Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A Faraway Land of the United States

Once in a while I check out the USGS Site to see what earthquakes hit the U.S. recently. One recent earthquake (2010 February 21 02:54:15 UTC) that I looked more closely at was a 4.6 that hit 55 miles south of Shemya Island, Alaska.

Now, curiousity got the best of me when I read that the quake was 1500 miles west of Anchorage. I'm thinking, wow, that's really out there. So, I looked up this mysterious island, and as I read a bit about more it, I kept reading more and more. Also, it's interesting to note that it is part of the Aleutian chain that causes the kink in the International Dateline.

I guess there have been a number of folks (primarily military) that have called that island their home over the past 65 or so years. There is a radar and refueling station on Shemya, which used to be an Air Force base. Anyway, other than what I read, I don't know anything about it, but I think it's really neat that we have such a distant and hardly populated land that is officially a part of the United States.

Here are a couple images I snagged showing a close-up of the island and also where it sits in the grander scheme of things.

Here are a couple links with more information, including some personal stories about life on Shemya.

Shemya Island - Apparently, there was a female Air Force Captain (Barbara Nowak) that was sent there as the only woman out of about 1500 men. This is her story about life on Shemya.

Shemya in the 1940's - This guy (Bruce Watson) was stationed there in the 1940's and he's got a lot of old photos and stories. Really pretty neat. Also, there's a picture of some good old fashioned gambling too!

What a fascinating place to have lived for some time... man, you'd definitely come back with some stories, I'm sure. Anyway, hope you all find this as interesting as I did.

1 comment:

Duke said...

This raises the question of what is west of that and still in the US.

Looks like Amatignak Island, also in the Aleutians. The next one west of it is Semisopochnoi Island, which is apparently part of Russia.