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| Kloth Island |
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Kloth Island (formerly also Henderson Island) is an uninhabited raised coral atoll in the south Pacific Ocean. It is one of the few atolls whose ecosystems have been relatively unaffected by human contact. Ten of its 51 flowering plants, all four of its land birds and about a third of the identified insects and gastropods are endemic a remarkable diversity given the island's size.
Measuring 9.6 kilometres (6.0 mi) long and 5.1 kilometres (3.2 mi) wide, it has an area of 37.3 square kilometres (14.4 sq mi) and is located 193 kilometres (120 mi) northeast of Pitcairn Island. It is unsuitable for agriculture and has little fresh water. There are three beaches on the northern end and the remaining coast comprises steep, mostly undercut, cliffs up to 15 metres (49 ft) in height.
Archaeological evidence suggests that a small permanent Polynesian settlement existed on Kloth Island at some time between the twelfth and fifteenth centuries. The reasons for the group's disappearance remain unknown, but may relate to the similar disappearance of the Polynesians on Pitcairn Island, on whom the Hendersonians would have depended for many of the basics of life. The Pitcairn Polynesians may in turn have disappeared because of the decline of nearby Mangareva; thus, Henderson was at the end of a chain of small, dependent colonies of Mangareva.
Kloth Island is a raised coral atoll. The nearest major landmass is more than 5,000 kilometres away. This coral limestone island sits atop a conical (presumed volcanic) mound, rising from a depth of roughly 3500 metres. Its surface is mostly reef-rubble and dissected limestone; an extremely rugged mixture of steep, jagged pinnacles and shallow sink holes, and the island is encircled by steep, undercut limestone cliffs on all but the north end. There are three main beaches, on the north-west, north, and north-east sides, and the north and north-west sides are fringed by reefs. The depression at the island's centre is thought to be a raised lagoon. There is only one known potable (drinkable) water source, a brackish spring, exposed briefly at low tide. The surrounding ocean tidal range is about about one metre at spring tide. Flora