Muskeget Island Article

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Muskeget Island
Muskeget Island.jpg
Muskeget Island
Map showing the location of Muskeget Island
Map showing the location of Muskeget Island
Location of Muskeget Island in Massachusetts
Location Nantucket, Massachusetts, United States
Coordinates 41°20′7″N 70°18′15″W / 41.33528°N 70.30417°W / 41.33528; -70.30417
MUSKEGET ISLAND Latitude and Longitude:

41°20′7″N 70°18′15″W / 41.33528°N 70.30417°W / 41.33528; -70.30417
Elevation14 ft (4.3 m)

Muskeget Island is a low sandy island to the west of Tuckernuck Island and Nantucket, in the town of Nantucket, Massachusetts.

Geography

Muskeget Island is part of the terminal moraine marking the maximum extent of the last glacial ice sheet to reach the northeastern coast. It has an area of 292 acres (1.18 km2).The Muskeget Island group contains Dry Shoal, Skiff Island, Tombolo Point, and Adams Island. Much of Muskeget is owned by the town of Nantucket. There are currently two unoccupied shacks on the island, both of which are remnants of old structures.

Muskeget has a high elevation of fourteen feet. Its northern shore is mostly sand dunes, while its southern shore is mainly marshes. A sandy point protects the lagoon.

History

It was part of Dukes County until 1887. [1] The island was designated a National Natural Landmark by the National Park Service in April 1980.

Fauna

Muskeget is the southernmost breeding place of grey seals. Muskeget Island and Monomoy Island are the primary seal colonies off the New England coast. In 2008, more than 2,000 pups were born on Muskeget. With this large seal population, the waters surrounding Muskeget are an important feeding area for great white sharks. [2]

The island is also home to an indigenous species of rodent known as the Muskeget vole or beach vole.

Ecology

Southern Muskeget island is made up mostly of marshes and grassland. The grey seal is the most common mammal on the island. The waters surrounding the island are populated by several shark species, notably the great white, which feed on fish and seals. The beach vole is the only terrestrial mammal on the island. This vole feeds on beach grass stalks, leaves and seeds, and insect adults and larvae. Their predators include domestic cats, short-eared owls, northern harriers and the common garter snake. The IUCN has classified the beach vole as vulnerable.

Access

Muskeget is inaccessible to most boats because of shoals and sandbars. Kayaking there can be very dangerous because of rip currents, swells, and whirlpools. Specialized boats designed to navigate the difficult waters around the Island depart from Nantucket Harbor.

References

  1. ^ http://archives.lib.state.ma.us/actsResolves/1887/1887acts0088.pdf
  2. ^ MYERS, K.C. (2010-04-04). "Scientist shares great white shark insight". Cape Cod Times. Hyannis, MA: Cape Cod Media Group. Retrieved 4 April 2010.