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Hawaii: an island was engulfed by a hurricane

A small sand island lost in the Pacific Ocean and belonging to the U.S. 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 named “French Frigate Sandbar”, a name inherited from the 18th century explorer Jean-François de La Pérouse. It has practically disappeared, although part of the original four hectares seems to remain underwater.

“Images appear to show alterations to Tern Island, and East Island appears to be submerged,” federal authorities responsible for the Papahanaumokuakea Marine Protected Area explained 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 federal marine wildlife protection team was on its way to the site […]

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