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Maui Nui, Hawaiian Islands

February 21st, 2009 Category: Volcanoes

Maui, Hawaiian Islands - February 18th, 2009

Maui, Hawaiian Islands - February 18th, 2009

The islands of Maui (right), Molokai (left), Lanai (below Molokai) and Kahoolawe (below Maui) are part of the Hawaiian Island Chain. Together, the four islands are known as Maui Nui.

Maui  is the second-largest of the Hawaiian Islands at 727.2 square miles (1883.5 km2). Maui’s wide variety of landscapes have resulted from a unique combination of geology, topography, and climate.

Maui is a “volcanic doublet”, formed from two shield volcanoes that overlapped one another to form an isthmus between them.

The older, western volcano has been eroded considerably and is cut by numerous drainages, forming the peaks of the West Maui Mountains. Puʻu Kukui is the highest of the peaks at 5,788 feet (1,764 m).

The larger, younger volcano to the east, Haleakalā, rises to more than 10,000 feet (3,000 m) above sea level, but measures 5 miles (8.0 km) from seafloor to summit.

Kahoolawe, located 7 miles (11.2 km) southwest of Maui, is 11 miles (18 km) long by 6 miles (9.7 km) across. With a total area is 44.6 square miles (115.5 km2), it is the smallest of the 8 main Hawaiian Islands.

The highest point is the crater of Lua Makika at the summit of Puʻu Moaulanui, which is 1,477 feet (450 m) above sea level.

The island is relatively dry because the low elevation fails to generate much orographic precipitation from the northeastern trade winds and it is located in the rain shadow of Maui’s 10,023 feet (3,055 m) high East Maui Volcano (Haleakalā).

Molokai is the fifth largest of the main Hawaiian Islands. It is 38 by 10 miles (61 by 16 km) in size with a land area of 260.0 square miles (673.4 km²).

Molokai is built from two distinct volcanoes known as East Molokai and the much smaller West Molokai. The highest point is Kamakou on East Molokai, at 4,970 feet (1,510 m).

Lanai, south of Molokai, is the sixth-largest of the Hawaiian Islands, with a land area of 140.5 square miles (364 km²). The island is somewhat comma-shaped, with a width of 18 miles (29 km) in the longest direction.

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