Karst Applied Research Studies Through Geologic Mapping (KARST) Project

Saipan Task page

Geologic Map of Saipan,  Commonwealth of Northern Mariana  Islands (CNMI)

The island of Saipan, Commonweath of Northern Mariana Islands depends on ground water, extracted from a thin, fresh water lens in an unconfined karst aquifer, for its municipal water supply. Areas of the island face chronic shortages and water rationing. With a population of about 70,000 and growing, the Commonwealth government and water authorities need an accurate model of the geologic framework and distribution of the ground-water resource to optimally manage current and future water extraction.

In addition, a National Park Service (NPS) Unit, The American Memorial Park, is located on the island. This park serves as an interpretive center for the World War II battle that raged across the island in June 1944. The events of the battle were significantly affected by the geology and physiography of the island. A modern, digital geologic map is integral to interpretations of the landscape history of the island and its effect on this historic event for the United States and Japan.

Photograph of Bird Island area of Saipan

Photograph of volcanic, volcaniclastic (foreground and island) and carbonate rocks (background) exposed near Bird Island, Saipan.

The Karst Project has completed field work leading to revision of the original geologic map of Saipan (Cloud and others, 1956). This new map is GIS-based an will be published within the next few years.

Click Here to go to the webpage for a USGS report titled:  Ground-Water Resources of Saipan, Commonwealth of the Northern Meriana Islands (Carruth, 2003). This publication has an excellent synopsis of the previously mapped geology of the island.