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What's so special about Hawaii's volcanoes?

Hawaii emerged from the sea millions of years ago, forged by the power of volcanoes. Today, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on Hawaii's Big Island is one of the few places in the world where visitors can come face to face with an active volcano. This once in a lifetime chance to safely explore Kilauea, one of the world's most active volcanoes, makes Hawaii a destination unlike any other.

Remember the volcanoes at your school science fair? Unlike those steep, conical peaks, Hawaii's main volcanoes are "shield" volcanoes. Shield volcanoes produce generally fluid lava flows that form gently sloping shield-like mountains. A good example is Maunaloa, the most massive mountain on earth, deceptively covering half of Hawaii's Big Island.

How many active volcanoes are on Hawaii?
There are currently three active volcanoes in Hawaii. On Hawaii's Big Island you'll find Maunaloa and Kilauea in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Maunaloa last erupted in 1984 and Kilauea has been continuously erupting since 1983. Loihi is located underwater off the southern coast of Hawaii's Big Island. Erupting since 1996, this emerging seamount may break the surface in about 250,000 years, adding a ninth island to the Hawaiian chain. Other notable volcano craters that you can hike and explore include Haleakala on Maui as well as Leahi (Diamond Head) and the National Memorial of the Pacific at Punchbowl on Oahu.

What is Hawaii Volcanoes National Park?
Today, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is Hawaii's #1 visitor attraction. This 377-square mile park on Hawaii's Big Island is a living museum where visitors can witness the power of Hawaii's volcanoes in surprisingly intimate ways. You'll feel great mana, or spiritual power, here as you hike along rocky trails and desolate deserts that in time will flourish and thrive with new life.