A small island of sand lost in the Pacific and belonging to the American state of Hawaii was swallowed by the waters after the passage of Hurricane Walaka in early October.
The discovery was made by a scientist based in Hawaii, based on satellite images, and confirmed by the authorities.
The East Island sandbar is only a few hundred meters long and belongs to the atoll known as “Sandbank of the French Frigate”, a name inherited from the explorer Jean-François de La Perouse in the 18th century. It has practically disappeared, although some of the original four hectares seem to remain submerged.
“The images seem to show alterations to the island of Tern, and the East Island seems to be submerged,” said the federal authorities responsible for the protected marine area Papahanaumokuakea in a statement Tuesday.
The island is not inhabited, but two species of protected animals used it to breed: Hawaiian green turtles and monk seals.
A team of federal marine wildlife protection services was en route to the site.
“I never imagined we could lose any major islands in one night, in October 2018,” Randy Kosaki, head of research for the federal agency managing the marine park, told the Washington Post. “It’s absolutely amazing.”
US President Barack Obama announced in August 2016 the quadrupling of the area of the marine reserve known as Papahanaumokuakea, making it the largest in the world.
Katie Tachuck is a reporter for News Lair. After graduating from UCLA, Katie got an internship at a local radio station and worked as a investigative journalist and producer. Katie has also worked as a columnist for the The Santa Fe New Mexican. Katie covers economy and community events for News Lair.