Thursday, April 24, 2008
This is a wonderful small pocket beach near the northern tip of Oahu. It is bracketed by two narrow tongues of old coral that project seaward and is sheltered from the North Pacific swell by the modern reef offshore. The beach lies in the afternoon shadow of a large resort hotel perched on one of the points, but like all Hawaii beaches, it remains publicly accessible.
The old coral is reportedly 125,000 years old, dating to the last high stand of sea level, several meters above what it is today ... about what it will be in 200 years if Greenland continues to melt at the rate it is today?
In 1946, an earthquake in the Aleutians sent a tsunami southward - six hours later Hilo, on the big island, was devastated. Here near Kahuku Point, it washed inland as much as a mile and may have been 20-30' deep. This hotel, built in the 1970s, was designed with tsunamis in mind, although we probably know far more about them now than we did then. The hotel might survive, but the restaurants and the condos might not and the cars in the parking lots would probably wind up draped from trees around the golf courses.