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Kauō (Laysan) is surrounded by a 1,016 acre shallow-water coral reef ecosystem. The island and its surrounding coral reefs were formed approximately 17 million years ago, when the underlying shield volcano and a portion of the associated coral reef bank were lifted above sea level.

  • Kauō is a flat island, bordered by sand and surf and harboring a pond resembles a birdʻs egg, cracked open, with the yolk surrounded by egg white. Kauō can be either the yolk or the egg white, its meaning specified with the modifier melemele ʻyellowʻ or keʻokeʻo  ʻwhiteʻ.

  • Denoting the contents of an egg the name Kauō also signifies the thousands of birds that inhabit the island.