The Canary Islands is a Spanish archipelago and the southernmost autonomous community of Spain located in the Atlantic Ocean, 100 kilometres west of Morocco at the closest point. The Canary Islands, which are known informally as the Canaries, are among the outermost regions of the European Union proper, it is one of the eight regions with special consideration of historical nationality recognized as such by the Spanish Government. The Canary Islands belong to the African Plate like the Spanish cities of Ceuta and Melilla, the two on the African mainland; the seven main islands are Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, La Palma, La Gomera and El Hierro. The archipelago includes much smaller islands and islets: La Graciosa, Isla de Lobos, Montaña Clara, Roque del Oeste and Roque del Este, it includes a series of adjacent roques. In ancient times, the island chain was referred to as "the Fortunate Isles"; the Canary Islands are the most southerly region of Spain and the largest and most populated archipelago of the Macaronesia region.
The Canary Islands have been considered a bridge between four continents: Africa, North America, South America and Europe. The archipelago's beaches and important natural attractions Maspalomas in Gran Canaria and Teide National Park and Mount Teide in Tenerife, make it a major tourist destination with over 12 million visitors per year Tenerife, Gran Canaria and Lanzarote; the islands have a subtropical climate, with moderately warm winters. The precipitation levels and the level of maritime moderation vary depending on location and elevation. Green areas as well as desert exist on the archipelago. Due to their location above the temperature inversion layer, the high mountains of these islands are ideal for astronomical observation. For this reason, two professional observatories, Teide Observatory on the island of Tenerife and Roque de los Muchachos Observatory on the island of La Palma, have been built on the islands. In 1927, the Province of Canary Islands was split into two provinces; the autonomous community of the Canary Islands was established in 1982.
Its capital is shared by the cities of Santa Cruz de Tenerife and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, which in turn are the capitals of the provinces of Santa Cruz de Tenerife and Las Palmas. Las Palmas de Gran Canaria has been the largest city in the Canaries since 1768, except for a brief period in the 1910s. Between the 1833 territorial division of Spain and 1927 Santa Cruz de Tenerife was the sole capital of the Canary Islands. In 1927 a decree ordered; the third largest city of the Canary Islands is San Cristóbal de La Laguna on Tenerife. This city is home to the Consejo Consultivo de Canarias, the supreme consultative body of the Canary Islands. During the time of the Spanish Empire, the Canaries were the main stopover for Spanish galleons on their way to the Americas, which came south to catch the prevailing northeasterly trade winds; the name Islas Canarias is derived from the Latin name Canariae Insulae, meaning "Islands of the Dogs", a name, applied only to Gran Canaria. According to the historian Pliny the Elder, the Mauretanian king Juba II named the island Canaria because it contained "vast multitudes of dogs of large size".
Alternatively, it is said that the original inhabitants of the island, used to worship dogs, mummified them and treated dogs as holy animals. The ancient Greeks knew about a people, living far to the west, who are the "dog-headed ones", who worshipped dogs on an island; some hypothesize that the Canary Islands dog-worship and the ancient Egyptian cult of the dog-headed god, Anubis are connected but there is no explanation given as to which one was first. Other theories speculate that the name comes from the Nukkari Berber tribe living in the Moroccan Atlas, named in Roman sources as Canarii, though Pliny again mentions the relation of this term with dogs; the connection to dogs is retained in their depiction on the islands' coat-of-arms. It is considered that the aborigines of Gran Canaria called themselves "Canarios", it is possible that after being conquered, this name was used in plural in Spanish, i.e. as to refer to all of the islands as the Canarii-as. What is certain is that the name of the islands does not derive from the canary bird.
Tenerife is the largest and most populous island of the archipelago. Gran Canaria, with 865,070 inhabitants, is both the Canary Islands' second most populous island, the third most populous one in Spain after Majorca; the island of Fuerteventura is the second largest in the archipelago and located 100 km from the African coast. The islands form the Macaronesia ecoregion with the Azores, Cape Verde and the Savage Isles; the Canary Islands is the largest and most populated archipelago of the Macaronesia region. The archipelago consists of seven large and several smaller islands, all of which are volcanic in origin. According to the position of the islands with respect to the north-east trade winds, the climate can be mild and wet or dry. Several native species form laurisilva forests; as a consequence, the individual islands in the Canary archipelago tend to have distinct microclimates. Those islands such as El Hierro, La Palma and La Gomera lying to the west of the archipelago have a climate, influenced by the m
A passerine is any bird of the order Passeriformes, which includes more than half of all bird species. Sometimes known as perching birds or – less – as songbirds, passerines are distinguished from other orders of birds by the arrangement of their toes, which facilitates perching. With more than 110 families and some 6,409 identified species, Passeriformes is the largest order of birds and among the most diverse orders of terrestrial vertebrates. Passerines are divided into three clades, Acanthisitti and Passeri; the passerines contain several groups of brood parasites such as the viduas, cuckoo-finches, the cowbirds. Most passerines are omnivorous; the terms "passerine" and "Passeriformes" are derived from the scientific name of the house sparrow, Passer domesticus, from the Latin term passer, which refers to sparrows and similar small birds. The order is divided into three suborders, Tyranni and the basal Acanthisitti. Oscines have the best control of their syrinx muscles among birds, producing a wide range of songs and other vocalizations.
The acanthisittids or New Zealand wrens are tiny birds restricted to New Zealand, at least in modern times. Most passerines are smaller than typical members of other avian orders; the heaviest and altogether largest passerines are the thick-billed raven and the larger races of common raven, each exceeding 1.5 kg and 70 cm. The superb lyrebird and some birds-of-paradise, due to long tails or tail coverts, are longer overall; the smallest passerine is the short-tailed pygmy tyrant, at 4.2 g. The foot of a passerine has three toes directed forward and one toe directed backward, called anisodactyl arrangement; this arrangement enables the passerine birds to perch upon vertical surfaces, such as trees and cliffs. The toes have no webbing or joining, but in some cotingas, the second and third toes are united at their basal third; the hind toe joins the leg at the same level as the front toes. The passeriformes have this toe arrangement in common with hunting birds like falcons; the leg arrangement of passerine birds contains a special adaptation for perching.
A tendon in the rear of the leg running from the underside of the toes to the muscle behind the tibiotarsus will automatically be pulled and tighten when the leg bends, causing the foot to curl and become stiff when the bird lands on a branch. This enables passerines to sleep. Most passerine birds develop 12 tail feathers, although the superb lyrebird has 16. Certain species of passerines have stiff tail feathers, which help the birds balance themselves when perching upon vertical surfaces; some passerines in the family Ploceidae, are well known for their elaborate sexual ornaments, including long tails. A well-known example is the long-tailed widowbird; the chicks of passerines are altricial: blind and helpless when hatched from their eggs. Hence, the chicks require extensive parental care. Most passerines lay coloured eggs, in contrast with nonpasserines, most of whose eggs are white except in some ground-nesting groups such as Charadriiformes and nightjars, where camouflage is necessary, in some parasitic cuckoos, which match the passerine host's egg.
Vinous-throated parrotbill has two egg colours and blue. This can prevent the brood parasitic Common cuckoo. Clutches vary in size: some larger passerines of Australia such as lyrebirds and scrub-robins lay only a single egg, most smaller passerines in warmer climates lay between two and five, while in the higher latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere, hole-nesting species like tits can lay up to a dozen and other species around five or six; the family Viduidae do not build their own nests, they lay eggs in other birds' nests. The evolutionary history of the passerine families and the relationships among them remained rather mysterious until the late 20th century. In many cases, passerine families were grouped together on the basis of morphological similarities that, it is now believed, are the result of convergent evolution, not a close genetic relationship. For example, the wrens of the Eurasia. Much research remains to be done, but advances in molecular biology and improved paleobiogeographical data are revealing a clearer picture of passerine origins and evolution that reconciles molecular affinities, the constraints of morphology and the specifics of the fossil record.
The first passerines are now thought to have evolved in the Southern Hemisphere in the late Paleocene or early Eocene, around 50 million years ago. The initial split was between the New Zealand wrens and all other passerines, the second split involved the Tyranni and the Passeri; the latter experienced a great radiation of forms out of the Australian continent. A major branch of the Passeri, parvorder Passerida, expanded deep into Eurasia and Africa, where a further explosive radiation of new lineages occurred; this led to three major Passerida lineages comprising about 4,000 species, which in addition to the Corvida and numerous minor linea
Birds known as Aves, are a group of endothermic vertebrates, characterised by feathers, toothless beaked jaws, the laying of hard-shelled eggs, a high metabolic rate, a four-chambered heart, a strong yet lightweight skeleton. Birds range in size from the 5 cm bee hummingbird to the 2.75 m ostrich. They rank as the world's most numerically-successful class of tetrapods, with ten thousand living species, more than half of these being passerines, sometimes known as perching birds. Birds have wings which are less developed depending on the species. Wings, which evolved from forelimbs, gave birds the ability to fly, although further evolution has led to the loss of flight in flightless birds, including ratites and diverse endemic island species of birds; the digestive and respiratory systems of birds are uniquely adapted for flight. Some bird species of aquatic environments seabirds and some waterbirds, have further evolved for swimming; the fossil record demonstrates that birds are modern feathered dinosaurs, having evolved from earlier feathered dinosaurs within the theropod group, which are traditionally placed within the saurischian dinosaurs.
The closest living relatives of birds are the crocodilians. Primitive bird-like dinosaurs that lie outside class Aves proper, in the broader group Avialae, have been found dating back to the mid-Jurassic period, around 170 million years ago. Many of these early "stem-birds", such as Archaeopteryx, were not yet capable of powered flight, many retained primitive characteristics like toothy jaws in place of beaks, long bony tails. DNA-based evidence finds that birds diversified around the time of the Cretaceous–Palaeogene extinction event 66 million years ago, which killed off the pterosaurs and all the non-avian dinosaur lineages, but birds those in the southern continents, survived this event and migrated to other parts of the world while diversifying during periods of global cooling. This makes them the sole surviving dinosaurs according to cladistics; some birds corvids and parrots, are among the most intelligent animals. Many species annually migrate great distances. Birds are social, communicating with visual signals and bird songs, participating in such social behaviours as cooperative breeding and hunting and mobbing of predators.
The vast majority of bird species are monogamous for one breeding season at a time, sometimes for years, but for life. Other species have breeding systems that are polygynous or polyandrous. Birds produce offspring by laying eggs, they are laid in a nest and incubated by the parents. Most birds have an extended period of parental care after hatching; some birds, such as hens, lay eggs when not fertilised, though unfertilised eggs do not produce offspring. Many species of birds are economically important as food for human consumption and raw material in manufacturing, with domesticated and undomesticated birds being important sources of eggs and feathers. Songbirds and other species are popular as pets. Guano is harvested for use as a fertiliser. Birds prominently figure throughout human culture. About 120–130 species have become extinct due to human activity since the 17th century, hundreds more before then. Human activity threatens about 1,200 bird species with extinction, though efforts are underway to protect them.
Recreational birdwatching is an important part of the ecotourism industry. The first classification of birds was developed by Francis Willughby and John Ray in their 1676 volume Ornithologiae. Carl Linnaeus modified that work in 1758 to devise the taxonomic classification system in use. Birds are categorised as the biological class Aves in Linnaean taxonomy. Phylogenetic taxonomy places Aves in the dinosaur clade Theropoda. Aves and a sister group, the clade Crocodilia, contain the only living representatives of the reptile clade Archosauria. During the late 1990s, Aves was most defined phylogenetically as all descendants of the most recent common ancestor of modern birds and Archaeopteryx lithographica. However, an earlier definition proposed by Jacques Gauthier gained wide currency in the 21st century, is used by many scientists including adherents of the Phylocode system. Gauthier defined Aves to include only the crown group of the set of modern birds; this was done by excluding most groups known only from fossils, assigning them, instead, to the Avialae, in part to avoid the uncertainties about the placement of Archaeopteryx in relation to animals traditionally thought of as theropod dinosaurs.
Gauthier identified four different definitions for the same biological name "Aves", a problem. Gauthier proposed to reserve the term Aves only for the crown group consisting of the last common ancestor of all living birds and all of its descendants, which corresponds to meaning number 4 below, he assigned other names to the other groups. Aves can mean all archosaurs closer to birds than to crocodiles Aves can mean those advanced archosaurs with feathers Aves can mean those feathered dinosaurs that fly Aves can mean the last common ancestor of all the living birds and all of its descendants (a "c
The Savage Islands or Selvagens Islands are a small Portuguese archipelago in the North Atlantic, 280 kilometres south of Madeira, 165 kilometres north of the Canary Islands. The islands are known in English as the Salvage Islands or Dry Salvages; the archipelago includes two major islands and several islets of varying sizes, in two areas: Selvagem Grande and Selvagem Pequena. The archipelago is administered by the Portuguese municipality of Funchal, belongs to the Madeiran civil parish of Sé, is the southernmost point of Portugal, it was designated a natural reserve in 1971, recognizing its role as a important nesting point for several species of birds. Since the decreasing bird populations and nearby waters have been more protected by the Portuguese government. Given its status and few fresh water sources, it is inhabited only by reserve staff, scientists conducting research on its wildlife, a Portuguese family and a small Portuguese Navy detachment. In May 2016, a National Geographic Society scientific expedition prompted the extension of the marine reserve.
Diogo Gomes de Sintra discovered the islands by chance in 1438. Although the Canary Islands had been inhabited by the Guanches, humans are not known to have set foot on the Madeira archipelago or the Savage Islands before the Portuguese discoveries and expansion; this island group presented itself to Portuguese navigators uninhabited. The first attempted settlement of the islands occurred around 1438 by the Portuguese, although few details remain of this endeavour; the oldest extant description of the colonization was written around 1463 by the Portuguese mariner Diogo Gomes de Sintra. Gomes wrote. In those days, the islands of the Atlantic belonged to Henry the Navigator, the Grandmaster of the Order of Christ. However, the islands were omitted from the lists of their possessions. By the 16th century the Savage Islands were held by a family from Madeira, known as Teixeiras Caiados. How the islands found themselves under Caiados control is unknown. In 1560 they were given to João Cabral de Noronha.
After 1717 they are recorded in wills, inheritances and other documents. Between 1774 and 1831 taxes were paid to the king; the islands were recorded in the books of the Conservatória do Registo Predial of Funchal. From the 15th to the 19th centuries, the islands were used for different economic activities, such as collecting barilla weed and shells and mollusks; the islands, although uninhabited, were used as a waypoint for fishing, while goats and rabbits were hunted on Selvagem Grande. Until about 1967, in September or October, there were organized hunts for the chicks of the Cory's shearwaters for their oil and meat; the islands have a reputation as pirate treasure islands, there are many stories of treasure hunting. According to reliable primary documents, at least four times, serious dig attempts were made to recover the supposed treasures but nothing was found. In 1904 the islands were sold to Luís Rocha Machado; the Permanent Commission of International Maritime Law gave sovereignty of the Savage Islands to Portugal on 15 February 1938.
In 1959, the World Wildlife Fund, now known as the World Wide Fund for Nature, became interested in the islands and signed a contract/promise with the owner, Luís Rocha Machado. In 1971 the Portuguese government intervened and acquired the islands, converting them into a nature reserve; the Savage Islands Reserve was created as part of the Madeira Nature Park. In 1976, permanent surveillance began, in 1978 the reserve was elevated to the status of Nature Reserve. In 2002, part of the nature reserve was nominated for UNESCO's list of World Heritage Sites: they are included in the tentative World Heritage Site list. Today the Savage Islands have a permanent team of wardens from Madeira Nature Park; these and the Zino family are the only permanent human inhabitants on the islands. Selvagem Grande gained a weather station controlled by IPMA and is permanently patrolled by the Portuguese Maritime Police to improve safety in navigation and rescue, preventing pollution and stop illegal fisheries in the reserve.
The self-sustaining status of the islands is disputed by Spain. Their habitability determines whether they should be seen as islands or rocks, which has strong consequences for the definition of the southernmost border of the Portuguese EEZ under evaluation by the United Nations' Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf; the Savage Islands are part of the Macaronesia, the name used to designate the island groups of the North Atlantic Ocean, near Europe and off the coast of Morocco in North Africa. The archipelago lies about 280 km from Madeira, 165 km from the Canary Islands; the islands are considered to be a column branch that extends from the Canary Islands at a 3,000 m depth. The total land area of the Savage Islands is 2.73 km2. With little fresh water and surrounded by dangerous re
Serinus is a genus of small birds in the finch family Fringillidae found in Europe and Africa. The birds have some yellow in their plumage; the genus was introduced in 1816 by the German naturalist Carl Ludwig Koch. The genus name is New Latin for "canary-yellow". A large number of species were at one time assigned to the genus but it became clear from phylogenetic studies of mitochondrial and nuclear DNA sequences that the genus was polyphyletic; this was confirmed by Dario Zuccon and coworkers in a comprehensive study of the finch family published in 2012. The authors suggested splitting the genus into two monophyletic groups, a proposal, accepted by the International Ornithologists' Union; the genus Serinus was restricted to the European serin and seven other species while a larger clade from Africa and Arabia was assigned to the resurrected genus Crithagra. The genus contains eight species: Serin videos and sounds on the Internet Bird Collection
Juniperus bermudiana is a species of juniper endemic to Bermuda. This species is most known as Bermuda cedar, but is referred to as Bermuda juniper; this tree formed woodland that covered much of Bermuda. Settlers cleared part of the forest and the tree was used for many purposes including building construction and was prized for shipbuilding; however scale insects introduced during World War II devastated the forests, killing over 99% of the Bermuda cedar. Since the salt tolerant casuarina has been planted as a replacement species, a small number of Bermuda cedars have been found to be resistant to the scale insects. Populations of certain endemic birds which had co-evolved with the tree have plummeted as a result of its demise; the Bermuda cedar is an evergreen tree growing up to 15 m tall with a trunk up to 60 cm thick and thin bark that exfoliates in strips. The foliage is produced in blue-green sprays, with the individual shoots 1.3–1.6 mm wide, four-sided in section. The leaves are scale-like 1.5 -- 1-1.5 mm broad, with an inconspicuous gland.
Juvenile plants bear. The seed cones are irregularly globose to broad pyriform, 4–6 mm long and 5–8 mm broad and berry-like, green at first, maturing bluish-purple about 8 months after pollination; the male cones are 4–6 mm long, turning brown after pollen release in early spring. A threat to the continued existence of Bermuda's cedars arose in the mid-1940s when the species was attacked by two species of scale insects, Lepidosaphes newsteadi and Carulaspis minima, which were unintentionally introduced from the United States' mainland during the wartime construction of US airbases in Bermuda. By 1978, these parasites had killed 99 % of some 8 million trees. However, the remaining 1% of the trees proved somewhat resistant to the scale insects, efforts by Bermuda's Department of Agriculture and Parks to plant young cedars from this resistant strain throughout Bermuda have saved the trees from extinction. In the 1950s and 1960s, the casuarina, native to Australia, was introduced into Bermuda to replace the Bermuda cedar's windbreak functions.
However, in Bermuda, casuarinas have proved to be aggressive, no other plants are able to survive beneath them. Still, like the Bermuda cedar, the casuarina's foliage is resistant to wind and salt, these features have made casuarinas popular with gardeners in Bermuda. Other species introduced in an attempt to replace the cedar forest included the bay grape. Along with the casuarina, the cedar's main introduced competitor for space is the Brazilian pepper; the species is grown as an ornamental tree outside of Bermuda, may have become naturalised on Hawaii and Saint Helena. It is reported that more than 6,500 of them were planted in Hawaii between 1921 and 1953, that it has established wild populations there; the Bermuda cedar forests that covered Bermuda fed and housed many species of bird that had evolved and adapted to live amongst them, thus became endemic to Bermuda. With the loss of so many trees the populations of such species have plummeted to near extinction; these birds include the Bermuda white-eyed vireo, a possible subspecies of eastern bluebird.
Efforts by the public and the government have been made to boost their populations along with the populations of the Bermuda cedar. However the Bermuda cedar may take 200 years to reach full maturity, the birds may not survive this long. With recent sea level rises, some low-lying old-growth cedars are being infiltrated with seawater and are beginning to die off, it is known for its heavy, sweet aroma and attractive reddish timber, significant role in Bermuda's history, notable presence in Bermuda's historic homes. When English settlers arrived in Bermuda, forests of Bermuda cedar flourished throughout the islands, the species continued to thrive as settlers developed the land; the wood was utilized by settlers for varying purposes, including home, church and shipbuilding, interior woodworking, furniture construction, coffin-making, export for sale. In addition, the cones were used by settlers as food for both themselves and their animals, to prepare cedarberry syrup as a treatment for toothaches and coughs.
Settlers boiled the shoots in water to create an elixir for lowering fevers. Furthermore, the wood was found to repel moths and fleas as well as prevent mildew and rot, so many Bermuda residents used the wood to line closets and drawers; the wood was prized by shipbuilders. It could be worked as soon as it was felled, was resistant to rot and woodworms, it was as strong as oak, but much lighter, contributing to the speed and maneouverability for which Bermudian ships were noted and prized. Its abundance enabled Bermudians to turn wholesale to a maritime economy after the dissolution of the Somers Isles Company in 1684. In 1627, in an effort to conserve Bermuda's cedar forests, the local assembly passed legislation to restrict export of Bermuda cedar for shipbuilding. In addition, between 1693 and 1878, the Bermuda legislature passed sixteen further acts placing restrictions on the uses of Bermuda cedar. Despite these Acts, the shipbuilding industry denuded much of Bermuda's landscape by the 1830s.
Only the dawn of the age of steam-driven, steel-hulled ships allowed the forest to recover. Many historic homes in Bermuda feature interior woodwo
Midway Atoll is a 2.4-square-mile atoll in the North Pacific Ocean at 28°12′N 177°21′W. Midway is equidistant between North America and Asia. Midway Atoll is an unincorporated territory of the United States. Midway continues to be the only island in the Hawaiian archipelago, not part of the state of Hawaii. Unlike the other Hawaiian islands, Midway observes Samoa Time, one hour behind the time in the state of Hawaii. For statistical purposes, Midway is grouped as one of the United States Minor Outlying Islands; the Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge, encompassing 590,991.50 acres of land and water in the surrounding area, is administered by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. The refuge and most of its surrounding area are part of the larger Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument; until 1993, the atoll was the home of the Naval Air Facility Midway Island. The Battle of Midway, fought between June 4 and 6, 1942, was a critical Allied victory of the Pacific campaign of World War II.
The United States Navy defended the atoll from a Japanese invasion, defeating a Japanese battle group, marking a turning point in the war in the Pacific Theater. USAAF aircraft based at the original Henderson Field on Eastern Island joined the attack against the Japanese fleet, which suffered losses of four carriers and one heavy cruiser. 40 to 60 people live on the atoll, which includes staff of the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service and contract workers. Visitation to the atoll is possible only for business reasons as the tourism program has been suspended due to budget cutbacks. In 2012, the last year that the visitor program was in operation, 332 people made the trip to Midway. Tours focused on both the unique ecology of Midway as well as its military history; the economy is derived from governmental sources and tourist fees. Nearly all supplies must be brought to the island by ship or plane, though a hydroponic greenhouse and garden supply some fresh fruits and vegetables; as its name suggests, Midway is equidistant between North America and Asia, lies halfway around the world longitudinally from Greenwich, UK.
It is near the northwestern end of the Hawaiian archipelago, about one-third of the way from Honolulu, Hawaii, to Tokyo, Japan. Midway island is not considered part of the State of Hawaii due to the passage of the Hawaii Organic Act, which formally annexed Hawaii to the United States as a territory, only defined Hawaii as "the islands acquired by the United States of America under an Act of Congress entitled'Joint resolution to provide for annexing the Hawaiian Islands to the United States,' approved July seventh, eighteen hundred and ninety-eight." Although it could be argued that Midway became part of Hawaii when Middlebrooks discovered it in 1859, it was assumed at the time that Midway was independently acquired by the U. S. when Reynolds visited in 1867, so was not considered part of the Territory. In defining which islands the State of Hawaii would inherit from the Territory, the Hawaii Admissions Act clarified the question excluding Midway from the jurisdiction of the state. Midway Atoll is 140 nautical miles east of the International Date Line, about 2,800 nautical miles west of San Francisco, 2,200 nautical miles east of Tokyo.
Midway Atoll is part of a chain of volcanic islands and seamounts extending from Hawaii up to the tip of the Aleutian Islands and known as the Hawaiian–Emperor seamount chain. It consists of a ring-shaped barrier reef nearly five miles in diameter and several sand islets; the two significant pieces of land, Sand Island and Eastern Island, provide a habitat for millions of seabirds. The island sizes are shown in the table above; the atoll, which has a small population, is designated an insular area under the authority of the United States Department of the Interior. Midway was formed 28 million years ago when the seabed underneath it was over the same hotspot from which the Island of Hawaii is now being formed. In fact, Midway was once a shield volcano as large as the island of Lana'i; as the volcano piled up lava flows building the island, its weight depressed the crust and the island subsided over a period of millions of years, a process known as isostatic adjustment. As the island subsided, a coral reef around the former volcanic island was able to maintain itself near sea level by growing upwards.
That reef is now over 516 feet thick. What remains today is a shallow water atoll about 6 miles across. Following Kure Atoll, Midway is the 2nd most northerly atoll in the world; the atoll has some 20 miles of roads, 4.8 miles of pipelines, one port on Sand Island, an airfield. As of 2004, Henderson Field airfield at Midway Atoll, with its one active runway has been designated as an emergency diversion airport for aircraft flying under ETOPS rules. Although the FWS closed all airport operations on November 22, 2004, public access to the island was restored from March 2008. Eastern Island Airstrip is a disused airfield, in use by U. S. forces during the