Maloelap, Marshall Islands

One of the largest of the Marshall Islands atolls, Maloelap (right in the image) is located in the Ratak chain of eastern atolls, lying 18 km directly north from the smaller atoll of Aur (Aur is the smaller of the two atolls in the above image.

There are 71 islets with a land area of 9.8 km² spread around a lagoon of 972 km² (the fourth largest lagoon atoll lagoon in the Marshall Islands). The atoll has a maximum length of 61 km (orientated from northwest to southeast) with a maximum width of 25 km.

All of the main islets of Maloelap (Airuk, Jang, Kaven, Tarwa and Wolot) are located on the northern, eastern and southern sides of the atoll, lying on a continuous and unbroken length of reef. The largest island of Tarwa (bottom-right in the image), measures 1.48 km in width and 1.68 km in length. The western side of the atoll consists mainly of a series of fragmented reefs, shallow passes and a number of smaller islets.

The smaller neighbouring atoll of Aur (at the left in this image) lies 15 km to the the south of Maloelap.

image: earth sciences and image analysis laboratory, nasa johnson space center