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Geography, Hawaii Facts
About half of Alabama
Hawaii, the only state not part of the
mainland of North America, and the only U.S. state located in the tropics, is
located approximately 2100 miles southwest of San Francisco.
The state is comprised of eight major islands: Hawaii, Maui, Kahoolawe, Molokai,
Lanai, Oahu, Kauai, and Niiahu. All of the islands were formed by volcanoes that
rose from the ocean floor.
The island of Hawaii, often called “Big Island” is the largest and youngest of
the eight islands and covers 4,038 square miles. Five huge volcanoes including,
Mauna Loa and Kilauea, two of the world’s most active volcanoes, dominate its
land area. These volcanoes are also the two highest points in the state.
Cliffs rim the northeastern and southeastern coasts of the Big Island. Hilo, the
island’s largest city and chief port, is located in the northeast. Ka Lae or
“South Cape” is the southern most point of the United States.
Seventy-five percent of the people in the state of Hawaii live on the island of
Oahu. The island consists of two mountain ranges separated by a wide valley.
This valley is a fertile farming area in which pineapple and sugarcane
plantations thrive. The capital of Hawaii, Honolulu, is located here.
Pearl Harbor is on the southern coast of Oahu. It is one of the largest natural
harbors in the Pacific and home to the U.S. Pacific Fleet.
Kauai, also known as the “Garden Island,” is circular in shape with the 5,170
foot Kawaikini Peak in the center. It is a lush island that contains one of the
world’s rainiest spots. Mount Waialeale receives 460 inches of rain annually.
Sugarcane and pineapple thrive on Kauai as well as on the island of Maui. Maui,
the state’s second largest island, is made up of two mountain masses connected
by an isthmus. The island is a popular spot for tourists.
Kahoolawe, the smallest of the eight islands, is uninhabited. Its land is low
and is not very fertile. At one time it served as a prison and military target
range. The island of Niihau, just west of Kauai, has been privately owned since
1864 when it was purchased from the Hawaiian kingdom by an American family. It
is comprised of arid lowland and is suitable for cattle grazing.
Lanai is the smallest of the eight islands and is dependent on pineapple
production and tourism for most of its income and employment. Lanai City, the
island’s main settlement, is a unique village of quaint plantation houses
originally built by the Dole Pineapple Company.
Molokai Island lies between Oahu and Maui islands. Molokai is generally
mountainous. A rocky mountain wall separates the north coast from the rest of
the island. The soil is unfit for sugarcane production, but cattle ranches and
pineapple plantations have been established here. Agricultural products are
shipped out of the island’s chief port, Kaunakakai, to Honolulu for export.
Geography Information from
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