Farallon de Pajaros

Farallón de Pájaros

view of Farallón de Pájaros
Location Pacific Ocean
Coordinates 20°32′42″N 144°53′37″E / 20.54500°N 144.89361°E / 20.54500; 144.89361
Archipelago Mariana Islands
Area 2.3 km2 (0.89 sq mi)
Length 1.8 km (1.12 mi)
Width 1.6 km (0.99 mi)
Highest elevation 360 m (1,180 ft)
Highest point Farallon de Pajaros
United States
Commonwealth Northern Mariana Islands
Population - uninhabited - (2010)

Farallón de Pájaros (from Spanish Farallón de los pájaros, meaning "Birds' Rock"), also known as Urracas (from Spanish Urracas, meaning "Magpies"), is a small (2.3 km2) uninhabited volcanic island, the northernmost island in the Northern Mariana Islands chain.


Bathymetry around Farallón de Pájaros

Farallón de Pájaros is the northernmost island of the Marianas chain. It is located 65 kilometers (40 mi) northwest of the Maug Islands and 591 km (367 mi) north of Saipan, the main island of the Northern Mariana Islands. Its northern neighbor is South Iwo Jima of the Ogasawara Islands of Japan, located 541 km (336 mi) away.

Farallón de Pájaros is nearly circular, with a length of 1.8 km (1.1 mi), a width of 1.6 km (0.99 mi) and has an area of 2.3 km2 (0.89 sq mi).[1] Farallón de Pájaros is the top of an active stratovolcano with a height of 360 meters (1,180 ft) above sea level. The base of this stratovolcano is about 2,000 feet (610 m) below sea level, it has a diameter of 15 to 20 kilometers. Between 1864 and 1953, 15 volcanic eruptions have been recorded.[2]

In the area of Farallón de Pájaros are two submarine volcanoes: The Makhahnas Seamount located about 10 km (6.2 mi) southwest, reaching a height of 640 m (2,100 ft) below sea level, and last erupted in 1967. The Ahyi Seamount located about 18 km (11 mi) south-east and reached a height of 137 m (449 ft) below sea level. It is associated with a possible eruption in 1979, and an eruption in 2001.


Presumably Farallon de Pajaros was never permanently inhabited.

From 1899 to 1914, Farallón de Pájaros was controlled by the German Empire and was administered as part of the colony of German New Guinea. In 1903 the island was leased to a Japanese company, which hunted birds whose feathers exported to Japan and then to Paris.[3]

After World War I, the island was awarded to the Empire of Japan, by the League of Nations as part of the South Pacific Mandate. After World War II, Farallón de Pájaros was awarded to the United States as part of the UN Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, and is currently administered as part of the Northern Islands Municipality of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

In 1985, per the Constitution of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the island was designated as a wilderness area for the protection and conservation of natural resources. Since 2009, the island has been part of Marianas Trench Marine National Monument of the United States.[4]


Wikimedia Commons has media related to Farallon de Pajaros.


  1. Brainard, Coral reef ecosystem monitoring report, S. 1.
  2. "Farallón de Pájaros". Global Volcanism Program. Smithsonian Institution.
  3. Gerd Hardach: König Kopra. Die Marianen unter deutscher Herrschaft 1899–1914. Steiner, Stuttgart 1990, ISBN 3-515-05762-5, S. 133f.
  4. Brainard, Coral reef ecosystem monitoring report, S. 4.
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