The Pacific Islands are a group of about 20,000-30,000 islands which lie in the Pacific Ocean south of the tropic of Cancer. Some of these islands are a popular vacation spot and house many habitants as well as a rich history. Included in the group are the islands of Hawaii, Tonga, Fiji, New Zealand, Easter Island, and American Samoa, as well as many others. The Pacific Islands are often grouped into three groups: Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia. Melanesia, which means black islands, includes New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Fiji, and other smaller islands. Micronesia, which means small islands, includes Guam, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, and the Wake Islands. Polynesia, which means many islands, is the largest of the three groups and includes Hawaii, American Samoa, Samoa, Cook Islands, Easter Island, and French Polynesia. These three groups make up what is commonly refer to as Oceania. There are also some islands in the Pacific Islands which are not included in Oceania, such as the Galapagos Islands, as well as islands off of China, Russia, the Philippines, Indonesia, and Japan. Each island is richly different in number of habitants, history, languages spoken, and tourism.
Currently, islands within this group have had news coverage due to a 7.2 magnitude earthquake, which took place near Guam and occurred on Saturday August 14, 2010. Reports of injury or run were not yet available when the news of the earthquake broke, but it is estimated that the depth was about 12.4 miles below the ocean. Additionally, a quake of this magnitude can also radiate along the coasts of the island and nearby land. No tsunami dangers have been reported. While visiting these islands is very popular for those looking for a tropical vacation, guests must use caution and observe warnings to protect their own safety. Often individuals are simply not aware of the risks involved in staying in remote locations during tropical storm seasons. Tourism is certainly helpful to the economies’ of these countries, but visitors must be careful and smart when taking trips out on the ocean.