One of the most important local sources of freshwater in the small island of Nauru is Moqua Well – a small subterranean lake in the largest cave on island – Moqua Caves.

Caves are located next to the airstrip of the international airport, some 400 m from the national parliament. Here, in the rim of the upper Miocene – Quarternary limestone plateau have formed low cliffs and caves have formed in these cliffs.

Moqua Well is a small (0.2 ha) freshwater lake in this cave. It is up to 5 m deep, average depth – 2.5 m.

This lake was the main source of freshwater to Nauruans during World War II. Later it became a beloved place where locals spent time in the shade of trees and cliffs, often consuming alcohol. Unfortunately, in 2001 there took place a fatal accident when one drunken man drowned. Since then authorities have closed the access to the lake with a fence.


  1. Rainbird, Paul. The Archaeology of Micronesia, Cambridge World Archaeology, 2004.
Moqua Caves and Moqua Well on the map
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Location, GPS coordinates: 0.5467 S 166.9209 E (mistake up to 300 m)
Categories: Caves, Lakes and streams
Values: Geology
Rating: 1.5 out of 10 stars
Where is located? Australia and Oceania, Micronesia, Nauru, Yaren, at the airstrip
Alternate name: Makwa Caves, Mekua Caves, Moque Caves, Maqua Cave
Length: ??
Depth: ??

Landmarks of Nauru

Nauru from above
Nauru from above / U.S. Department of Energy’s Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Program, / public domain
Nauru is a raised dolomitic limestone atoll. Most of its surface contained a rock rich with phosphatic fertilizers – and the island has experienced mining operations of grand scale, changing the landscape and environment. Currently island has just a few landmarks.


Entrance into Puerto Princesa Subterranean River, Philippines
Entrance into Puerto Princesa Subterranean River / , Flickr / CC BY 2.0
Every year there are reported exciting discoveries of new caves and discoveries of new qualities such as cave paintings in the ones known before. But there still is a feeling that our knowledge covers just a small part of all these monuments of nature.

Though, those which we know offer a surprising diversity of unusual features and impressive sights.

Recommended books

Nauru History, Culture and Tourism

Nauru History, Culture and Tourism. Nauru People, Nauru Tradition, Lifestyle and Environment. Nauru Book of History and tourism. The Nauruan people are the only indigenous ethnic group on the island. They are of mixed Micronesian, Melanesian, and Polynesian origin and resemble the last strain most closely. Nauruans are traditionally divided into 12 clans or tribes in which descent is matrilineal, although kinship and inheritance rules have some patrilineal features.

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