Marianas Trench Marine National Monument


Established: 2009.
On January 6, 2009, President George W. Bush established the Marianas Trench Marine National Monument under the authority of the Antiquities Act of 1906.

Location:  Western Pacific Ocean, approximately 3,500 miles west-southwest of Hawai'i
Size:  250,487 km2, 96,714 mi2

The Marianas Trench Marine National Monument incorporates approximately 96,714 square miles within the Mariana Archipelago. It includes three units: the Island Unit, the Volcanic Unit, and the Trench Unit.

The Islands Unit includes the waters and submerged lands of the three northernmost Mariana Islands. Here, unique reef habitats and waters are among the most biologically diverse in the Western Pacific and include the greatest diversity of seamount and hydrothermal vent life yet discovered.

The Volcanic Unit consists of the submerged lands within 1 nautical mile of 21 designated mud volcanoes and thermal vents along the Mariana Arc and also has been designated the Mariana Arc of Fire National Wildlife Refuge.  In the Volcanic Unit, species survive in the midst of hydrothermal vents that produce highly acidic and boiling water. The Maug Caldera offers a natural in-situ laboratory for climate change and ocean acidification research with the carbon dioxide bubbling from the seafloor. The research conducted in 2015 is captured in this short film.

The Trench Unit is almost 1,100 miles long (five times longer than the Grand Canyon), 44 miles wide, and includes only the submerged lands extending from the north to south end of the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and Territory of Guam. It has also been designated as the Mariana Trench National Wildlife Refuge.  The Mariana Trench is the deepest place on Earth, deeper than the height of Mount Everest above sea level, and includes some 50,532,102 acres of virtually unknown characteristics.

The vast and unique areas of this Monument have many secrets to yield and many potentially valuable lessons that can benefit the rest of the world.