Hawaiian Valcanoes

It is well known that the Hawaiian Islands were formed by volcanoes. The chain of Hawaiian volcanoes is also referred to as the Emperor seamount chain. Most volcanic activity on the Earth occurs on or near tectonic plate boundaries, but the chain of Hawaiian Islands are nowhere near these areas. So how did volcanic eruptions form the islands? Hawaii is located over a “hotspot” in the Earth’s crust. This “hotspot” is constantly releasing magma from inside the Earth’s mantle through a mantle plume. The location of a mantle plume is fixed and does not move like the tectonic plates of the Earth’s crust. Because of this, as the plates on the crust move over time, a chain of island volcanoes are formed. The oldest of the Hawaiian Islands is Nihoa. It is located the furthest from the mantle plume and is approximately 7.5 million years old. The volcanoes that are closest to the plume are still active today. There are also future islands being formed by underwater volcanoes. The newest of these is Lo’ihi Seamount that is forming 3,000 feet below sea level. Here is a list of some the Hawaiian volcanoes:

Island

Volcano

Millions of Years Old

Hawaii Mauna Loa 0.1-0.5
Hawaii Kohala 0.06-0.45
Maui Haleakala 0.41-0.86
Maui West Maui 1.2-1.6
Kahoolawe Kahoolawe 1.0
Lanai Lanai 0.81-1.5
Molokai East Molokai 1.3-1.75
Molokai West Molokai 1.5-1.8
Oahu Post Errosiona l0.03-1.3
Oahu Koolau 1.8-2.6
Oahu Waianae 2.2-3.8
Kauai Koloa 1.41-1.43
Kauai Makaweli 3.5-4.1
Kauai Napali 4.4-5.7
Nihoa Nihoa 7.5
 

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