The volcanic island shown here is Pitcairn Island, the island on which the sailors from the British ship HMS Bounty settled after their mutiny in 1790. High cliffs surround most of the island, making access difficult - likely a primary reason the mutineers chose this landfall. The center of the island is green, covered with a dense forest. The island's only inhabitants (descendants of the Bounty mutineers and their Tahitian companions) live in Adamstown, the bright spots near the northeast shore. A faint semi-circle around the top of the island traces out an ancient crater, evidence of Pitcairn's volcanic past. This image of Pitcairn was taken on 5 April 2006. Photo courtesy of NASA.
At 37 sq km, Henderson Island is easily the largest of the four main Pitcairn Islands. Its poor soil and little fresh water, however, make it unsuitable for agriculture, so this raised coral atoll has remained relatively unaffected by human contact and in 1988 it was designated a World Heritage Site by the UN. The island has a remarkable diversity given its small size. Ten of its 51 flowering plants, all four of its land birds, and roughly a third of the identified insects and gastropods are endemic. Nonetheless, its location in the South Pacific Gyre has caused an immense accumulation of debris on its beaches and a reported "highest density of plastic rubbish anywhere in the world." Clean-up plans have been announced. Photo courtesy of NASA.