallacea, the group of Indonesian islands that are separated by deep water from both the Australian and Asian continental shelves. The islands of Wallacea have never been linked by land to either Asia or Australia, and as a result have few mammals and a mix of flora and fauna from both continents. Rainfall is highly seasonal based on the monsoon, and the islands are mostly covered in tropical dry broadleaf forests that are partly deciduous, with many trees losing their leaves in the dry season. The Barat Daya Islands, together with Timor, the Leti Islands, and Alor, are designated as the Timor and Wetar deciduous forests ecoregion.

ee also

*Islands of Indonesia

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