Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center
USGS Pacific Coral Reefs Website
Panorama created with photos taken from Hanalei Bay on the north coast of Kauaʻi.
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The USGS logo is centered looking west; south is to the left and north to the right of the logo. The Hanalei River, an American Heritage River, enters Hanalei Bay at the extreme right side of the image. Just offshore of the river mouth on the eastern side of the bay is a large fringing reef, which causes the small waves to break. Another large fringing reef is on the western side of the bay, just underneath the USGS logo.
During the winter months when large storms strike Kauaʻi from the north, rainfall is high in the mountains above the town of Hanalei (on the left side of the image) and the Hanalei River and other small streams carry large quantities of water and mud out into the bay. Large (10 to 30 foot high) waves cause the muddy water to quickly disperse from the bay.
During the summer months, however, rainfall is lighter, the river flow is generally lower, and waves in the North Pacific Ocean are generally small. As a result, water carrying mud and nutrients from the land flows into the bay, and likely resides there longer than during the winter.
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