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A day
A day's work in Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument
Published: 2015/10/24
Channel: Morgan Winston
North Western Hawaiian Islands
North Western Hawaiian Islands
Published: 2016/11/25
Channel: John Paix
Earth
Earth's Extremes - Volcanoes in Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, Hawaii
Published: 2017/01/04
Channel: Planetedge
Hawaii’s Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument: History in the Making
Hawaii’s Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument: History in the Making
Published: 2016/08/26
Channel: Pew
Sharks in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands
Sharks in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands
Published: 2016/05/19
Channel: Association for Marine Exploration
Monk Seal Mystery - Northwest Hawaiian Islands
Monk Seal Mystery - Northwest Hawaiian Islands
Published: 2009/01/07
Channel: NatGeoOceans
Good Documentary Films: Hawaii Like You
Good Documentary Films: Hawaii Like You've Never Seen it Before
Published: 2014/08/19
Channel: Documentary Films
Death in Paradise | National Geographic
Death in Paradise | National Geographic
Published: 2008/07/02
Channel: National Geographic
Marine Debris Removal in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands
Marine Debris Removal in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands
Published: 2009/10/19
Channel: ecoccagna
Sunken WWII-era fighter plane found in Northwestern Hawaiian Islands
Sunken WWII-era fighter plane found in Northwestern Hawaiian Islands
Published: 2014/10/17
Channel: KHON2 News
Midway Pier
Midway Pier
Published: 2015/12/10
Channel: TheJohnburns84
Nihoa Island
Nihoa Island
Published: 2008/01/20
Channel: plantwallah
Supporters rally for proposal to expand Northwestern Hawaiian Islands monument
Supporters rally for proposal to expand Northwestern Hawaiian Islands monument
Published: 2016/05/06
Channel: KHON2 News
Northwestern Hawaiian Islands 2003: Unidentified Squid
Northwestern Hawaiian Islands 2003: Unidentified Squid
Published: 2008/04/10
Channel: oceanexplorergov
How Old Is Nihoa Island?
How Old Is Nihoa Island?
Published: 2017/08/28
Channel: Trix Trix
Northwestern Hawaiian Islands 2003: Monk Seal
Northwestern Hawaiian Islands 2003: Monk Seal
Published: 2006/12/14
Channel: oceanexplorergov
The Hawaiian Islands 1924 Ford Motor Company; JQ Music
The Hawaiian Islands 1924 Ford Motor Company; JQ Music
Published: 2014/09/23
Channel: Jeff Quitney
Biosecurity Protocols for Protecting the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands
Biosecurity Protocols for Protecting the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands
Published: 2013/02/07
Channel: Kure Atoll
Opihi more common in northwest Hawaiian islands
Opihi more common in northwest Hawaiian islands
Published: 2012/09/26
Channel: KHON2 News
Flying over the Hawaiian islands
Flying over the Hawaiian islands
Published: 2015/06/21
Channel: Global Spotter
VOS2-16 Promo - Onboard the Falkor: Mapping the Northwest Hawaiian Islands
VOS2-16 Promo - Onboard the Falkor: Mapping the Northwest Hawaiian Islands
Published: 2015/10/27
Channel: Voice of the Sea TV
Reef shark pummels camera (Northwestern Hawaiian Islands)
Reef shark pummels camera (Northwestern Hawaiian Islands)
Published: 2017/04/04
Channel: Julie Zill
Northwest Hawaiian Islands Fish.MOV
Northwest Hawaiian Islands Fish.MOV
Published: 2011/11/30
Channel: Linda Bachrach
NOAA cleans marine debris in Northwestern Hawaiian Islands
NOAA cleans marine debris in Northwestern Hawaiian Islands
Published: 2015/06/09
Channel: KHON2 News
Nihoa
Nihoa
Published: 2008/08/07
Channel: paeaina
306 Punches: Kure Atoll, Northwestern Hawaiian Islands
306 Punches: Kure Atoll, Northwestern Hawaiian Islands
Published: 2011/08/10
Channel: NOAA Sanctuaries
Midway Project Aerial Surveying of all the Northwest Hawaiian Islands
Midway Project Aerial Surveying of all the Northwest Hawaiian Islands
Published: 2010/08/28
Channel: kiel pattison
Filling up the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Exhibit
Filling up the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Exhibit
Published: 2011/05/05
Channel: waikikiaquarium
Banding of Albatross in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands
Banding of Albatross in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands
Published: 2013/10/16
Channel: Cloud .Tube
Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Fish
Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Fish
Published: 2011/12/03
Channel: Linda Bachrach
Safe Haven
Safe Haven
Published: 2007/12/24
Channel: Bucky Taotaotasi
Sharks investigate baited cameras at Maro Reef, Northwestern Hawaiian Islands
Sharks investigate baited cameras at Maro Reef, Northwestern Hawaiian Islands
Published: 2016/06/01
Channel: Julie Zill
Monk Seals thriving in the Northwest Hawaiian Islands
Monk Seals thriving in the Northwest Hawaiian Islands
Published: 2014/09/23
Channel: KITV
Researchers study opihi in Northwestern Hawaiian Islands
Researchers study opihi in Northwestern Hawaiian Islands
Published: 2012/09/26
Channel: KITV
VOS2-16 Full Episode - Onboard the Falkor: Mapping the Northwest Hawaiian Islands
VOS2-16 Full Episode - Onboard the Falkor: Mapping the Northwest Hawaiian Islands
Published: 2016/03/18
Channel: Voice of the Sea TV
Northwestern Hawaiian Islands 2012 Intertidal -
Northwestern Hawaiian Islands 2012 Intertidal - 'Opihi Monitoring Crew
Published: 2012/12/29
Channel: ILoveInverts
Albatross necropsy in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands
Albatross necropsy in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands
Published: 2013/10/17
Channel: Cloud .Tube
Five new deepwater corals found in the Northwestern Hawaiian
Five new deepwater corals found in the Northwestern Hawaiian
Published: 2008/10/23
Channel: oceancontent
Field Camps on Kūpuna Islands: Building Better Kānaka (Hōkū Cody)
Field Camps on Kūpuna Islands: Building Better Kānaka (Hōkū Cody)
Published: 2015/01/30
Channel: OHAHawaii
Lisianski (Site 52), Northwest Hawaiian Islands 2016
Lisianski (Site 52), Northwest Hawaiian Islands 2016
Published: 2016/12/15
Channel: 100 Island Challenge
Intova IC14 video by Kyle at Northwest Hawaiian islands.mpg
Intova IC14 video by Kyle at Northwest Hawaiian islands.mpg
Published: 2011/10/27
Channel: Intova
Kure Atoll (Site 54), Northwest Hawaiian Islands 2016
Kure Atoll (Site 54), Northwest Hawaiian Islands 2016
Published: 2016/12/15
Channel: 100 Island Challenge
Hawaiian Grouper
Hawaiian Grouper
Published: 2015/10/15
Channel: Association for Marine Exploration
Species of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Exhibit at the Waikiki Aquarium.wmv
Species of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Exhibit at the Waikiki Aquarium.wmv
Published: 2011/08/15
Channel: fishchanneleditor
Hawaiian Islands Nature Beauty In Pacific Ocean
Hawaiian Islands Nature Beauty In Pacific Ocean
Published: 2016/09/17
Channel: MariusTravell
Channel Islands Norhwestern Hawaiian Islands Bodega Bay
Channel Islands Norhwestern Hawaiian Islands Bodega Bay
Published: 2011/03/27
Channel: Robert Schwemmer
Discover the Hawaiian Islands
Discover the Hawaiian Islands
Published: 2016/09/29
Channel: HawaiiHTA
Coral Spawning North West Hawaiian Islands
Coral Spawning North West Hawaiian Islands
Published: 2011/05/20
Channel: Kristina Dickson
Pearl and Hermes Atoll (Site 53), Northwest Hawaiian Islands 2016
Pearl and Hermes Atoll (Site 53), Northwest Hawaiian Islands 2016
Published: 2016/12/15
Channel: 100 Island Challenge
Jean-Michel Cousteau supports expansion of Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument
Jean-Michel Cousteau supports expansion of Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument
Published: 2016/09/02
Channel: OceanFuturesSociety
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WIKIPEDIA ARTICLE

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NW Hawaiian Islands is located in Pacific Ocean
NW Hawaiian Islands
NW Hawaiian Islands
Location of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands in the Pacific Ocean

The Northwestern Hawaiian Islands or the Leeward Islands are the small islands and atolls in the Hawaiian island chain located northwest (in some cases, far to the northwest) of the islands of Kauai and Niihau. Politically, they are all part of Honolulu County in the U.S. state of Hawaii, except Midway Atoll, which is grouped as one of the United States Minor Outlying Islands. The United States Census Bureau defines this area, except Midway, as Census Tract 114.98 of Honolulu County. Its total land area is 3.1075 square miles (8.048 km2). All the islands except Nihoa are north of the Tropic of Cancer, making them the only islands in Hawaii that lie outside the tropics.

The Northwestern or Leeward Hawaiian Islands include:

The islands[edit]

The interior of Laysan, showing the hypersaline lake.
  • 156-acre (0.63 km2) Nihoa is the youngest of the NWHI, and the tallest, with 900-foot (270 m) vertical cliffs. It represents the southwestern part of the island's former volcanic cone. Ancient Hawaiians might have stayed here long-term.
  • 40-acre (160,000 m2) Necker Island is hook shaped and 270 feet (82 m) tall at its summit. Barren of vegetation, it was used by Ancient Hawaiians for religious purposes, but not for long-term habitation.
  • French Frigate Shoals is an atoll, the largest region of coral reefs in Hawaii, at 200 square miles (520 km2). The atoll is composed of a dozen or so small islands, Tern Island housing an airport and human habitations.
  • Gardner Pinnacles is made up of two small basalt peaks, the last rocky island in Hawaii. While the island itself is tiny, the surrounding reef is expansive and diverse.
  • 166-square-mile (430 km2) Maro Reef is an extremely fertile reef system that has been described as a "coral garden."
  • Laysan is a 913-acre (3.69 km2), low, sandy island with a natural lake in its interior, one of only five such lakes in Hawaii. It has arguably the most diverse ecosystem in the NWHI, and hosts about two million seabirds of seventeen species.[1]
  • Lisianski Island, only 400 acres (1.6 km2), is geologically akin to Laysan, without the lake. Though the island is slightly less biodiverse, the surrounding reef is very fertile.
  • Pearl and Hermes Atoll is an atoll very similar to French Frigate Shoals, but with much less dry land. For this reason, it was mostly ignored by guano miners and feather hunters.
  • Midway Atoll is the most commonly known of the NWHI, and is also the largest. The Battle of Midway was fought here and in its surrounding waters, and the island remains permanently inhabited, albeit by persons who are there in consequence of their service with the United States Government, not an indigenous population.
  • Circular Kure Atoll contains the 236-acre (0.96 km2) Green Island, which used to host a LORAN station and a runway, but these have since been demolished. In terms of biodiversity, Kure is one of the less impressive of the NWHI.

Geology[edit]

The Northwestern Hawaiian Islands were formed, approximately 7 to 30 million years ago, as shield volcanoes over the same volcanic hotspot that formed the Emperor Seamounts to the north and the Main Hawaiian Islands to the south.[2] As the Pacific Plate moved north and later northwest over the hot spot, volcanic eruptions built up islands in a linear chain. The isolated land masses gradually eroded and subsided, evolving from high islands in the south, much like the Main Islands of Hawaii, to atolls (or seamounts) north of the Darwin Point. Each of the NWHI are in various stages of erosion. Nihoa, Necker, and Gardner Pinnacles are rocky, basalt islands that have not eroded enough to form an atoll, or lack a substantial coral reef. Laysan and Lisianski are low, sandy islands that have been eroded longer. French Frigate Shoals, Pearl and Hermes, Midway, and Kure are atolls.

North of Darwin Point, the coral reef grows more slowly than the island's subsidence, and as the Pacific Plate moves northwest, the island becomes a seamount when it crosses this line. Kure Atoll straddles Darwin Point, and will sink beneath the ocean when its coral reef cannot keep up with the rate of subsidence, a destiny that awaits every Hawaiian island.[3]

Biodiversity and endemism[edit]

The Hawaiian Islands are about 2,500 miles (4,000 km) from North America and 3,800 miles (6,100 km) from Asia, and it is because of this isolation that the Hawaiian Islands have extraordinary numbers of unique species.[4] Only a species that could fly or swim immense distances could reach the archipelago. But whereas Polynesians, and later, Europeans, have largely altered the ecosystem of the Main Hawaiian islands by introducing alien species, the ecosystems of the NWHI remain, for the most part, intact. The extensive coral reefs found in Papahānaumokuākea are home to over 7,000 marine species.[5] Of the many species that live here, over 1,700 species of organisms are endemic to the Hawaiian Islands (i.e., they are found nowhere else). For this reason, the region has been dubbed "America's Galápagos."

Though not subject to nearly as much extinction as the main islands, the Leeward Islands have had their share of abuse. From the late 19th to the early 20th centuries, fishermen, guano miners, and feather hunters killed most of the birds and sea life living in the NWHI. Rabbits were introduced to Laysan and Lisianksi, where they multiplied and devoured most of the vegetation, permanently extinguishing several species. Fortunately, almost all of the damage was reversed, and the islands were restored largely to their pre-exploitation state.

Some of the endemic species of the NWHI include the Nihoa and Laysan finch, the Laysan duck (the "rarest native waterfowl in the United States"),[6] and the Nihoa fan palm. Other notable species are the Laysan albatross, the highly endangered Hawaiian monk seal, and the green sea turtle. The only native trapdoor spiders in the Hawaiian archipelago (Nihoa spp.), recently discovered, are found only here. Most endemic species are highly vulnerable to extinction as one major catastrophic event could wipe out all of the vegetation on each small island. Additionally, seventy percent of all coral reefs in the United States are found here.

Exploration[edit]

The reserve sign on Lisianski

It is known that the Ancient Hawaiians ventured from the main islands as far as Mokumanamana (Necker), but they might have gone further to French Frigate Shoals. However, they must have been gone by the 18th century, when Europeans discovered the islands, because the islands were deserted upon discovery. Many agricultural terraces have been found on Nihoa, proving that Hawaiians lived there long-term, but Mokumanamana, much barer of vegetation, was probably not able to support many people for long. It is thought that the early Hawaiians only came to Mokumanamana for religious purposes.

The first of the Leeward Isles to be discovered by Europeans was Nihoa. James Colnett discovered it in 1786, although historically the credit has gone to William Douglas. Later that year, La Pérouse discovered Necker, and named it for Jacques Necker, the French Minister of Finance. La Pérouse then went on to discover French Frigate Shoals. The last of the NWHI to be discovered was Midway Atoll, which was found by N.C. Middlebrooks in 1859. In 1925, the Tanager Expedition travelled to many of the NWHI. The islands were mapped, new species were discovered and described, and the archeological sites on Nihoa and Necker were found.

Naming system[edit]

Most of the islands have two names; one in English and one in Hawaiian (indicated in parentheses above). The majority of the Hawaiian names used as alternative to the English ones were created in modern times, the original names that ancient Hawaiians gave to all of these islands that they encountered prior to Western contact are found in various oli (chants) and moʻolelo (stories).

National Monument[edit]

On June 15, 2006, American President George W. Bush issued a public proclamation creating Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument under the Antiquities Act of 1906. The Monument encompasses the islands and surrounding waters, forming the largest marine wildlife reserve in the world. President Theodore Roosevelt had declared the Northwestern Hawaiian chain a bird sanctuary in 1909 and the islands had been protected since 2000 with a designation as an 'ecosystem reserve' by President Bill Clinton, but increasing it to national monument status provides unprecedented control. 139,000 square miles (360,000 km2) of ocean has been set aside for protection, about the size of the U.S. state of California.

Entry to the Monument is limited through a permit system, jointly administered by the state of Hawaii, NOAA, and FWS. Anyone who comes to the islands must follow stringent procedures designed to prevent any stray species from entering and disrupting the ecosystem. All clothes must be bought new, and kept wrapped until before arrival. In fact, all "soft" items (camera strap, blanket) must be bought new, and all "hard" items (camera, binoculars) must be cleaned thoroughly. Then, every item must be frozen for 48 hours. A new set of equipment must be prepared for each island one is going to, to prevent inter-island species introduction. However, French Frigate Shoals and Midway Atoll are exempted from these rules, as they are deemed too altered by humans already to worry about introducing new species.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Rauzon, 100
  2. ^ Clague, D. A. and Dalrymple, G. B. (1989) Tectonics, geochronology, and origin of the Hawaiian-Emperor Chain in Winterer, E. L. et al. (editors) (1989) The Eastern Pacific Ocean and Hawaii, Boulder, Geological Society of America.
  3. ^ Rauzon, 3
  4. ^ Rauzon, 4
  5. ^ "Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument". official web site, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved 2009-07-28. 
  6. ^ FWS (2009). "Laysan Duck - Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge". U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. 

References[edit]

External links[edit]

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