Motu One (Marquesas Islands)
Northwestern Marquesas Islands. Motu One and its lagoon are the pale blue oval shape in the upper right. Image courtesy of Johnson Space Center.
Location of Motu One in the Pacific Ocean
|Location||South Pacific Ocean|
|Area||0.03 km2 (0.012 sq mi)|
|Overseas country||French Polynesia|
|Population||0 (as of 2002)|
|Density||0 /km2 (0 /sq mi)|
Motu One (Marquesan for "Sand Island"; French: Îlot de Sable) is the name of a small sandbank with no vegetation located on the western edge of a coral reef. The reef is approximately 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) in diameter and the islet or islets are less than a hectare in surface, rising only a few feet above sea level and changing shape regularly owing to the action of the currents.
Motu One is the northernmost of the Marquesas Islands, located about 30 kilometres (19 mi) northeast of Eïao and 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) northeast of Hatutu. It is also the only island in the group that is not made of exposed volcanic material, being a calcareous coral reef on a volcanic plug.
Although Motu One was reportedly visited by Marquesans, primarily on egg-collecting missions, there is no archaeological evidence that they were ever inhabited. The first Westerners to sight the islet were on the 1813-1814 voyage of the American commander Commodore David Porter, who named it Lincoln Island. Subsequent explorers also called it Sand Island.
There is as well as a wide variety of pelagic birds nesting in the islets; a subspecies of the Marquesan Reed-warbler, Acrocephalus mendanae consobrina (Murphy & Mathews, 1928), is found on Motu One.