Ask Joyce: Can you tell me about the other islands within the Marianas?

  • Published
  • By Joyce I. Martratt
  • 36th Wing
Continuation of the Article on the other islands within the Marianas

A few years ago, I traveled for the first time on the U.S.S. ALTMAN to San Francisco with my adoptive family, my Auntie Tita Castro and cousins, Joseph and Eddie. As we moved away from Guam, I thought of the island as a gigantic place. The ship did not stop anywhere until we entered the port at San Francisco on the 18th day. It was cold. To make the trip even more challenging, we took the Santa Fe train to Chicago and transferred to another to Washington D.C. Seeing snow for the first time and realizing how big America was had us in awe.

When asked at school where Guam was, I told those who asked me to look at the map as I pointed to the dots in the Western Pacific. Well, the islands are small, but home is beloved and Guam is home. I just wanted to share this memory.

I have mentioned the bigger sister islands within the Marianas in my previous article. There is Aguijan which is about five miles off Tinian. It is surrounded by sheer, steep cliffs. Green sea turtles are protected creatures on this island as well as Tinian.

Anatahan is 75 miles north of Saipan and close to Anatahan is Farallon de Medinilla. Antahan, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, has overlapping calderas or crater lakes. There is no history of eruptions but it has had earthquakes. The families who lived on this island in 1993 were forced to leave because of the caldera's or crater's turbulent unrest in 1993. The Farallon de Medinilla is an important nesting site for migratory birds.

Right after Anatahan is Surigan. There are no known eruptions. Surigan is known as a Holocene stratovolcano. Studies show the rocks and deposits belong to 10,000 years ago time period.

Guguan, Alamagan, Pagan, Agrihan, Asuncion and Uracas or Farallon de Pajaros are considered stratovolcanoes. They are on the Marianas volcanic arc which according to assessment the subduction of the Pacific Plate beneath the Philippine Plate.

Guaguan was known to have a single eruption in 1883 and Alamagan somewhere in 1864 and 1887.

Pagan was inhabited at one time but the eruption in 1982, 1986, 1988, 1992 and 1993 forced the residents to move to Saipan.

Agrigan is the largest and tallest volcano in northern Marianas. One known eruption took place in 1917.

Asuncion erupted once in 1906 according to findings.

Uracas or Farallon de Pajaros has erupted 16 times since 1964; and one in 1967 and the eruptions are explosive.

Maug consists of three small islets that researchers say are remains of a collapsed volcanic cone.

And Supply Reef is called a conical submarine volcano that rises within 8 miles of the sea surface. Its crater rim was found to be either dormant or extinct.

I hope this helps in answering the question.

si Joyce I. Martratt