QuickBird (0.6m) Satellite Image of Pearl and Hermes Atoll, Hawaii
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Pearl and Hermes Atoll part of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands is a true atoll that is primarily underwater and has numerous islets, seven of which are above sea level. While total land area is only 0.36 square km (80 acres), the reef area is huge, over 450 square miles (194,000 acres). The atoll is ever-changing, with islets emerging and subsiding. QuickBird satellite image acquired on May 19, 2005.
The atoll was discovered by Westerners in 1822 when two English whaling ships, the Pearl and the Hermes, wrecked on the reef during a storm. Since then at least six other vessels have been lost in the area. In 1854, King Kamehameha III claimed the atoll for the Hawaiian Kingdom. Due to the atoll’s small land base, it was largely spared to the ravages of miners and feather hunters.