Size: 48 square kilometers (18.6 square miles)
Highest Point: 570 meters (1,870 feet.)
Fast facts: Located 320 kilometers (199 miles) north of Saipan and 2,000 kilometers (1,300 miles) south of Tokyo, the island is a cluster of three volcanoes linked by lava and ash. It has also been the site of some of the most intense recent volcanic activity in the Mariana chain. An active northern volcano emits steam and is frequently veiled by a heavy, sulfurous cloud. Brown ash covers the slopes of Mt. Pagan. At the base of the mountain, there are two lakes. A series of vertical cliffs cut the island in two. The coast is rocky and unapproachable except on the shores of Eastern Roadstead and Apaan Bay on the west coast.
The largest of 19 historic eruptions was at North Pagan in 1981. The height of the eruption column was 18 to 20 kilometers (59,000 to 65,600 feet). Lava flowed down the northeast, northwest, and southwest flanks of the volcano. Fifty-three residents were evacuated without serious injury. Subsequent eruptions in 1987, 1988, 1992, and 1993 were less explosive. Minor ash eruptions occurred at Pagan in March of 1983.
Earthquake activity began to increase beneath Pagan in late 1992. In January of 1993, a magnitude 5.7 earthquake occurred deep beneath the volcano. Several eruptions occurred early in the year, sending columns of ash over two kilometers (1 mile) above the summit of North Pagan stratovolcano.
Pagan has been proposed as a marine sanctuary. The island is home to several rare species of animals including the Marianas megapode and the common moorhen.