Diamond Head (Hawaii)

Diamond Head, east of Waikīkī

Diamond Head from the air

The Diamond Head, known in Hawaiian Leahi, is a 232 m high tuff formation on the Hawaiian island of Oahu and the landmark of Honolulu and Waikīkī. Its English name derives from sailors from the 19th century, who mistook the Quarzeinsprengsel with diamonds.

Formation of the crater

The offshore section of the summit, deeply eroded ridges and the egg-shaped craters are evidence of the dynamic geological history Lēahis. Oahu was before 2.5 to 3 million years from the eruption of two volcanoes. A period of extensive erosion followed. Remnants of these volcanoes are the mountain ranges Koolau and Waianae Range.

After about 2 million years of volcanic inactivity, there is renewed eruptions at the southeastern end Koolaus. These eruptions took place near the ocean, where the magma were digested using water and steam in ash and fine particles. In the air expelled and cemented together to Tuffringe formed as the Leahi.

It is believed that the Leahi emerged 300,000 years ago in a single eruption. The wide saucer-shaped crater covered approximately 1.5 square kilometers (350 acres) and is much wider than high. The southwestern border is higher because the ash was blown by the wind during the eruption in this direction. Since the eruption eroded the slopes and were processed by the rain, wind and sea. Today, a coral reef protects the seaward slopes of the crater.

Leahi ( Diamond Head ) is one of the most famous mountains of Hawaii. In 1986, he was declared as a typical example of a tuff ring to a major landmark ( National Natural Landmark ) in the USA.

Plants and animals at Diamond Head

The semi-arid climate, steep rocky slopes and the flat crater floor of Diamondhead can grow mainly small shrubs and herbs. Botanists believe that the crater was formerly covered with forest. Today, however, there are only a few original Hawaiian species. At the beginning of the 20th century made ​​rain water in the crater of a small lake, which was inhabited by indigenous ducks, coots and cranes.

Most plants and animals that you see today in the crater, were brought to Hawaii in the 19th century. Dominant plants are the Kiawe, a tree of the genus Prosopis, and koa haole ( Leucaena leucocephala ). Both plants were introduced as feed for cattle and adapted themselves quickly to the hot, dry conditions. Mainly we see cardinals, doves and sparrows.

The early history

It is, Hiiaka, sister of the fire deity Pele, Leahi gave its name because the peak is similar to the forehead ( lae ) of the ahi fish. Another translation reads Feuerkopf country ( Fire Headland ) and refers to navigation fires that were lit at the summit to the canoes drove along the coast, to conduct. A heiau (temple) at the summit was devoted to protect against updrafts that could extinguish the fire, the wind god. Since 1917 there is a light for visual aid navigation. In the 17th century, Western explorers and traders visited Leahi and held calcite crystals in rocks for diamonds. The mountain got its name Diamond Head.

Military History

With a panoramic view of Koko Head to Waianae Diamond Head is the ideal place for the coastal defense of Oahu. 1904 Diamond Head was purchased by the government, serving from that time for military purposes.

1908 began with the mounting and setting up of guns, as well as the construction of the Kapahulu tunnel through the north wall of the crater to Fort Ruger. Five batteries for lodging the coast artillery were built. Harlow (1910 ) on the northern crater rim, Dodge and Hulings (1913 ) on the east, Birkhimer (1916 ) in the crater mostly underground and battery 407 ( 1943), which is located in the southern crater rim. The fire control center at the summit, built 1908-1910, housed rooms for cards and tools to coordinate artillery strikes can. From this position, the observers could assign their own batteries and the batteries Randolph and Dudley at Fort DeRussy in Waikiki Beach and the battery Harlow in Fort Ruger goals. The four-story fire control center, the levels are connected by a spiral staircase and ladders, was embedded with broken stone cloaked in cement. Each level has a lake-facing slots in order to identify potential air and sea attacks can. Additional coastal defense was ensured by long-range guns that were built on the slopes and ridges of the crater in 1915. The military features Diamond Heads are part of the Fort Ruger Historic District.

In the 1940s, the Kahala tunnel was dug through the south wall of the crater. This now leads to a parking area inside the crater from which a path via stairs and tunnels leading up to the fire control center in 232 m height.

In the crater itself, there were also some military use facilities, such as two shooting ranges.