Johnston Atoll

Johnston Atoll

Introduction Johnston Atoll -
Background: 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. 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 is progressing, with completion anticipated in 2004. Geography Johnston Atoll
Location: 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: 16 45 N, 169 31 W
Map references: Oceania
Area: total: 2.8 sq km water: 0 sq km land: 2.8 sq km
Area - comparative: about 4.7 times the size of The Mall in Washington, DC
Land boundaries: 0 km
Coastline: 34 km
Maritime claims: exclusive economic zone: 200 NM territorial sea: 12 NM
Climate: tropical, but generally dry; consistent northeast trade winds with little seasonal temperature variation
Terrain: mostly flat
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m highest point: Summit Peak 5 m
Natural resources: guano deposits worked until depletion about 1890, terrestrial and aquatic wildlife
Land use: arable land: 0% permanent crops: 0% other: 100% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land: 0 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards: NA Environment - current issues: no natural fresh water resources
Geography - note: 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; egg-shaped reef is 34 km in circumference; closed to the public; former US nuclear weapons test site; site of Johnston Atoll Chemical Agent Disposal System (JACADS); some lowgrowing vegetation People Johnston Atoll -
Population: no indigenous inhabitants note: in previous years, there was an average of 1,100 US military and civilian contractor personnel present; as of 1 September 2001, population had decreased significantly when US Army Chemical Activity Pacific (USACAP) departed (July 2002 est.)
Population growth rate: NA% Government Johnston Atoll -
Country name: conventional long form: none conventional short form: Johnston Atoll
Dependency status: unincorporated territory of the US; administered from Honolulu, HI, by Pacific Air Forces, Hickam AFB, and the Fish and Wildlife Service of the US Department of the Interior as part of the National Wildlife Refuge system
Legal system: the laws of the US, where applicable, apply
Flag description: the flag of the US is used Economy Johnston Atoll
Economy - overview: Economic activity is limited to providing services to US military personnel and contractors located on the island. All food and manufactured goods must be imported. Electricity - production: approximately 1million kWh weekly; note - there are six 25,000 kWh generators operated by the base operating support contractor (1999) Electricity - consumption: NA kWh Communications Johnston Atoll -
Telephone system: general assessment: 13 outgoing and 10 incoming commercial lines; adequate telecommunications domestic: 60-channel submarine cable (broken in January 2002), 22 DSN circuits by satellite, Autodin with standard remote terminal, digital telephone switch, Military Affiliated Radio System (MARS station), UHF/VHF air-ground radio, a link to the Pacific Consolidated Telecommunications Network (PCTN) satellite international: NA Radio broadcast stations: AM NA, FM NA, shortwave NA Television broadcast stations: commercial satellite television system, with 16 channels (1997) Internet Service Providers (ISPs): NA Transportation Johnston Atoll -
Waterways: none
Ports and harbors: Johnston Island Airports: 1 (2001)
Airports - with paved runways: total: 1 2,438 to 3,047 m: 1 (2001) Military Johnston Atoll -
Military - note: defense is the responsibility of the US Transnational Issues Johnston Atoll - Disputes - international: none

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▪ United States territory, Pacific Ocean
      unincorporated territory of the United States in the central Pacific Ocean, about 825 miles (1,330 km) southwest of Honolulu. It consists of four small islands on a raised coral atoll formation that are partially enclosed on the north and west by a 7.5-mile (12-km) semicircular reef. Two of the four—Johnston and Sand islands—are natural, and the other two are man-made by dredging. The islands' combined land area is about 1.1 square miles (2.8 square km), Johnston Island constituting the vast bulk of the total. Rainfall is sparse, and there are no sources of fresh water. Vegetation is limited to bunchgrass, herbs, and some introduced palm trees. The surrounding waters are home to a large variety of fishes and to other marine animals such as green sea turtles; in addition, vast numbers of seabirds visit the islands.

      The uninhabited atoll was discovered in 1796 by an American ship, which ran aground there. Sighted in 1807 by an English mariner, Captain C.J. Johnston, the islands remained unclaimed until 1858, when both the United States (under the Guano Act of 1856) and the Kingdom of Hawaii laid claim. The islands' guano deposits were worked until the early 20th century. Declared a bird sanctuary in 1926 under the administration of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the atoll was placed under the U.S. Navy in 1934. By 1941 a naval air station had been built, the landing strip taking up almost the full length of Johnston Island. Over the years, the military enlarged both Johnston and Sand islands by dredging and grading, in addition to creating the two small artificial islands. Johnston was transferred to U.S. Air Force jurisdiction in 1948 and was associated with U.S. nuclear weapons tests until 1962. The atoll subsequently became a storage facility for chemical weapons, and it was managed by the Defense Nuclear Agency (now part of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency) from 1974 to 1999, when the U.S. Air Force (United States Air Force, The) resumed control. A facility for incinerating U.S. chemical weapons stockpiles operated on Johnston Island from the early 1990s to 2000, after which all facilities on the atoll were dismantled and all military personnel (the islands' only inhabitants) removed. In 2004 Johnston Atoll was decommissioned as a military installation, and it was named a U.S. National Wildlife Refuge. In 2009 it was designated part of the Pacific Remote Islands Marine national monument.

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Universalium. 2010.

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