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01/30/2014 10:30 AM EST

About halfway between Hawai‘i and American Samoa lies Palmyra Atoll National Wildlife Refuge. Palmyra consists of a circular string of about 50 islets nestled among several lagoons and encircled by 15,000 acres of shallow turquoise reefs and deep blue submerged reefs. It is the northernmost atoll in the Line Islands in the equatorial Pacific.

Photo: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service