Hawaii is the only state of the United States that is not geographically located in North America.
Hawaii’s tallest mountain, Mauna Kea, stands at 13,796 feet (4,205 m) but is taller than Mount Everest if followed to the base of the mountain, which, lying at the floor of the Pacific Ocean, rises about 33,500 feet (10,200 m).
The eight main islands, Hawaii, Maui, Oahu, Kaholawe, Lanai, Molokai, Kauai and Niihau are accompanied by many others. Kaula is a small island near Niihau that is often overlooked. The Northwest Hawaiian Islands are a series of nine small, older masses northwest of Kauai that extend from Nihoa to Kure that are remnants of once much larger volcanic mountains. There are also more than 100 small rocks and islets, such as Molokini, that are either volcanic, marine sedimentary or erosional in origin, totaling 130 or so across the archipelago.
Geology of Hawaii
The Hawaiian islands were (and continue to be) continuously formed from volcanic activity initiated at an undersea magma source called a hot spot. As the tectonic plate beneath much of the Pacific Ocean moves to the northwest, the hot spot
remains stationary, slowly creating new volcanoes. Due to the hot spot’s location, the only active volcanoes are located around the southern half of the Big Island. The newest volcano, Laihi Seamount, is located south of the Big Island’s coast.The last volcanic eruption outside the Big Island occurred at Haleakala on Maui before the late 18th century, though it could have been hundreds of years earlier. In 1790, Kilauea exploded with the deadliest eruption (of the modern era) known to have occurred in what is now the United States. As many as 5,405 warriors and their families marching on Kilauea were killed by that eruption. Volcanic activity and subsequent erosion have created impressive geological features. The Big Island has the third highest point among the world’s islands.
Flora and Fauna
Because the islands are so far from other land habitats, life before human activity is said to have arrived by the wind (carried through the air), waves (brought by ocean currents), and wings (birds, insects, and whatever they brought with them). This isolation and the wide range of environments (extreme altitude, tropical climate) produced a vast array of endemic flora and fauna. Hawaii has more endangered species and has lost a higher percentage of its endemic species than any other U.S. state. The relatively short time that the existing main islands of the archipelago have been above the surface of the ocean is only a fraction of time span over which biological colonization and development have occurred in the archipelago.
The islands are well known for the environmental diversity that occurs on high mountains within a trade winds field. On a single island, the climate can differ around the coast from dry tropical (< 20 in or 500 mm annual rainfall) to wet tropical; and up the slopes from tropical rainforest (> 200 in or 5000 mm per year) through a temperate climate into alpine conditions of cold and dry climate. The rainy climate impacts soil development, which largely determines ground permeability, which affects the distribution of streams, wetlands, and wet places.
The above, beta content is courtesy Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hawaii. Check back frequently for new content, photos, videos and stories soon.
Mauna Kea on the Big Island is one of the best places in the world to view the stars. The Mauna Kea Visitors Center also has a night Hawaii stargazing program.
A touch from God has translated Hawaii beaches into colors or black, white and green sand beaches. Choose between remote isolated beaches that require some hiking to access to wide open beaches you want to walk barefoot on forever. You will find beaches for every activity -surfing, snorkeling or sunbathing.
Get into your rental car or jeep and travel to the wet side and discover all the Hawaii waterfalls your camera can capture. The Hawaiian Islands most breathtaking waterfalls can be discovered by short drives and/or short walks to viewpoints. Hikers will enjoy the more remote falls as well.
Hiking in Hawaii
Try doing this all in one day: Hiking in Hawaii begins in snow,then in a rain forest and finish the day hiking near hot lava. Hawaii definitely offers once in a life time hiking experiences. Get on your hiking shoes and escape to areas that leaves the majority of tourists in your dust.
If you are new to the sport of kayaking go with a guided tour. These guides know where to find the quiet waters of the islands. You may find that kayaking alongside playful dolphins is unforgettable experience.