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Johnston Atoll


Johnston Atoll is a 2.8 km2 atoll in the North Pacific Ocean at 16 45 N, 169 30 W, about one-third of the way from Hawai'i to the Marshall Islands. Johnston Island and Sand Island are natural islands, which have been expanded by coral dredging. North Island (Akau) and East Island (Hikina) are artificial islands formed from coral dredging.

Johnston is an unincorporated territory of the United States, administered from Washington, DC by the United States Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) and managed cooperatively by DTRA and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service of the United States Department of the Interior as part of the National Wildlife Refuge system. The defense of Johnston Atoll is managed by the military of the United States. The islands are not open to the public.

The climate is tropical, but generally dry. Consistent northeast trade winds have little seasonal temperature variation. With elevation ranging from sea level to 5 m at Summit Peak, the islands contain some low-growing vegetation on mostly flat terrain and no natural fresh water resources.

The Atoll's guano deposits were worked until depletion at about 1890. Johnston Atoll was shelled by the Japanese in World War II. The area was formerly U.S. nuclear weapons test site and the site of the Johnston Atoll Chemical Agent Disposal System (JACADS).

The atoll has no indigenous inhabitants, although there are an average of 1,100 U.S. military and civilian contractor personnel present at any given time. The central means of transport to the island is the airport, which has a paved runway. The islands are wired with 13 outgoing and 10 incoming commercial telephone lines, a 60-channel submarine cable, 22 DSN circuits by satellite, an Autodin with standard remote terminal, a digital telephone switch, the Military Affiliated Radio System (MARS station),a UHF/VHF air-ground radio, and a link to the Pacific Consolidated Telecommunications Network (PCTN) satellite.

The atoll's economic activity is limited to providing services to U.S. military personnel and contractors located on the island. All food and manufactured goods must be imported. The base has six 25 MW generators supplied by the base operating support contractor.

As of 2003, the U.S. government is planning to eventually abandon the atoll. However, since there is much radioactive waste buried there, a massive cleanup effort is needed.

See also: Guano Islands Act

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Insular areas American Samoa | Baker Island | Guam | Howland Island | Jarvis Island | Johnston Atoll | Kingman Reef | Midway Atoll | Navassa Island | Northern Mariana Islands | Palmyra Atoll | Puerto Rico | Virgin Islands | Wake Island

Last updated: 02-07-2005 01:25:46
Last updated: 05-03-2005 17:50:55