This uninhabited atoll is an unincorporated possssion of the United States. This is atoll with triangular shape, mostly submerged and located in the Northern Line Islands. Only two small strips of land (0.8 and 0.4 ha) are located above the sea level.
The ground rises less than 1.5 m above the sea and as a result this "dry land" for most part is wetted by ocean waves.
Whole atoll with its extensive lagoon is a wildlife refuge and marine national monument.
While the strips of dry land are too small to sustain plant life, the life under the water is abundant, with very high biological diversity and represents one of the most pristine atoll ecosystems in the Pacific.
Spectacular and unique are some of the oldest known deep water coral stands, which could be 5,000 years old and are visually very impressive. Atoll sustains 205 known species of corals and more than 225 species of fish.
The lagoon of the atoll contains also the highest density of giant clams in the Pacific. This is the northern range of the rare giant clam Tridacna squamosa.