Kauhako Crater Pond

Exploring depths of the Kauhako Crater pond.

The NPS underwater archeological team explores Kauhako Crater to a depth of 550 feet.

NPS photo by Gary somers.


The NPS Submerged Resources Center team visited Kalaupapa to explore Kauhako Crater. The operation was joint-ventured with the U.S. Navy Mobile Diving Salvage Unit One, the U.S. Marine Corp helicopter base at Kaneohe, and the National Geographic Society. Their ROV unit explored the crater to a depth greater than 550 feet. Water clarity, which was almost zero visibility at the surface, improved to nearly unlimited after a depth of 20 feet. The clear water was, for all intents and purposes, anaerobic. In addition, a temperature climb from 75 to 83 degrees Fahrenheit was noted as depth increased from the surface down to 21 feet. The sides of the crater were steep but had projections that might retain cultural material deposited from the rim. The surface of the crater is known to be one of the older documented occupation areas in the Hawaiian Islands.

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