How was Hawaii Formed?

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, has a total area of baout 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 which have been thrust up from the bottom of the ocean.

For example, the islands of Hawaii (“the Big Islands”), 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 buildings. One of these volcanoes, Manua Loa, erupt 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 volcanoes, Mauna Kea, is dormant. It is the highest mountain in the Pacific. It rises over 4,200 meters above sea level, but its base goes down to about 5,480 meters under the ocean.

On the islands 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.

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