Jarvis Island (formerly known as Bunker Island) is an uninhabited 4.5 km2 coral island located in the South Pacific Ocean at 0°22′S 160°01′WCoordinates: 0°22′S 160°01′W, about halfway between Hawaii and the Cook Islands. It is an unincorporated, unorganized territory of the United States, administered by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service of the United States Department of the Interior as part of the National Wildlife Refuge system. Unlike most coral atolls, the lagoon on Jarvis is wholly dry. Jarvis is one of the Line Islands and for statistical purposes is also grouped as one of the United States Minor Outlying Islands.
While a few offshore anchorage spots are marked on maps, Jarvis island has no ports or harbors, and swift currents are a hazard. There is a boat landing area in the middle of the western shoreline near a crumbling day beacon, and another near the southwest corner of the island. The center of Jarvis island is a dried lagoon where deep guano deposits accumulated, which were mined for about 20 years during the nineteenth century.
The ground is mostly sandy and reaches 7 metres at its highest point. The low-lying coral island has long been noted as hard to sight from small ships and is surrounded by a narrow fringing reef.
Located only 40 kilometres south of the equator, Jarvis has no known natural freshwater lens and scant rainfall. This creates a very bleak, flat landscape without any plants larger than shrubs. There is no evidence that the island has ever supported a self-sustaining human population. Its sparse bunch grass, prostrate vines and low-growing shrubs are primarily a nesting, roosting, and foraging habitat for seabirds, shorebirds, and marine wildlife.
Along with six other islands, the island was administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as part of the Pacific Remote Islands National Wildlife Refuge Complex. In January 2009, that entity was upgraded to the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument by President George W. Bush.
The island has a tropical desert climate, with high daytime temperatures, constant wind, and strong sun. Nights, however, are quite cool.
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