The Hawaiian archipelago is famous for its volcanic landscape. Hawaii emerged as a habitable zone entirely because of volcanic activity. Around 40 to 70 million years ago, massive underwater volcanic eruptions raised the first of the Hawaiian islands out of the surly depths by depositing lava and minerals on top of each other until they crested the waves. The Polynesian people that first inhabited these islands came to worship elements of their volcanic home. Pele, the fire goddess, was thought to reside inside the scorching depths of a volcano on one of the biggest islands. The minerals deposited by volcanic eruptions enabled a dazzling variety of plants and animals to thrive in the area. Today, many visitors choose to visit the volcanic sites on the Hawaiian islands to get a feel for the colossal movements that shape our Earth. Here are 3 fascinating facts about Hawaii’s volcanoes.
The World’s Biggest Volcano
Visitors staying at the Kona, Hawaii resorts might not be aware that they are sitting extremely close to the world’s largest volcano. Mauna Loa is the largest above sea mountain in the world in terms of surface area, with shallow sides that extend 70 miles from end to end. It has erupted more than a dozen times since 1900 and is known for the huge lava streams that run down it. The mountain’s massive volume – over 20,000 cubic miles – has depressed the Earth’s crust beneath it by 5 miles.
Hawaii’s Newest Island Is Already Forming
Hawaii’s islands were formed due to underwater volcanic activity. This activity has not stopped. An underwater volcano known as Loihi has been erupting periodically for many years near the big island. Although it remains around 3000 ft below the surface of the waves, it is steadily increasing in height with each new eruption. Bulbous formations of lava coat the pinnacle of the mountain. Loihi is set to crest the waves within the next 100,000 years, adding another island to the archipelago. Before the 1970s, Loihi was not known to be an active volcano. These days, a great deal of research is being conducted, which will help scientists understand the way new landmasses are formed.
There Are 6 Active Volcanoes In Hawaii
Although every Hawaiian island was formed by volcanic activity, there are not only 6 volcanoes that are considered to be active. Some of the volcanoes on the archipelago are extremely active. Kilauea – the youngest and most active of them all – erupted continuously from 1983 to 2018. An eruption in 2020 fed a lava lake in the crater at the summit – a sight to behold indeed! This massive volcanic crater – frequently filled with lava – was once thought to be the home of the fire goddess Pele and is still very culturally significant to people hailing from Hawaii. Around 90 percent of the volcano is covered with lava flows that are less than 1100 years old – meaning that the mountain has changed shape and size considerably in (geologically) recent years.