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May 4 / Dave Schumaker

The Red Dirt of Kauai

One of the things that the island of Kauai is famous for, is its very vibrant (and somewhat annoying – if you get it on your clothes) deep red dirt. One popular application of the dirt is its use in dyeing t-shirts, the most well known of which are Dirt Shirts.


Image credit: Richard Puzio on SmugMug.

What causes Kauai’s dirt to be so red? Since Kauai is one of the oldest Hawaiian Islands, the high iron content of the volcanic soils has had plenty of time to oxidize, especially with the wet conditions of the island (Kauai is home to one of the wettest places on the planet).

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