A small island in Hawaii is no more, scientists have found, after taking a direct hit from Hurricane Walaka in early October.
Half a mile long and just 400 ft wide, East Island was an atoll in northwest Hawaii. Scientists confirmed its disappearance after comparing satellite images of the surrounding French Frigate Shoals, which is part of an enormous protected marine area.
Sharing this drone footage of the 11-acre island on YouTube in July this year, Dr Chris Fletcher wrote that it was a critical habitat for green sea turtles, monk seals, and many types of sea birds.
“The Coastal Geology Group from the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), University of Hawaii, is investigating the age, origin, evolution, and current status of this island, and Gin Island, to improve understanding of how they may respond to current and future sea level rise,” he said at the time.
Speaking to the Guardian newspaper, Fletcher said: “The island was probably one to two thousand years old and we were only there in July, so for it to be lost right now is pretty bad luck." Credit: Chip Fletcher via Storyful