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For the islet in the US Minor Islands
United States Minor Outlying Islands
The United States Minor Outlying Islands, a statistical designation defined by the International Organization for Standardization's ISO 3166-1 code, consists of nine United States insular areas in the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea: Baker Island, Howland Island, Jarvis Island, Johnston Atoll,...

, see Palmyra Atoll
Palmyra Atoll
Palmyra Atoll is an essentially unoccupied equatorial Northern Pacific atoll administered as an unorganized incorporated territory by the United States federal government...

Kaula Island, also called Kaula Rock, is a small, crescent-shaped offshore islet in the Hawaiian Islands
Hawaiian Islands
The Hawaiian Islands are an archipelago of eight major islands, several atolls, numerous smaller islets, and undersea seamounts in the North Pacific Ocean, extending some 1,500 miles from the island of Hawaii in the south to northernmost Kure Atoll...



It is located 23 miles (37 km) west-southwest of Kawaihoa Point on Niihau
Niihau or Niihau is the seventh largest of the inhabited Hawaiian Islands in the U.S. state of Hawaii, having an area of . Niihau lies southwest of Kauai across the Kaulakahi Channel. Several intermittent playa lakes provide wetland habitats for the Hawaiian Coot, the Black-winged Stilt, and the...

, and about 150 nautical miles (277.8 km) west of Honolulu. The island is actually the very top of a volcanic tuff cone that rests on top of a larger, submerged shield volcano
Shield volcano
A shield volcano is a type of volcano usually built almost entirely of fluid lava flows. They are named for their large size and low profile, resembling a warrior's shield. This is caused by the highly fluid lava they erupt, which travels farther than lava erupted from more explosive volcanoes...

. At its highest point, the island reaches a height of 548 feet (167 m). The ocean has carved large sea cliffs on the sides of the island. There is a large cave on the northwest side of the island called Kahalauaola (Shark Cave).

The United States Census Bureau
United States Census Bureau
The United States Census Bureau is the government agency that is responsible for the United States Census. It also gathers other national demographic and economic data...

 defines Kaula as Census Tract
Census tract
A census tract, census area, or census district is a geographic region defined for the purpose of taking a census. Usually these coincide with the limits of cities, towns or other administrative areas and several tracts commonly exist within a county...

 411 of Kauai County, Hawaii
Kauai County, Hawaii
Kauai County is a county located in the U.S. state of Hawaii. It consists of the islands of Kauai, Niihau, Lehua, and Kaula, in the state of Hawaii. As of 2000 Census the population was 58,463...

. The 2000 census
United States Census, 2000
The Twenty-second United States Census, known as Census 2000 and conducted by the Census Bureau, determined the resident population of the United States on April 1, 2000, to be 281,421,906, an increase of 13.2% over the 248,709,873 persons enumerated during the 1990 Census...

 showed that the uninhabited island had a land area of 158.2 acre (0.640213252 km²; 0.247187718556747 sq mi). Because of erosion
Erosion is when materials are removed from the surface and changed into something else. It only works by hydraulic actions and transport of solids in the natural environment, and leads to the deposition of these materials elsewhere...

, the island is slowly shrinking.

Kaʻula was one of the first five islands sited by Captain James Cook in 1778 which he spelled as "Tahoora".


A lighthouse
A lighthouse is a tower, building, or other type of structure designed to emit light from a system of lamps and lenses or, in older times, from a fire, and used as an aid to navigation for maritime pilots at sea or on inland waterways....

 was completed on the island in 1932 by the former United States Lighthouse Service
United States Lighthouse Service
The United States Lighthouse Service, also known as the Bureau of Lighthouses, was the agency of the US Federal Government that was responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of all lighthouses in the United States from the time of its creation in 1910 until 1939...

. It remained in operation through 1947.

Military use

The island has been used as a bombing range
Bombing range
A bombing range is an area used for testing explosive ordnance and practicing to accurately direct them to the target. Bombing ranges are used for munitions that either explode or produce too much destruction to use at a shooting range, such as kinetic energy penetrators or very large caliber...

 by the United States Navy
United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

 since at least 1952. Inert ordnance is currently used, although live explosive ordnance has been used in the past. There is a risk of unexploded ordnance
Unexploded ordnance
Unexploded ordnance are explosive weapons that did not explode when they were employed and still pose a risk of detonation, potentially many decades after they were used or discarded.While "UXO" is widely and informally used, munitions and explosives of...

 on the island. Permission from the U.S. Navy is required to land on the island. In 1978, over the objection of the U.S. Navy, the state of Hawaii claimed ownership of Kaula and named the island a State Seabird Sanctuary. A final determination of ownership has not yet been made, and the Navy still uses the southeast point of the island as an aerial bombing and strafing


Kaula is uninhabited but fishermen and scuba divers
Scuba diving
Scuba diving is a form of underwater diving in which a diver uses a scuba set to breathe underwater....

frequently visit the island. Five Fathom Pinnacle, 3 miles (4.8 km) west-northwest of Kaula, is also a noted dive spot.

External links