Categories: [North America] [Sea] Links/source: www.gohawaii.com, www.wikipedia.org Last update: October 23, 2007. Number of views: 443931
Location, topography, and geology
Hawaii is the southernmost state of the United States; it would be the westernmost, if not for Alaska. It is one of only two states (Alaska is the other) that are outside the contiguous United States, and do not share a border with another U.S. state.
Hawaii is the only state of the United States that:
is separated from the mainland by water, yet is not a territory
is completely surrounded by water
continues to grow in area because of active extrusive lava flows, most notably from Kilauea (Kīlauea).
is entirely in the tropics.
Except for Easter Island, Hawaii is farther away from land than any other landmass on Earth. Hawaii’s tallest mountain, Mauna Kea stands over 13,000 feet (4,000 m) and is taller than Mount Everest if followed to its base at the floor of the Pacific Ocean.
All of the Hawaiian Islands were formed by volcanoes arising from the sea floor from a magma source described in geological theory as a hotspot. The theory maintains that as the tectonic plate beneath much of the Pacific Ocean moves in a northwesterly direction, the hot spot remains stationary, slowly creating new volcanoes. This explains why only volcanoes on the southern half of the Big Island, and the Loihi Seamount deep below the waters off its southern coast, are presently active, with Loihi being the newest volcano to form.
The last volcanic eruption outside the Big Island happened at Haleakala (Haleakalā) on Maui in the late 18th century (though recent research suggests that Haleakala's most recent eruptive activity could be hundreds of years older).
The volcanic activity and subsequent erosion created impressive geological
features. The Big Island is notable as the world’s fifth highest island.
Because of the islands' volcanic formation, native life before human
activity is said to have arrived by the "3 W's": wind (carried through the
air), waves (brought by ocean currents), and wings (birds, insects, and
whatever they brought with them). The isolation of the Hawaiian Islands in
the middle of the Pacific Ocean, and the wide range of environments to be
found on high islands located in and near the tropic, has resulted in a
vast array of endemic flora and fauna. Hawaii has more endangered species
per square mile and has lost a higher percent of its endemic species than
anywhere else on Earth.
Hawaii Maps & Islands
From the soaring cliffs of the Napali
Coast to the vast chasms of Waimea
Canyon, Kauai enchants the senses like no other island.
Plunging ravines. Cascading waterfalls. Unforgettable cliffs, canyons,
beaches, and bays. “The Island of Discovery,” begs to be discovered.
What can I do on Kauai?
Hike up Waimea
Canyon for stunning views of the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific”
Take a helicopter ride along the 3000-foot cliffs of the Napali
Kayak down the Wailua
River. Kauai has the only navigable rivers in Hawaii.
timeless, natural radiance oh the isladnds
meets the modern luxuries of today, on Oahu. Hike down a lush
mountainside, just minutes away from a soaring cityscape. Feast at a luau
under the stars one night, dine at a five-star restaurant another.
Sunbathe all day on the North Shore then dance all night in Waikiki. There’s no shortage of things to do on Oahu.
What can I do on Oahu?
Take a surfing lesson on Waikiki Beach
Watch world-class surfers charge the big waves on the North Shore
Pay your respects at the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor
Marvel at the American Florentine architecture of Iolani Palace
Dress up and experience downtown nightlife and art galleries
is only 38 miles long and 10 miles wide, but it's home to the tallest sea
cliffs in the world. These towering cliffs along Molokai's north coast
stand up to 3,600 feet high and are one of the most breathtaking sights in
This is an island that stays true to its Hawaiian traditions. Outdoor
adventures are more personal here, tucked away from the stress of the
outside world. Get back to nature and find tranquility on Molokai.
What can I do on Molokai?
Hike through the breathtaking Halawa Valley
Take a memorable mule ride through Kalaupapa National Historical Park and learn about the selfless acts
of Father Damien
Boat out to see the world’s tallest sea cliffs (3600 feet) along the
Vizit Lanai and you will discover an idyllic romanitic setting with the
privacy you can only find on “Hawaii’s Most Enticing Island.”
Discover two luxurious resorts, two championship golf-courses, and
outdoor adventures unique to Lanai’s distinctive landscapes. If you want
to get away from it all, get away to Lanai.
What can I do on Lanai?
Four-wheel drive to the lunar landscapes of Keahiakawelo, the "Garden of the Gods"
See the spinner dolphins in Hulopoe Bay
Tee up at two championship golf courses: The Challenge at
Manele and The
Experience at Koele
Hike up to Munro Trail for views of neighboring islands Maui, Molokai,
Kahoolawe, Oahu, and Hawaii’s Big island
Watch a humpback whale breach the sea. Tee off at a championship golf
course. Voted “Best Pacific Island,” by readers of Conde Naste Traveler,
Maui does not disappoint.
From the summit of Haleakala Crater to the shore of Big Beach in Makena, Maui has a breadth of exhilarating outdoor
sights, activities, and entertainment for every visitor.
What can I do on Maui?
Watch the sunrise atop the 10,000-foot Haleakala Crater
Spot a humpback whale on a whale watching excursion
Drive up the scenic, 53-mile Hana highway
Snap a picture of striking Iao Needle in Iao Valley
Spend a day browsing the museums, shops, and restaurants of Lahaina
Famous for the active Kilauea volcano, Hawaii’s Big Island is home to a
list of fascinating anomalies.
Eleven different climate zones generate everything from lush rain
forests to arid deserts, black sand beaches to snow-capped mountaintops.
The Big Island is Hawaii’s biggest playground.
What can I do on Hawaii’s Big Island?
See molten lava flow at Kilauea volcano in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
Play in the snow atop Mauna Kea, the world’s tallest mountain (measured from the ocean
Hike through Waipio Valley, the “Valley of the Kings”
Explore Puukohola Heiau, the largest restored ancient Hawaiian religious
Enjoy the entertainment, culture, and cuisine in Hilo and