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Mokupuni o Hawai‘i
|Location||North Pacific Ocean|
|Coordinates||20°54′00″N156°36′00″W / 20.90000°N 156.60000°W Coordinates: 20°54′00″N156°36′00″W / 20.90000°N 156.60000°W|
|Unincorporated territory||Midway Atoll|
The Hawaiian Islands (Hawaiian : Nā Mokupuni o Hawai‘i) are an archipelago of eight major islands, several atolls, and numerous smaller islets in the North Pacific Ocean, extending some 1,500 miles (2,400 kilometers) 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 4th Earl of Sandwich, the then First Lord of the Admiralty. Cook came across the islands by chance when crossing the Pacific Ocean on his Third Voyage in 1778, on board HMS Resolution; he was later killed on the islands on a return visit. The contemporary name of the islands, dating from the 1840s, is derived from the name of the largest island, Hawaiʻi Island.
Hawaii sits on the Pacific Plate and is the only U.S. state that is not geographically connected to North America. It is part of the Polynesia subregion of Oceania. The state of Hawaii occupies the archipelago almost in its entirety (including the mostly uninhabited Northwestern Hawaiian Islands), with the sole exception of Midway Atoll, which also belongs to the United States, as one of its unincorporated territories within the United States Minor Outlying Islands.
Hawaii is the exposed peaks of a great undersea mountain range known as the Hawaiian–Emperor seamount chain, formed by volcanic activity over a hotspot in the Earth's mantle. The islands are about 1,860 miles (3,000 km) from the nearest continent.
The date of the first settlements of the Hawaiian Islands is a topic of continuing debate.  Archaeological evidence seems to indicate a settlement as early as 124 AD. 
Captain James Cook, RN, visited the islands on January 18, 1778,  and named them the "Sandwich Islands" in honor of The 4th Earl of Sandwich, who as the First Lord of the Admiralty was one of his sponsors.  This name was in use until the 1840s, when the local name "Hawaii" gradually began to take precedence. 
The Hawaiian Islands have a total land area of 6,423.4 square miles (16,636.5 km2). Except for Midway, which is an unincorporated territory of the United States, these islands and islets are administered as Hawaii—the 50th state of the United States. 
(as of 2020)
|Density||Highest point||Elevation||Age (Ma) ||Location|
|Hawaiʻi ||The Big Island||sq mi (10,432.5 km2)4,028.0||200,629||mi (17.7407/km2)45.948/sq||Mauna Kea||ft (4,205 m)13,796||0.4||19°34′N155°30′W / 19.567°N 155.500°W|
|Maui ||The Valley Isle||sq mi (1,883.4 km2)727.2||164,221||mi (76.692/km2)198.630/sq||Haleakalā||ft (3,055 m)10,023||1.3–0.8||20°48′N156°20′W / 20.800°N 156.333°W|
|Oʻahu ||The Gathering Place||sq mi (1,545.4 km2)596.7||1,016,508||mi (616.78/km2)1,597.46/sq||Mount Kaʻala||ft (1,220 m)4,003||3.7–2.6||21°28′N157°59′W / 21.467°N 157.983°W|
|Kauaʻi ||The Garden Isle||sq mi (1,430.5 km2)552.3||73,298||mi (46.783/km2)121.168/sq||Kawaikini||ft (1,598 m)5,243||5.1||22°05′N159°30′W / 22.083°N 159.500°W|
|Molokaʻi ||The Friendly Isle||sq mi (673.4 km2)260.0||7,345||mi (10.9074/km2)28.250/sq||Kamakou||ft (1,512 m)4,961||1.9–1.8||21°08′N157°02′W / 21.133°N 157.033°W|
|Lānaʻi ||The Pineapple Isle||sq mi (363.9 km2)140.5||3,367||mi (8.615/km2)22.313/sq||Lānaʻihale||ft (1,026 m)3,366||1.3||20°50′N156°56′W / 20.833°N 156.933°W|
|Niʻihau ||The Forbidden Isle||sq mi (180.0 km2)69.5||84||mi (0.944/km2)2.45/sq||Mount Pānīʻau||ft (381 m)1,250||4.9||21°54′N160°10′W / 21.900°N 160.167°W|
|Kahoʻolawe ||The Target Isle||sq mi (115.5 km2)44.6||0||0/sq mi (0/km2)||Puʻu Moaulanui||ft (452 m)1,483||1.0||20°33′N156°36′W / 20.550°N 156.600°W|
The eight major islands of Hawaii (Windward Islands) are listed above. All except Kaho'olawe are inhabited. 
The state of Hawaii counts 137 "islands" in the Hawaiian chain.  This number includes all minor islands (small islands), islets (even smaller islands) offshore of the major islands (listed above) and individual islets in each atoll. These are just a few:
Partial islands, atolls, reefs (west of Niʻihau are uninhabited except Midway Atoll) form the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands (Leeward Islands):
This chain of islands, or archipelago, developed as the Pacific Plate slowly moved northwestward over a hotspot in the Earth's mantle at a rate of approximately 32 miles (51 km) per million years. Thus, the southeast island is volcanically active, whereas the islands on the northwest end of the archipelago are older and typically smaller, due to longer exposure to erosion. The age of the archipelago has been estimated using potassium-argon dating methods.  From this study and others,   it is estimated that the northwesternmost island, Kure Atoll, is the oldest at approximately 28 million years (Ma); while the southeasternmost island, Hawaiʻi, is approximately 0.4 Ma (400,000 years). The only active volcanism in the last 200 years has been on the southeastern island, Hawaiʻi, and on the submerged but growing volcano to the extreme southeast, Kamaʻehuakanaloa (formerly Loʻihi). The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory of the USGS documents recent volcanic activity and provides images and interpretations of the volcanism. Kīlauea had been erupting nearly continuously since 1983 when it stopped August 2018.
Almost all of the magma of the hotspot has the composition of basalt, and so the Hawaiian volcanoes are composed almost entirely of this igneous rock. There is very little coarser-grained gabbro and diabase. Nephelinite is exposed on the islands but is extremely rare. The majority of eruptions in Hawaiʻi are Hawaiian-type eruptions because basaltic magma is relatively fluid compared with magmas typically involved in more explosive eruptions, such as the andesitic magmas that produce some of the spectacular and dangerous eruptions around the margins of the Pacific basin.
Hawaiʻi island (the Big Island) is the biggest and youngest island in the chain, built from five volcanoes. Mauna Loa, taking up over half of the Big Island, is the largest shield volcano on the Earth. The measurement from sea level to summit is more than 2.5 miles (4 km), from sea level to sea floor about 3.1 miles (5 km). 
The Hawaiian Islands have many earthquakes, generally caused by volcanic activity. Most of the early earthquake monitoring took place in Hilo, by missionaries Titus Coan, Sarah J. Lyman and her family. Between 1833 and 1896, approximately 4 or 5 earthquakes were reported per year. 
Hawaii accounted for 7.3% of the United States' reported earthquakes with a magnitude 3.5 or greater from 1974 to 2003, with a total 1533 earthquakes. Hawaii ranked as the state with the third most earthquakes over this time period, after Alaska and California. 
On October 15, 2006, there was an earthquake with a magnitude of 6.7 off the northwest coast of the island of Hawaii, near the Kona area of the big island. The initial earthquake was followed approximately five minutes later by a magnitude 5.7 aftershock. Minor-to-moderate damage was reported on most of the Big Island. Several major roadways became impassable from rock slides, and effects were felt as far away as Honolulu, Oahu, nearly 150 miles (240 km) from the epicenter. Power outages lasted for several hours to days. Several water mains ruptured. No deaths or life-threatening injuries were reported.
On May 4, 2018, there was a 6.9 earthquake in the zone of volcanic activity from Kīlauea.
Earthquakes are monitored by the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory run by the USGS.
The Hawaiian Islands are subject to tsunamis, great waves that strike the shore. Tsunamis are most often caused by earthquakes somewhere in the Pacific. The waves produced by the earthquakes travel at speeds of 400–500 miles per hour (600–800 km/h) and can affect coastal regions thousands of miles (kilometers) away.
Tsunamis may also originate from the Hawaiian Islands. Explosive volcanic activity can cause tsunamis. The island of Molokaʻi had a catastrophic collapse or debris avalanche over a million years ago; this underwater landslide likely caused tsunamis. The Hilina Slump on the island of Hawaiʻi is another potential place for a large landslide and resulting tsunami.
The city of Hilo on the Big Island has been most affected by tsunamis, where the in-rushing water is accentuated by the shape of Hilo Bay. Coastal cities have tsunami warning sirens.
A tsunami resulting from an earthquake in Chile hit the islands on February 27, 2010. It was relatively minor, but local emergency management officials utilized the latest technology and ordered evacuations in preparation for a possible major event. The Governor declared it a "good drill" for the next major event.
A tsunami resulting from an earthquake in Japan hit the islands on March 11, 2011. It was relatively minor, but local officials ordered evacuations in preparation for a possible major event. The tsunami caused about $30.1 million in damages. 
There is no definitive date for the Polynesian discovery of Hawaii . However, high-precision radiocarbon dating in Hawaii using chronometric hygiene analysis, and taxonomic identification selection of samples, puts the initial such settlement of the Hawaiian Islands sometime between 1219 and 1266 A.D., originating from earlier settlements first established in the Society Islands around 1025 to 1120 A.D., and in the Marquesas Islands sometime between 1100 and 1200 A.D.
An expedition led by British explorer James Cook is usually considered to be the first group of Europeans to arrive in the Hawaiian Islands, which they did in 1778. However, Spanish historians and some other researchers state that the Spanish captain Ruy López de Villalobos was the first European to see the islands in 1542. The Spanish named these islands "Isla de Mesa, de los Monjes y Desgraciada" (1542), being on the route linking the Philippines with Mexico across the Pacific Ocean, between the ports of Acapulco and Manila, which were both part of New Spain. Within five years after Cook's arrival, European military technology helped Kamehameha I, ruler of the island of Hawaii, conquer and unify the islands for the first time, establishing the Kingdom of Hawaii in 1795. The kingdom was prosperous and important for its agriculture and strategic location in the Pacific.
American immigration, led by Protestant missionaries, and Native Hawaiian outmigration, mostly on whaling ships, began almost immediately after Cook's arrival. Americans set up plantations to grow sugar. Their methods of plantation farming required substantial labor. Waves of permanent immigrants came from Japan, China, and the Philippines to work in the fields. The government of Japan organized and gave special protection to its people, who comprised about 25 percent of the Hawaiian population by 1896. The Hawaiian monarchy encouraged this multi-ethnic society, initially establishing a constitutional monarchy in 1840 that promised equal voting rights regardless of race, gender, or wealth.
The population of Native Hawaiians in Hawaii declined from an unknown number prior to 1778 (commonly estimated to be around 300,000), to around 142,000 in the 1820s based on the first census conducted by American missionaries, 82,203 in the 1850 Hawaiian Kingdom census, 40,622 in the last Hawaiian Kingdom census of 1890, 39,504 in the only census by the Republic of Hawaii in 1896, and 37,656 in the first census conducted by the United States in 1900 after the annexation of Hawaii to the United States in 1898. Since Hawaii has joined the United States the Native Hawaiian population in Hawaii has increased with every census to 289,970 in 2010.
Americans within the kingdom government rewrote the constitution, severely curtailing the power of King "David" Kalākaua, and disenfranchising the rights of most Native Hawaiians and Asian citizens to vote, through excessively high property and income requirements. This gave a sizeable advantage to plantation owners. Queen Liliʻuokalani attempted to restore royal powers in 1893 but was placed under house arrest by businessmen with help from the United States military. Against the Queen's wishes, the Republic of Hawaii was formed for a short time. This government agreed on behalf of Hawaii to join the United States in 1898 as the Territory of Hawaii. In 1959, the islands became the state of Hawaii.
The islands are home to a multitude of endemic species. Since human settlement, first by Polynesians, non native trees, plants, and animals were introduced. These included species such as rats and pigs, that have preyed on native birds and invertebrates that initially evolved in the absence of such predators. The growing population of humans has also led to deforestation, forest degradation, treeless grasslands, and environmental degradation. As a result, many species which depended on forest habitats and food became extinct—with many current species facing extinction. As humans cleared land for farming, monocultural crop production replaced multi-species systems.[ citation needed ]
The arrival of the Europeans had a more significant impact, with the promotion of large-scale single-species export agriculture and livestock grazing. This led to increased clearing of forests, and the development of towns, adding many more species to the list of extinct animals of the Hawaiian Islands. As of 2009 [update] , many of the remaining endemic species are considered endangered. 
On June 15, 2006, President George W. Bush issued a public proclamation creating Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument under the Antiquities Act of 1906. The Monument encompasses the northwestern Hawaiian Islands and surrounding waters, forming the largest  marine wildlife reserve in the world. In August 2010, UNESCO's World Heritage Committee added Papahānaumokuākea to its list of World Heritage Sites.    On August 26, 2016, President Barack Obama greatly expanded Papahānaumokuākea, quadrupling it from its original size.   
The Hawaiian Islands are tropical but experience many different climates, depending on altitude and surroundings.  The islands receive most rainfall from the trade winds on their north and east flanks (the windward side) as a result of orographic precipitation.  Coastal areas in general and especially the south and west flanks, or leeward sides, tend to be drier. 
In general, the lowlands of Hawaiian Islands receive most of their precipitation during the winter months (October to April).  Drier conditions generally prevail from May to September.  The tropical storms, and occasional hurricanes, tend to occur from July through November. 
During the summer months the average temperature is about 84 °F (29 °C), in the winter months it is approximately 79 °F (26 °C). As the temperature is relatively constant over the year the probability of dangerous thunderstorms is approximately low. 
Midway Atoll is a 2.4 sq mi (6.2 km2) atoll in the North Pacific Ocean. Midway Atoll is an insular area of the United States and is an unorganized and unincorporated territory. The largest island is Sand Island, which has housing and an airstrip. Immediately to the east of Sand Island across the narrow Brooks Channel is Eastern Island, which is uninhabited and no longer has any facilities. Forming a rough, incomplete circle around the two main islands and creating Midway Lagoon is Spit Island, a narrow reef.
Hawaii is the largest island in the United States, located in the state of Hawaii. It is the southeasternmost of the Hawaiian Islands, a chain of volcanic islands in the North Pacific Ocean. With an area of 4,028 square miles (10,430 km2), it has 63% of the Hawaiian archipelago's combined landmass. However, it has only 13% of Hawaiʻi's population. The island of Hawaiʻi is the third largest island in Polynesia, behind the two main islands of New Zealand.
The South Sandwich Islands is a chain of uninhabited volcanic islands in the southern Atlantic Ocean. They are administered as part of the British Overseas Territory of South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands. The chain lies in the Subantarctic region, about 700 kilometres (430 mi) southeast of South Georgia and 1,700 kilometres (1,100 mi) northeast from the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula.
Hilo is a census-designated place (CDP) and the largest settlement in Hawaii County, Hawaii, United States, which encompasses the Island of Hawaiʻi. The population was 44,186 according to the 2020 census. It is the fourth-largest settlement in the state of Hawaii and largest settlement in the state outside of Oahu.
Mauna Loa is one of five volcanoes that form the Island of Hawaii in the U.S. state of Hawaii 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 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 tend to be non-explosive.
The Ring of Fire is a region around much of the rim of the Pacific Ocean where many volcanic eruptions and earthquakes occur. The Ring of Fire is a horseshoe-shaped belt about 40,000 km (25,000 mi) long and up to about 500 km (310 mi) wide.
Kure Atoll or Ocean Island is an atoll in the Pacific Ocean 48 nautical miles west-northwest of Midway Atoll in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands at 28°25′N178°20′W. A coral ring six miles across encloses a lagoon several meters deep. The only land of significant size is called Green Island and is a habitat for hundreds of thousands of seabirds. A short, unused and unmaintained runway and a portion of one building, both from a former United States Coast Guard LORAN station, are located on the island. Politically, it is part of Hawaii, although separated from the rest of the state by Midway, which is a separate unorganized territory. Green Island, in addition to being the nesting grounds for tens of thousands of seabirds, has recorded several vagrant terrestrial birds, including snow bunting, eyebrowed thrush, brambling, olive-backed pipit, black kite, Steller's sea eagle and Chinese sparrowhawk. It is currently managed as a Wildlife Bird Sanctuary by the State of Hawaii's Department of Land and Natural Resource–Division of Forestry and Wildlife as one of the co-trustees of Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument with support from the Kure Atoll Conservancy.
Kīlauea is an active shield volcano in the Hawaiian Islands. Located along the southeastern shore of the Big Island of Hawaiʻi, the volcano is between 210,000 and 280,000 years old and emerged above sea level about 100,000 years ago. Historically, it is the most active of the five volcanoes that together form Hawaii island. Kīlauea is also one of the most active volcanoes on Earth, and the most recent and currently ongoing eruption began on September 29, 2021, when several vents began to erupt lava within Halemaʻumaʻu, a pit crater in the volcano's summit caldera.
The Gardner Pinnacles are two barren rock outcrops surrounded by a reef and located in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands at 24°59′56″N167°59′58″W.
Nihoa, also known as Bird Island or Moku Manu, is the tallest of ten islands and atolls in the uninhabited Northwestern Hawaiian Islands (NWHI). The island is located at the southern end of the NWHI chain, 296 km (160 nmi) southeast of Necker Island. Nihoa is the closest NWHI in proximity to the eight main windward Hawaiian Islands at approximately 240 km (130 nmi) northwest of the island of Kauaʻi. The island has two peaks, 272 m (892 ft) Miller's Peak in the west, and 259 m (850 ft) Tanager Peak in the east. Nihoa's area is about 171 acres (0.69 km2) and is surrounded by a 142,000-acre (57,000 ha) coral reef. Its jagged outline gives the island its name, Nīhoa, which is Hawaiian for "tooth".
The Northwestern Hawaiian Islands or Leeward Hawaiian Islands are a series of islands and atolls in the Hawaiian island chain located northwest of the islands of Kauai and Niihau. Politically, they are all part of Honolulu County in the U.S. state of Hawaii, except Midway Atoll, which is a territory distinct from the State of Hawaii, and grouped as one of the United States Minor Outlying Islands. The United States Census Bureau defines this area, except Midway, as Census Tract 114.98 of Honolulu County. Its total land area is 3.1075 square miles (8.048 km2). All the islands except Nihoa are north of the Tropic of Cancer, making them the only islands in Hawaii that lie outside the tropics.
The Hawaiian–Emperor seamount chain is a mostly undersea mountain range in the Pacific Ocean that reaches above sea level in Hawaii. It is composed of the Hawaiian ridge, consisting of the islands of the Hawaiian chain northwest to Kure Atoll, and the Emperor Seamounts: together they form a vast underwater mountain region of islands and intervening seamounts, atolls, shallows, banks and reefs along a line trending southeast to northwest beneath the northern Pacific Ocean. The seamount chain, containing over 80 identified undersea volcanoes, stretches about 6,200 km (3,900 mi) from the Aleutian Trench in the far northwest Pacific to the Kamaʻehuakanaloa Seamount, the youngest volcano in the chain, which lies about 35 kilometres (22 mi) southeast of the Island of Hawaiʻi.
The Cumbre Vieja is an active volcanic ridge on the island of La Palma in the Canary Islands, Spain. The spine of Cumbre Vieja trends in an approximate north–south direction, comprising the southern half of La Palma, with both summit ridge and flanks pockmarked by dozens of craters and cones. The latest eruption began on 19 September 2021 in a forested area of Las Manchas locality known as Cabeza de Vaca. Voluminous lava flows quickly reached populated areas downslope, fanning out across settlements and banana plantations, destroying thousands of buildings and ultimately pouring over steep cliffs into the ocean to enlarge the island at several locations. The volcano went quiet on 13 December 2021, and on 25 December 2021, the local government declared the eruption to be over.
The Hilina Slump, on the south flank of the Kīlauea Volcano on the southeast coast of the Big Island of Hawaiʻi, is the most notable of several landslides that ring each of the Hawaiian Islands. These landslides are the means by which material deposited at a volcano's vents are transferred downward and seaward, eventually spilling onto the seabed to broaden the island.
The 2006 Kīholo Bay earthquake occurred on October 15 at 07:07:49 local time with a 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 38.2 km (23.7 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 nondestructive tsunami of 4 in (100 mm) on the coast of the Big Island.
The Hawaiʻi hotspot is a volcanic hotspot located near the namesake Hawaiian Islands, in the northern Pacific Ocean. One of the best known and intensively studied hotspots in the world, the Hawaii plume is responsible for the creation of the Hawaiian–Emperor seamount chain, a 6,200-kilometer (3,900 mi) mostly undersea volcanic mountain range. Four of these volcanoes are active, two are dormant; more than 123 are extinct, most now preserved as atolls or seamounts. The chain extends from south of the island of Hawaiʻi to the edge of the Aleutian Trench, near the eastern coast of Russia.
On May 4, 2018, an earthquake with a magnitude of Mw 6.9 struck Hawaii island in the Hawaii archipelago at around 12:33 p.m. local time. The earthquake's epicenter was near the south flank of Kīlauea, which has been the site of seismic and volcanic activity since late April of that year. According to the United States Geological Survey the quake was related to the new lava outbreaks at the volcano, and it resulted in the Hilina Slump moving about two feet. It was the largest earthquake to affect Hawaii since the 1975 earthquake, which affected the same region, killing two people and injuring another 28.
An earthquake struck near the Hawaiian island of Lanai on February 19, at 10:11 pm HST with an estimated magnitude of 7.5 on the moment magnitude scale (Mw ). It remains one of the largest seismic event to hit the Hawaiian Islands since the 1868 Ka‘ū earthquake, with its effects being felt throughout the entire archipelago. It caused severe damage on the islands of Lanai, Molokai and Maui. A tsunami may have been generated however there are speculations if it had actually happened. Despite the size of the quake and the extent of damage, there were no deaths.