Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Chuuk is an island group that comprises one of the four states of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), along with Kosrae, Pohnpei, and Yap. It lies in the North Pacific approximately 1000 kilometres southeast of Guam. Chuuk means mountain in Chuukese and was known by its European mispronunciation, Truk, until 1990.
The main population center of Chuuk State is the Chuuk Lagoon, a large atoll with mountainous islands surrounded by a string of islets on a barrier reef. The two major geographical and dialectic divisions of the Chuuk Lagoon are Faichuuk, the western islands, and Namoneas, the eastern islands. Chuuk State also includes several more sparsely populated "outer island" groups, including the Mortlock Islands to the southeast, the Hall Islands to the north, Namenweitos to the northwest, and the Westerns to west. The Westerns are of particular interest in that they are some of the most traditional islands in the Pacific and culturally related to outer islands of Yap. Today you can still find master navigators—Poluwat is considered to have the best navigators—and ocean going outrigger canoes. Though visiting the Westerns is hard due to lack of reliable transportation. Huuk has probably the most accessible airstrip in the Westerns, with planes landing every one or two weeks.
It is the largest of the FSM's states by population. It is divided into five districts.
Most of the roads and transportation systems are poor or in disrepair. There is a small international airport on the administrative island of Weno. The airport (IATA airport code TKK) is served by Continental Micronesia, a division of Continental Airlines.
During World War II, a significant portion of the Japanese fleet was based in Truk Lagoon, with the administrative center on Tonoas (south of Weno). Operation Hailstone, executed by the United States in 1944, culminated in one of the most important naval battles of the war at Truk. Several Japanese support vessels and a number of aircraft were destroyed, although the larger ships had received advance warning and were already at sea.
Tourism, especially scuba diving among the many wrecks of Truk Lagoon, is the island's main industry. Copra, (dried coconut meat) is the only cash crop but is of insignificant importance. Most of the inhabited outlying islands engage in subsistence activity only.
On July 2, 2002, heavy rains from Tropical Storm Chata'an caused more than 30 landslides that killed 47 people and injured dozens others, in the state's deadliest weather disaster. The landslides occurred throughout the day, some within just minutes of each other.
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