Pulau Batu Hairan

Ghost Island (Pulau Batu Hairan)

I think many of you had heard about a “ghost” island (known as Pulau Batu Hairan in Malay language) emerged on 15 Apr 1988. This island just rise up from the sea floor, remain above the sea for a short period, then it would sink and disappeared. It is next to the east side of Banggi Island, roughly at latitude 7 degrees and 16 minutes north, and longitude 117 degrees 20 minutes east, about 70 km northeast of Kudat town. The pictures below were taken in May of 1988 (I don’t know the author and source). As you can see, the island is full of corals, very beautiful. Don’t know whether it will come up again. Really want to go there to have a look.

Pulau Batu Hairan

The island was initially small in size, but after a few days gradually grew to approximately the size of a football field. After two weeks, the island was estimated to be about 60-70 metres in diameter. The island is roughly rounded in shape and is about 2-3 metres in height (taking into account the fall and rise of the tide).

Ghost Island

According to Dr. Felix Tongkul, a famous geologist, the birth of the new island, so-called Pulau Batu Hairan due to mud volcanism is closely related to the geology of the northern part of Sabah. The island was caused by a mud volcano or mud extrusion, evidence of which is abundant on the island and is a common occurrence on mainland Sabah, especially in the Dent Peninsula.

Pulau Batu Hairan
Sabah Museum And Archives Journal (1990, Vol 1, No.3)

The book “Sabah Museum And Archives Journal” (1990, Vol 1, No.3), published by Sabah State Museum, also has a 6-page article titled “Pulau Batu Hairan – The Birth of a New Island” that explains the formation of this ghost island in detail with diagrams.

Article: Pulau Batu Hairan - The Birth of a New Island

I took the photos of this article and post it below. You can click each of the picture to view it in bigger size:

Article: Pulau Batu Hairan - The Birth of a New Island
Article: Pulau Batu Hairan - The Birth of a New Island

According to the nearby villagers, this island first appeared as early as 1941 (year of pacific WWII, a bad omen?). If you are lazy to read the long article, FYI, the conclusion by geologists is – this mysterious island was pushed to the surface by mud volcano activity (abrupt explosion of trapped undersea gas).

Tour package to climb Mount Kinabalu

11 thoughts on “Ghost Island (Pulau Batu Hairan)

  1. Hi, I think this was the one in Kudat, just appeared once only. The pics should be from Mr Kan Yau Chong, Daily Express.

  2. Hi,
    I think I saw these pictures in one of the website in the past, can’t remember the name, appearance and disappearance actually depanding on the tides, every 5yrs the tides go down as much as 15′ and last for 5-6hrs, normally occur at 2am. go to Ocean low n high tides web

  3. hey yah !!!!!!
    mana ata pulau antu ma??????
    you olang cina gila ka?
    only olang gila like yu ma thinking like that
    pulau antu……., olang cina memang gila ma, malaykui olang titak mau dengalbullshit ma , halam lah.

  4. hey Yah !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    ata sini Olang cina gila ka?

    ata hantu luma saya ma, nanti call ghost buster to go to pulau antu, eating all rocks and sand so no more pulau antu…ok ka? drinking all water jadi no more olang antu, olang cina jangan takut ma,

    hey yah !!!!!!!!!!!

  5. They name it as Pulau Batu Hairan, not Pulau Hantu. Its still fresh in my mind during that time. Yes, it was appear somewhere around Kudat area, I guess nearby Banggi Island…just appear for few days…

  6. this is very interesting 🙂

    i think these are called sand bars, there is one visible sand bar at tanjung aru beach, only appears during low tide and it is made up of dead corals. it’s painful to walk on it and only accessible by a sailboat. I have been on one in 2012 and the experience was amazing. it disappeared about 4 hours later. 🙂

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