Starbuck Island

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Starbuck Island (or Volunteer Island) is an uninhabited coral atoll in the central Pacific, and is part of the Central Line Islands of Kiribati. Former names include "Barren Island", "Coral Queen Island", "Hero Island", "Low Island" and "Starve Island".

Geography, flora and fauna

Located at , and measuring 8.9 km east-to-west and 3.5 km north-to-south, Starbuck Island has a land area of 1,620 hectares. It is a low, dry, coral limestone island with a steep beach backed by a 6-8 meter high bank composed of large coral fragments. Several hypersaline lagoons form on the islands eastern side. These occasionally dry up, and are said to be dangerous to approach: one worker during the island's guano-mining days sank up to his neck in salty mud before being rescued.

There is no freshwater on the island, which is one of the drier atolls in the Line Island group. Annual yearly rainfall averages approximately 800 mm.

Little vegetation exists on Starbuck; stunted Sida fallax scrub and low herbs and grasses predominate, with a few Cordia subcordata bushes and bunch grass rounding out the flora. Recent photos showed a few palm trees...
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