Kingman Reef is a largely submerged, uninhabited triangular shaped reef, 9.5 nautical miles (18 kilometres) east-west and 5 nautical miles (9 kilometres) north-south, located in the North Pacific Ocean, roughly half way between the Hawaiian Islands and American Samoa at 6°23′N 162°25′W. It is the northernmost of the Northern Line Islands and lies 36 nautical miles (67 kilometres) northwest of the next closest island (Palmyra Atoll), and 930 nautical miles (1,720 kilometres) south of Honolulu.
On September 1, 2000, the Navy relinquished its control over Kingman Reef to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. On January 18, 2001 Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt created the Kingman Reef National Wildlife Refuge during his final days in office with Secretary’s Order 3223. It is composed of the emergent coral rubble spits and all waters out to 22 kilometres. While there are only 0.012 km2 of land, 1,957.68 km2 of water area is included in the Refuge. Along with six other islands, the reef was administered 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 reef encloses a lagoon up to 82 metres deep in its western part. The total area within the outer rim of the reef is 76 km2. There are two small strips of dry land composed of coral rubble and giant clamshells on the eastern rim with areas of 8,100 and 4,000 m2 having a coastline of 3 kilometres. The highest point on the reef is less than 1.5 metres above sea level, which is wetted or awash most of the time, making Kingman Reef a maritime hazard. It has no natural resources and supports no economic activity.
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