Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park
Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park, established in 1916, is a United States National Park located in the U.S. State of Hawaiʻi on the island of Hawaiʻi. It encompasses two active volcanoes: Kīlauea, one of the world's most active volcanoes, and Mauna Loa, the world's most massive subaerial volcano. The park gives scientists insight into the birth of the Hawaiian Islands and ongoing studies into the processes of vulcanism. For visitors, the park offers dramatic volcanic landscapes as well as glimpses of rare flora and fauna. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is located on the island of Hawaii, at the young end of the 1700-mile stretch of islands. The islands are fairly young, from less than 1 million years at the youngest to nearly 6 million at the oldest; new formations continue to be formed today. The islands are located on the top of the Pacific plate, the largest tectonic plate on earth. Due to sea floor spreading, the plate continues to expand which has directly influenced the growth of the islands. The two main active volcanoes in the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park are Mauna Loa and Kilauea. Mauna Loa has an elevation of 13,680 feetand a 70-milelong, 30-milewide shield-shaped dome. It is the world's largest active volcano, encompassing 10,000 cubic miles. Mauna Loa has come to be the largest mountain on earth because of the multiple formations that took place during the Pleistocene Epoch. The Ninole Formation, which has left the oldest exposed lavas make up the core of the mountain. As a result, there are deep canyons that were made by lavas during the erosional period preceding the Kahuki Formation . During this second stage of formations, lava partially filled the canyons and built up the slopes of Mauna Loa. The third formation, Ka’u, created younger lavas that covered the older lavas. Through these three formation periods, Mauna Loa reached its current height at the end of the Pleistocene Epoch.