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Johnston Atoll:
Geography

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Johnston Atoll Page


Other pages in this profile of Johnston Atoll:
People, Government, Economy, Communications & Transportation, Military & Transnational Issues.
Background
Definition
Both the US and the Kingdom of Hawaii annexed Johnston Atoll in 1858, but it was the US that mined the guano deposits until the late 1880s. Johnston Island and Sand Island were designated wildlife refuges in 1926. The US Navy took over the atoll in 1934, and subsequently the US Air Force assumed control in 1948. The site was used for high-altitude nuclear tests in the 1950s and 1960s, and until late in 2000 the atoll was maintained as a storage and disposal site for chemical weapons. Munitions destruction is now complete. Cleanup and closure of the facility ended in May 2005.
Location
Definition
Oceania, atoll in the North Pacific Ocean 717 nm (1328 km) southwest of Honolulu, Hawaii, about one-third of the way from Hawaii to the Marshall Islands
Geographic coordinates
Definition
16 45 N, 169 31 W
Map references
Definition
Oceania
Area
Definition
total: 2.63 sq km
land: 2.63 sq km
water: 0 sq km
Area - comparative
Definition
about 4.7 times the size of The Mall in Washington, DC
Land boundaries
Definition
0 km
Coastline
Definition
34 km
Maritime claims
Definition
territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
Climate
Definition
tropical, but generally dry; consistent northeast trade winds with little seasonal temperature variation
Terrain
Definition
mostly flat
Elevation extremes
Definition
lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: Summit Peak 5 m
Natural resources
Definition
guano deposits worked until depletion about 1890, terrestrial and aquatic wildlife
Land use
Definition
arable land: 0%
permanent crops: 0%
other: 100% (2005)
Irrigated land
Definition
0 sq km
Natural hazards
Definition
NA
Environment - current issues
Definition
no natural fresh water resources
Geography - note
Definition
strategic location in the North Pacific Ocean; Johnston Island and Sand Island are natural islands, which have been expanded by coral dredging; North Island (Akau) and East Island (Hikina) are manmade islands formed from coral dredging; the egg-shaped reef is 34 km in circumference; closed to the public; a former US nuclear weapons test site; site of now-closed Johnston Atoll Chemical Agent Disposal System (JACADS); most facilities dismantled and cleanup complete in 2004; some low-growing vegetation


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