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Moqua Caves and Moqua Well

A cave in Nauru, 1917. It is possible that this is Moqua Cave
A cave in Nauru, 1917. It is possible that this is Moqua Cave / TJ McMahon, / public domain

WorldBlue  In short

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.

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GPS coordinates
0.5467 S 166.9209 E (mistake up to 300 m)
Location, address
Australia and Oceania, Micronesia, Nauru, Yaren, at the airstrip
Alternate names
Makwa Caves, Mekua Caves, Moque Caves, Maqua Cave

Map of the site

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WorldYellow In detail

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 for 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.

WorldYellow Linked articles

Nauru from above
Nauru from above / U.S. Department of Energy’s Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Program, / public domain

Wonders of Nauru

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, the island has just a few landmarks.

Manjang Cave, South Korea
Manjang Cave / Korea.Net, Flickr / CC BY-SA 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 are known to us, offer a surprising diversity of unusual features and impressive sights.

The lake of acid in Ijen Crater, Indonesia
The lake of acid in Ijen Crater / © CEphoto, Uwe Aranas, Wikimedia Commons

Lakes and streams

There are many factors that can make lakes, sea bays, or rivers unusual. Some lakes have unusual chemical properties and even do not contain water at all – such as lava lakes. Others may have unusual animals living in them or… legends about such animals.

WorldYellow 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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