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Thursday, September 1, 2016

President Obama Visits Midway Islands

SAND ISLAND, Midway Atoll (GeoFact of the Day Blog) — On the first day of September in his last year as president, U.S. President Barack Obama traveled to the isolated Midway Atoll to commemorate an expansion of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, which includes some small islands of northwestern Hawai'i. Previously encompassing 139,797 square miles of the North Pacific Ocean, Papahānaumokuākea MNM now protects 583,000 square miles (about 1.510,000 sq. kilometers) of territory to help protect over 7,000 aquatic species and prevent fishing. UNESCO designated this marine preserve as a « World Heritage Site » in 2010. Since the arrival of President Richard Nixon in 1969, no other president has visited Midway before Obama did. Being a portmanteau word, Papahānaumokuākea refers to Papahānaumoku and Wākea, two Hawaiian ancestral spirits known for mythically creating the Hawaiian islands and its native people.

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