Landsat mosaic, 1999–2001
Location in the state of Hawaii
|Area||4,028 sq mi (10,430 km2)|
|Area rank||75th, largest island in the United States – 1st|
|Highest elevation||13,803 ft (4,207.2 m)|
|Highest point||Mauna Kea|
|Flower||Red Pua Lehua (ʻOhiʻa blossom)|
|Pop. density||46 /sq mi (17.8 /km2)|
Hawaiʻi (Hawaiian pronunciation: [həˈvɐjʔi] ) anglicized Hawaii ( // (
The island is often referred to as the Island of Hawaiʻi, the Big Island, or Hawaiʻi Island to distinguish it from the state. Administratively, the whole island encompasses Hawaiʻi County.
As of the 2010 Census the population was 185,079.The county seat and largest city is Hilo. There are no incorporated cities in Hawaiʻi County (see List of counties in Hawaii).
Hawaiʻi is said to have been named after Hawaiʻiloa, the legendary Polynesian navigator who first discovered it. Other accounts attribute the name to the legendary realm of Hawaiki, a place from which some Polynesian people are said to have originated, the place where they transition to in the afterlife, or the realm of the gods and goddesses. Captain James Cook, the English explorer and navigator who was captain of the first European expedition that discovered the Hawaiian Islands, called them the "Sandwich Islands" after his patron, the Earl of Sandwich. Cook was killed on the Big Island at Kealakekua Bay on 14 February 1779, in a mêlée which followed the theft of a ship's boat.
Hawaiʻi was the home island of Paiʻea Kamehameha, later known as Kamehameha the Great. Kamehameha united most of the Hawaiian islands under his rule in 1795, after several years of war, and gave the kingdom and the island chain the name of his native island. In 1822 William Ellis (missionary) arrived and was one of a party that completed a tour of the island and kept a journal, this was later published.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 5,086 square miles (13,170 km2), of which 4,028 square miles (10,430 km2) is land and 1,058 square miles (2,740 km2) (20.8%) is water. The county's land area comprises 62.7 percent of the state's land area. It is the highest percentage by any county in the United States.
At its greatest dimension, the island is 93 miles (150 km) across. It has a land area of 4,028 square miles (10,430 km2) comprising 62% of the Hawaiian Islands' land area. Measured from its sea floor base to its highest peak, Mauna Kea is the world's tallest mountain, taller than even Mount Everest, since the base of Mount Everest is above sea level.
Ka Lae, the southernmost point in the 50 states of the United States, is on Hawaii. The nearest landfall to the south is in the Line Islands. To the northwest of the island of Hawaii is the island of Maui, whose Haleakalā volcano is visible from Hawaiʻi across the Alenuihaha Channel.
The island of Hawaiʻi is built from five separate shield volcanoes that erupted somewhat sequentially, one overlapping the other. These are (from oldest to youngest):
Geological evidence from exposures of old surfaces on the south and west flanks of Mauna Loa led to the proposal that two ancient volcanic shields (named Ninole and Kulani) were all but buried by the younger Mauna Loa.Geologists now consider these "outcrops" to be part of the earlier building of Mauna Loa.
Because Mauna Loa and Kīlauea are active volcanoes, the island of Hawaii is still growing. Between January 1983 and September 2002, lava flows added 543 acres (220 ha) to the island. Lava flowing from Kīlauea has destroyed several towns, including Kapoho in 1960, and Kalapana and Kaimū in 1990. In 1987 lava filled in "Queen's Bath", a large, L-shaped, freshwater pool in the Kalapana area.[ citation needed ] Another 875 acres were added between May to July, 2018 by the 2018 lower Puna eruption.
Some geologists count seven volcanoes as building the island, which include the submarine volcanoes Māhukona and Lōʻihi as parts of the base of the island. 22 miles (35 km) southeast of Hawaii lies the undersea volcano known as Lōʻihi. It is an erupting seamount that now reaches approximately 3,200 feet (980 m) below the surface of the ocean. Continued activity at current rates from Lōʻihi will likely cause it to break the surface of the ocean sometime between 10,000 and 100,000 years from now.Māhukona off the northwest corner of the island has already disappeared below the surface of the ocean. Approximately
The Great Crack is an eight-mile-long (13,000 m), 60-foot-wide (18 m) and 60-foot-deep (18 m) fissure in the island, in the district of Kau. According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), the Great Crack is the result of crustal dilation from magmatic intrusions into the southwest rift zone of Kilauea. While neither the earthquake of 1868 nor that of 1975 caused a measurable change in the Great Crack, lava welled out of the lower 6 miles (10 km) of the Great Crack in 1823.
Visitors can find trails, rock walls, and archaeological sites from as old as the 12th century around the Great Crack. Approximately 1,951 acres (790 ha) of private land were purchased during the presidency of Bill Clinton, specifically to protect various artifacts in this area, as well as the habitat of local wildlife.[ citation needed ]
The Hilina Slump is a 4,760-cubic-mile (19,800 km3) section of the south slope of the Kīlauea volcano which is slipping away from the island. Between 1990 and 1993, Global Positioning System (GPS) measurements showed a southward displacement of about 4 inches (10 cm) per year. Undersea measurements show that a "bench" has formed a buttress and that this buttress may tend to reduce the likelihood of future catastrophic detachment.
On 2 April 1868, an earthquake with a magnitude estimated between 7.25 and 7.9 rocked the southeast coast of Hawaiʻi. This was the most destructive earthquake in the recorded history of Hawaiʻi. It triggered a landslide on Mauna Loa, 5 miles (8 km) north of Pahala, killing 31 people. A tsunami claimed 46 more lives. The villages of Punaluʻu, Nīnole, Kawaʻa, Honuʻapo, and Keauhou Landing were severely damaged. The tsunami reportedly rolled over the tops of the coconut trees up to 60 feet (18 m) high, and it reached inland a distance of a quarter of a mile (400 meters) in some places.
On 29 November 1975, a 37-mile-wide (60 km) section of the Hilina Slump dropped 11.5 feet (3.5 m) and slid 26 feet (7.9 m) toward the ocean. This movement caused a 7.2 magnitude earthquake and a 48-foot-high (15 m) tsunami. Oceanfront property was washed off its foundations in Punaluu. Two deaths were reported at Halape, and 19 other people were injured.
The island suffered tsunami damage from earthquakes in Alaska on 1 April 1946, and in Chile on 23 May 1960. Downtown Hilo was severely damaged by both tsunamis, with many lives lost. Just north of Hilo, Laupāhoehoe lost 16 schoolchildren and five teachers in the tsunami of 1946.
In March 2011, a 9.0 magnitude earthquake off the east coast of Japan again created a tsunami that caused minor damage in Hawaiʻi. The estimated damage to public buildings alone was about US$3 million. In the Kona area this tsunami washed a house into Kealakekua Bay, destroyed a yacht club and tour boat offices in Keauhou Bay, caused extensive damage in Kailua Kona, flooded the ground floor of the King Kamehameha Hotel, and permanently closed the Kona Village Resort.
In early May 2018, hundreds of small earthquakes were detected on Kīlauea's East rift zone, leading officials to issue evacuation warnings. On 3 May 2018, the volcano erupted in Puna after a 5.0 earthquake earlier in the day, causing evacuations of the Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens subdivisions.A seemingly related 5.3 magnitude quake and a subsequent 6.9 magnitude earthquake occurred on 4 May.
Vog (volcanic fog) can envelop the island of Hawaiʻi when Kilauea Volcano is active. Since the termination of volcanic activity in September 2018, the vog has largely disappeared on the west side of the island. The gas plumes of the Kīlauea Volcano create a blanket of vog which the dominant trade winds mostly deflect toward the Kona coast on the west side of the island of Hawaiʻi. Vog contains chemicals that can damage the environment and the health of plants, humans, and other animals. Most of the aerosols are acidic and of a size where they can remain in the lungs to damage them and impair function. Flu-like symptoms and general lethargy are reported, and are especially pronounced in people with respiratory conditions.
|U.S. Decennial Census |
As of the census [ citation needed ]of 2010, the island had a resident population of 185,079. There were 64,382 households in the county. The population density was 17.7/km2 (45.9/mi2). There were 82,324 housing units at an average density of 8/km2 (20/mi2). The racial makeup of the county was 34.5% White, 0.7% African American, 22.6% Asian, 12.4% Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander, and 29.2% from two or more races; 11.8% of the population were Hispanics or Latinos of any race.
There were 64,382 households out of which 32.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.6% were married couples living together, 13.2% had a woman whose husband did not live with her, and 30.4% were non-families. 23.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.75 and the average family size was 3.24.[ citation needed ]
The age distribution was 26.1% under 18, 8.2% from 18 to 24, 26.2% from 25 to 44, 26.0% from 45 to 64, and 13.5% who were 65 or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females, there were 100 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 98 males.[ citation needed ]
41.3% of the people on Hawai`i island are religious, meaning they affiliate with a religion. 18.4% are Catholic; 3.7% are of another Christian faith; 5.1% are LDS; 0.1% in Hawaii, 5.0% are of an eastern faith; 0.1% are Muslim.[ citation needed ]
Hawaiʻi County encompasses the entire island of Hawaiʻi. Executive authority is vested in the mayor of Hawaiʻi County, who is elected for a four-year term. Since 2004, the election by the voters has been on a non-partisan basis. In 2008, Billy Kenoi was elected mayor, succeeding Harry Kim who had served a two-term limit. Legislative authority is vested in a nine-member county council. Each member represents a geographical region of the island, which closely correlates to one of the nine tax map districts of Hawaiʻi County. Members of the county council are elected on a non-partisan basis to two-year terms, with elections occurring in November of even-numbered years.
Administrative districts were originally based on the traditional land divisions called Moku of ancient Hawaiʻi. Some of the more heavily populated districts have since been split into North and South districts to make them more comparable on a population basis.
The number preceding each district is the Tax Map Key (TMK) number, used to locate state property information. They are assigned in a counter-clockwise order, beginning on the eastern side of the island.
|Hawaiʻi County||4028.02||148677||6 moku|
County council districts do not directly match the property tax districts because of the variation in the population density of voters in urban areas to rural areas; Hilo and Kailua (Kailua-Kona) towns are densely populated areas, while other districts such as Kaʻū, Puna, Hāmakua, and North & South Kohala are more sparsely populated.
Several government functions are administered at the county level that are at the state or municipal level in other states. For example, the county has its own office of liquor control.
The Hawaiʻi Department of Public Safety previously operated the Kulani Correctional Facility on the island of Hawaiʻi. In 2009, the Hawaiʻi Department of Public Safety announced that the facility would close.
Sugarcane was the backbone of the island of Hawaiʻi's economy for more than a century. In the mid-20th century, sugarcane plantations began to downsize, and in 1995 the last plantation closed. [ citation needed ]
Most of the island's economy is based on tourism, centered primarily in resort areas on the western coast of the island in the North Kona and South Kohala districts. More recently, Hawaiʻi Island has become a focus for sustainable tourism.[ citation needed ]
Diversified agriculture is a growing sector of the economy. Major crops include macadamia nuts, papaya, flowers, tropical and temperate vegetables, and coffee beans. Only coffee grown in the Kona District of this island may be branded Kona coffee. The island's orchid agriculture is the largest in the state, and resulted in the unofficial nickname "The Orchid Isle". The island is home to one of the United States' largest cattle ranches: Parker Ranch, on 175,000 acres (708 km2) in Waimea. The island is also known for astronomy, with numerous telescopes operated on the summit of Mauna Kea, where atmospheric clarity is excellent and there is little light pollution.[ citation needed ]
NELHA (Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority), a 675-acre (273 ha) state developed site, is a green economic development ocean science and technology park on the west side of the island. It provides resources and facilities for energy and ocean-related research, education, and commercial activities in an environmentally sound and culturally sensitive manner. Business tenants on this coastal site include microalgae farms, aquaculture, solar technology and marine biotech. Tenants have access to three sets of pipelines delivering deep-sea water from a depth of up to 3,000 feet (910 m), as well as pristine sea surface water and almost constant sunshine. A 2012 study by the University of Hawaiʻi Economic Research Organization (UHERO) found the total economic impact of activities at NELHA was $87.7 million and created 583 jobs.
According to the county's 2010 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, [ citation needed ]the top employers in the county are:
|#||Employer||# of Employees|
|1||State of Hawaiʻi||8,115|
|3||United States Government||1,364|
|4||Hilton Waikoloa Village||984|
|6||KTA Super Stores||800|
|7||Mauna Loa Resort||685|
|8||The Fairmont Orchid||577|
|9||Four Seasons Resort Hualālai||562|
|10||Hāpuna Beach Prince Hotel||487|
Three routes connect the two major towns, Hilo on the east coast and Kailua-Kona on the west coast of the island:
There are also State highways 270 (Kawaihae – Hawi) and 180 (the "Kona coffee road", from Honalo to State highway 190), South Point Road (Highway 11 to South Point), etc.
There are presently three Hawaii Scenic Byways on the island of Hawaii:
Rental car offices are at the international airports. Taxi service is also available. Island-wide bus service is provided by the "Hele-On Bus".
Two commercial airports serve Hawaiʻi Island:
There is also:
Major commercial ports are Hilo on the east side and Kawaihae on the west side of the island. Cruise ships often stop at Kailua-Kona (90 times in 2017)and Hilo (108 times in 2017).
The island was traditionally divided into districts called moku. The names of the districts are (counter-clockwise, from the southeast): Puna, Hilo, Hāmākua, Kohala, Kona, and Kaʻū. The county government subdivides some of these to form elective districts of the county council. There are no incorporated municipalities on the island.[ citation needed ]
Hawaiʻi County is a county in the U.S. state of Hawaii in the Hawaiian Islands. It is coterminous with the Island of Hawaiʻi, often called the "Big Island" to distinguish it from the state as a whole. As of the 2010 Census the population was 185,079. The county seat is Hilo. There are no incorporated cities in Hawaiʻi County. The Hilo Micropolitan Statistical Area includes all of Hawaiʻi County. Hawaiʻi County has a mayor–council form of government. Hawaiʻi County is the largest county in the state in terms of geography.
Hilo is the largest town and census-designated place (CDP) in Hawaii County, Hawaii, United States, which encompasses the Island of Hawaiʻi. The population was 43,263 according to the 2010 census.
Kailua, also known by its post office designation Kailua-Kona to differentiate it from Kailua located on the windward side of Oʻahu island, and sometimes referred to as Kona in everyday speech, is an unincorporated city in Hawaiʻi County, Hawaii, United States, in the North Kona District of the Island of Hawaiʻi. The population was 11,975 at the 2010 census, up from 9,870 at the 2000 census. It is the center of commerce and of the tourist industry on West Hawaiʻi. The city is served by Kona International Airport, located just to the north in the adjacent Kalaoa CDP. Kailua-Kona was the closest major settlement to the epicenter of the 2006 Kiholo Bay earthquake.
The Hawaiian Islands are an archipelago of eight major islands, several atolls, numerous smaller islets, and seamounts in the North Pacific Ocean, extending some 1,500 miles from the island of Hawaiʻi in the south to northernmost Kure Atoll. Formerly the group was known to Europeans and Americans as the Sandwich Islands, a name that James Cook chose in honor of the then First Lord of the Admiralty John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich. The contemporary name is derived from the name of the largest island, Hawaii Island.
Mauna Loa is one of five volcanoes that form the Island of Hawaii in the U.S. state of Hawaiʻi in the Pacific Ocean. The largest subaerial volcano in both mass and volume, Mauna Loa has historically been considered the largest volcano on Earth, dwarfed only by Tamu Massif. It is an active shield volcano with relatively gentle slopes, with a volume estimated at approximately 18,000 cubic miles (75,000 km3), although its peak is about 125 feet (38 m) lower than that of its neighbor, Mauna Kea. Lava eruptions from Mauna Loa are silica-poor and very fluid, and they tend to be non-explosive.
Kīlauea is an active shield volcano in the Hawaiian Islands that last erupted between 1983 and 2018. Historically, Kīlauea is the most active of the five volcanoes that together form the island of Hawaiʻi. Located along the southeastern shore of the island, the volcano is between 210,000 and 280,000 years old and emerged above sea level about 100,000 years ago.
Hualālai is an active volcano on the island of Hawaiʻi in the Hawaiian Islands. It is the westernmost, third-youngest and the third-most active of the five volcanoes that form the island of Hawaiʻi, following Kīlauea and the much larger Mauna Loa. Its peak stands 8,271 feet (2,521 m) above sea level. Hualālai is estimated to have risen above sea level about 300,000 years ago. Despite maintaining a very low level of activity since its last eruption in 1801, and being unusually inactive for the last 2,000 years, Hualālai is still considered active, and is expected to erupt again some time within the next century. The relative unpreparedness of the residents in the area caused by the lull in activity would worsen the consequences of such an event.
Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park, established on August 1, 1916, is an American national park located in the U.S. state of Hawaii on the island of Hawaii. The park encompasses two active volcanoes: Kīlauea, one of the world's most active volcanoes, and Mauna Loa, the world's most massive shield volcano. The park provides scientists with insight into the birth and development of the Hawaiian Islands, and ongoing studies into the processes of volcanism. For visitors, the park offers dramatic volcanic landscapes, as well as glimpses of rare flora and fauna.
The following is an alphabetical list of articles related to the U.S. state of Hawaii:
The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) is a volcano observatory located at Uwekahuna Bluff on the rim of Kīlauea Caldera on the Island of Hawaiʻi. The observatory monitored four active Hawaiian volcanoes: Kīlauea, Mauna Loa, Hualālai, and Haleakalā. Because Kīlauea and Mauna Loa are significantly more active than Hualālai and Haleakalā, much of the observatory's research is concentrated on the former two mountains.
Route 200, known locally as Saddle Road, traverses the width of the Island of Hawaiʻi, from downtown Hilo to its junction with Hawaii Route 190 near Waimea. The road was once considered one of the most dangerous paved roads in the state, with many one-lane bridges and areas of marginally maintained pavement. Most of the road has now been repaved, and major parts have new re-alignments to modern standards. The highway is mostly one-lane in each direction, but there are two lanes on the uphill portions. The highway reaches a maximum elevation of 6,632 feet (2,021 m) and is subject to fog and low visibility. Many rental car companies used to prohibit use of their cars on Saddle Road, but now allow use of the road. The highway experiences heavy use as it provides the shortest driving route from Hilo to Kailua-Kona and access to the slopes of Mauna Loa and the Mauna Kea Observatories.
Puna is one of the 9 districts of Hawaii County on the Island of Hawaiʻi. It is located on the windward side of the island and shares borders with South Hilo district in the north and Kaʻū district in the west. With a size of just under 320,000 acres (1,300 km2) or 500 sq. miles. Puna is slightly smaller than the island of Kauaʻi.
Hāmākua is a district on the northeast coast of Hawaiʻi's Big Island, administered by the County of Hawaiʻi in the state of Hawaiʻi. It is also the name given for the coastline in the region, the "Hāmākua Coast".
The Hawaiʻi Belt Road is a modern name for the Māmalahoa Highway and consists of Hawaiʻi state Routes 11, 19, and 190 that encircle the Island of Hawaiʻi. The southern section, between Hilo and Kailua-Kona is numbered as Route 11. The section between Hilo and Waimea is Route 19. Between Waimea and Kailua-Kona, the road is split in two: the original "mauka" route and a "makai" Route 19, completed in 1975, which serves as access to the Kona and Kohala Coast resorts. In the Hawaiian language, mauka means "towards the mountain" and makai means "towards the sea". These terms are commonly used in travel directions.
The 2006 Kīholo Bay earthquake occurred on October 15 at 07:07:49 local time with a moment magnitude of 6.7 and a maximum Mercalli intensity of VIII (Severe). The shock was centered 21 kilometers (13 mi) southwest of Puakō and 21 km (13 mi) north of Kailua-Kona, Hawaiʻi, just offshore of the Kona Airport, at a depth of 29 km (18 mi). It produced several aftershocks, including one that measured a magnitude of 6.1 seven minutes after the main shock. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center measured a small, nondestructive tsunami of 4 in (100 mm) on the coast of the Big Island.
The Waiākea Mission Station was the first Christian mission on the eastern side of the Island of Hawaiʻi. Also known as the Hilo Station, the latest structure is now called Haili Church.
The 1868 Hawaii earthquake was the largest recorded in the history of Hawaiʻi island, with an estimated magnitude of 7.9 on the Richter magnitude scale and a maximum Mercalli intensity of X (Extreme). The earthquake occurred at 4 p.m. local time on April 2, 1868 and caused a landslide and tsunami that led to 77 deaths. The aftershock sequence for this event has continued up to the present day.
Kona is a moku or district on the Big Island of Hawaiʻi in the State of Hawaii, known for its Kona coffee and the location of the Ironman World Championship Triathlon. In the current system of administration of Hawaiʻi County, the moku of Kona is divided into North Kona District and South Kona District. The term "Kona" is sometimes used inaccurately to refer to its largest town, Kailua-Kona. Other towns in Kona include Kealakekua, Keauhou, Holualoa, Hōnaunau and Honalo.
Lava Flow Hazard Zones are areas designated by the United States Geological Survey for the Island of Hawaiʻi in the United States. First prepared in 1974 by Donal Mullineaux and Donald Peterson of the USGS and revised in 1992, the maps outline the qualitative hazard posed by lava flows based on the past history of lava flow activity on each of the 5 volcanoes that form the Island of Hawaiʻi. Zone 1 represents the areas that are most hazardous and Zone 9 the least hazardous.
There are 75 golf courses in Hawaii.