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Waimea Canyon
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Haleakala Crater
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Haleakala Crater

Haleakala Crater

Haleakala Crater [1]

Maui, Hawaiian Islands
Earth's Natural Wonders in Australia & Oceania
Area of national park: 46 square miles (119 sq. km.)
Established as a national park: 1961
Designated a Biosphere Reserve: 1980
   

Haleakala Sunrise

Haleakala Sunrise[2]

Haleakala means 'House of the Sun' in Hawaiian. Its crater is an amazing swirl of colors and volcanic cones above the clouds. Geologists say it is likely to erupt again someday, even though it's been more than 200 years since it was last active. The summit is over 10,000 feet high, the highest point on Maui island, and the air is thin enough to cause altitude sickness if you don't take some time to acclimate yourself. I took this photo around 2002.

Haleakala is the name of the crater that forms the summit of East Maui Volcano. Maui, one of the younger islands in Hawaiian chain, began as two separate volcanoes on the ocean floor (East Maui volcano probably began its growth about 2.0 million years ago.)

Haleakala Crater, Maui, Hawaiian Islands

 

waynerzman
December 13, 2006

Early Hawaiians applied the name Haleakala ("house of the sun") to the summit area only, most likely because from the west side of the island, the sun could be seen rising up over the eastern side of the mountain. In Hawaiian folklore, the depression at the summit of Haleakala was home to the grandmother of the demigod Maui. According to the legend, Maui's grandmother helped him capture the sun and force it to slow its journey across the sky in order to lengthen the day. In modern times, Haleakala has become synonymous with the entire East Maui volcano. Hawaiian mythology is a variant of a more general Polynesian mythology. ... In Polynesian mythology, and especially in New Zealand and Hawaii, Maui is an extremely powerful god, for whom the island of Maui was named. ..

From the summit one looks down into a massive depression some 11.25 km (7 mi) across, 3.2 km (2 mi) wide, and nearly 800 m (2,600 ft) deep. The surrounding walls are steep and the interior mostly barren-looking with a scattering of volcanic cones. The volcano is officially considered active[1] and has produced numerous eruptions in the last 30,000 years. This volcanic activity has been along two rift zones, the southwest and east. These two rift zones together form an arc that extends from La Perouse Bay on the southwest, through the Haleakala Crater and to Hana, to the east. The east rift zone continues under the ocean beyond the east coast of Maui as Haleakala Ridge, making the combined rift zones one of the longest in the Hawaiian Islands chain.[3]

 

Haleakala is far smaller than many volcanic craters (calderas); there is an excellent chance that it is not extinct, but only dormant; and strictly speaking it is not of volcanic origin, beyond the fact that it exists in a volcanic mountain.
Until recently, East Maui Volcano was thought to have last erupted around 1790. Recent studies have shown that this must have been cartographer errors from maps made of the same area from the first voyages of La Perouse and Vancouver to the area. Recent advanced dating tests have shown that the last eruption was more likely to have been in the 1600's. These last flows from the southwest rift zone of Haleakala make up the large lava deposits of the Ahihi Kina`u/La Perouse Bay area of South Maui. In addition, contrary to popular belief, Haleakala "crater" is not a volcanic in origin, nor can it accurately be called a caldera (which is formed through when the summit of a volcano collapses to form a depression). Rather, scientists believe that Haleakala's "crater" was formed when the headwalls of two large erosional valleys merged at the summit of the volcano. These valleys formed the two large gaps — Ko‘olau on the north side and Kaupo on the south — to either side of the depression. Crater Lake, Oregon A caldera is a volcanic feature formed by the collapse of a volcano into itself. ... [4]

Until recently, East Maui Volcano was thought to have last erupted around 1790, based largely on comparisons of maps made during the voyages of La Perouse and George Vancouver. Recent advanced dating tests, however, have shown that the last eruption was more likely to have been in the 1600s.[2] These last flows from the southwest rift zone of Haleakala make up the large lava deposits of the Ahihi Kina`u/La Perouse Bay area of South Maui. In addition, contrary to popular belief, Haleakala "crater" is not volcanic in origin, nor can it accurately be called a caldera (which is formed through when the summit of a volcano collapses to form a depression). Rather, scientists believe that Haleakala's "crater" was formed when the headwalls of two large erosional valleys merged at the summit of the volcano. These valleys formed the two large gaps — Ko‘olau on the north side and Kaupo on the south — on either side of the depression.[4]


At higher elevations, a vast rainforest still thrives. It is here that the endangered Maui parrotbill, and other rare native birds continue to exist. The rainforest oozes down the slope like lava for 35 miles until it reaches the sea. Wildness trails wind their way alongside 400 foot waterfalls, tropical stream , and turquoise pools. On the leeward slopes, dry forest persists despite browsing pests and fire, giving way at altitude to alpine shrubland, which is the realm of the rare Hawaiian goose, the nene. Only the hardiest of shrubs survive above this height, where the rain is absorbed by the dry, porous rock. In the summer rains persist every day, and in winter every night.[5]

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References
 
1. Flickr- Haleakala Crater-Creative Commons Attribution License -retrieved 6/07/2009
2. Flickr-Haleakala Crater-Creative Commons Attribution License -retrieved 6/07/2009
3. Wikipedia-Haleakala Crater-retrieved 6/07/2009
4. Nationmaster-Haleakala Crater-retrieved 6/07/2009
5. 1,001 Natural Wonders You Must See Before You Die 2005 Michael Bright p. 796-retrieved 6/07/2009
 
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