Sailor’s Hat – A Mark of Destruction on Kaho’olawe

Man-made crater “Sailor’s Hat” showcases the impact humans have had on the island of Kaho’olawe but conservation offers hope that this island paradise can thrive once again.

The coast of Kaho’olawe is marked with a man-made crater called Sailor’s Hat. The crater was caused during bombing practice; in 1965 the US Navy piled 500 tons of TNT on the southeast shore in an attempt to simulate the effects of an atomic bomb. Ships were anchored off shore to see how they would respond to the blast.

After the first blast they added another 500 tons, and then another. A total of three blasts created a massive crater on the shore of Kaho’olawe. Today you can see stones melted from the explosion. Now the crater is habitat for two species of endemic shrimp that live in the shallow waters. Sailor’s Hat represents the lasting damage that humans have done to the island, but it’s not the end of the impact. Today, invasive species threaten the island’s native fauna, but Island Conservation and our partners are working to remove invasive species and restore the island.

Watch the first part of the series if you missed it.

Watch the video from Hawaii News Now to learn more.

Featured photo: Kahoʻolawe Island, Hawaiʻi. Credit: Andrew Wright

About Emily Heber

Emily is a recent graduate from UC Santa Barbara with a BS in Zoology. As a student, she discovered that she had a passion for the conservation of endangered species and their ecosystems. Her background in informal education has allowed her the opportunity to share her passion for animals with others, something she seeks to continue doing while working with the communication team. In her spare time, Emily enjoys exploring the amazing hiking trails found in Santa Cruz and tries to SCUBA dive whenever possible. Emily is excited to join the Island Conservation team and to help share the amazing work that is being done here.

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