Last Updated on January 6, 2021 by Neil Mackengie
Hawaii is the most recent state to become part of the United States. It is made up of a group of islands in the Pacific Ocean, some 2,400 miles southwest of California. The state includes eight large and many small islands and has a total area of about 6,420 square miles.
According to Hawaiian legends, there was a volcano goddess called Pele who formed the islands. From time to time Pele returns to the island’s craters and kindles her fires into eruptions.
The strange fact is that the Hawaiian Islands are actually the tops of great volcanoes that have been thrust up from the bottom of the ocean. For example, the island of Hawaii (“the Big Island”), which is twice as large as all the other islands together, was piled up by five volcanoes whose eruptions overlapped one another. Two of these are still active and they are still continuing the process of island-building.
One of these volcanoes, Mauna Loa, erupts every few years. In 1950, it erupted for 23 days and lava flowed down into the sea. It turned the water into steam, killing many fish.
Another volcano, Mauna Kea, is dormant. It is the highest mountain in the Pacific. It rises over meters above sea level, but its base goes down to about 5,480 meters under the ocean. If measured from the underwater base, it is the world’s tallest mountain.
On the island of Maui, there is a volcano called Haleakala which rises to a height of about 3,055 meters. It is the world’s largest inactive volcano. Its crater is about 20 miles around and some 830 meters deep.
What Was The First Hawaiian Island Formed?
The first island of Hawaii is Kauai which formed 5.1 million years ago.