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Hawaiʻi

satellite image of the island of Hawaii

Landsat satellite image from NASA

The island of Hawaiʻi, known as the Big Island, is the largest in the Hawaiian Chain. Greater than twice the area of the remaining main eight Hawaiian Islands combined, Hawaiʻi encompasses 10,432 sq km (4028 sq mi). The island was formed from five major volcanoes. The volcano of Mauna Kea is the tallest mountain on Earth, reaching nearly 9 km (5.5 mi) from the seafloor to the summit. Although shorter, Mauna Loa's massive size makes it the largest volcano in the world. Kīlauea, long thought to be part of Mauna Loa, is the only currently active subaerial volcano in the Hawaiian Island chain and is home to Pele, the Hawaiian volcano goddess.

Live coral growth on the Big Island is typically limited to scattered aggregate corals on volcanic boulders and pavement. The USGS is working with the National Park Service on the Kona (west) coast of Hawaiʻi to evaluate the geologic resources at Puʻukoholā Heiau National Historic Site, Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Park, and at Puʻuhonua O Hōnaunau (City of Refuge) National Historical Park, including benthic habitat mapping of the nearshore coral ecosystem and nutrient flux from groundwater sources. Click on any of the documents below to learn more about these projects:

View click-and-zoom panorama #1 of Puʻukoholā Heiau National Historic Site (1.9 Mb)

View click-and-zoom panorama #2 of Puʻukoholā Heiau National Historic Site (2.1 Mb)

View click-and-zoom panorama of Puʻuhonua O Hōnaunau National Historical Park (1.9 Mb)

U.S. Geological Survey Open File Report 2005-1069
Coastal change rates and patterns: Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Park

U.S. Geological Survey Open File Report 2005-1161
Coastal circulation and water column properties along Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Park, Hawaiʻi: Part I — Measurements of waves, currents, temperature, salinity and turbidity: April-October 2004

U.S. Geological Survey Open File Report 2008-1190
Geologic Resource Evaluation of Puʻukoholā Heiau National Historic Site, Hawaiʻi: Part I — Geology and coastal landforms

U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2006-5254
Geologic Resource Evaluation of Puʻukoholā Heiau National Historic Site, Hawaiʻi: Part II — Benthic habitat mapping

U.S. Geological Survey Open File Report 2008-1191
Geologic Resource Evaluation of Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Park, Hawaiʻi: Geology and coastal landforms

U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2006-5256
Benthic habitats and offshore geological resources of Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Park, Hawaiʻi

U.S. Geological Survey Open File Report 2008-1192
Geologic Resource Evaluation of Puʻuhonua O Hōnaunau National Historical Park, Hawaiʻi: Part I — Geology and coastal landforms

U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2006-5258
Geologic Resource Evaluation of Puʻuhonua O Hōnaunau National Historical Park, Hawaiʻi: Part II — Benthic habitat mapping

U.S. Geological Survey Open File Report 2007-1310
Submarine ground water discharge and fate along the coast of Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Park, Hawaiʻi: Part I — Time-series measurements of currents, waves, salinity and temperature: November, 2005-July, 2006

U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2008-5128
Submarine ground water discharge and fate along the coast of Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Park, Island of Hawaiʻi: Part II — Spatial and temporal variations in salinity, radium-isotope activity, and nutrient concentrations in coastal waters, December 2003-April 2006

U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2010-5081
Submarine groundwater discharge and fate along the coast of Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Park, Island of Hawaiʻi: Part III — spatial and temporal patterns in nearshore waters and coastal groundwater plumes, December 2003-April 2006

U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2012-1264
Coastal circulation and sediment dynamics in Pelekane and Kawaihae Bays, Hawaii--measurements of waves, current, temperature, salinity, turbidity, and geochronology: November 2010-March 2011

Other selected works

DeMartini, E., Jokiel, P., Beets, J., Stender, Y., Storlazzi, C., Minton, D., and Conklin, E., 2013, Terrigenous sediment impact on coral recruitment and growth affects the use of coral habitat by recruit parrotfishes (F. Scaridae): Journal of Coastal Conservation, v. 17, i. 3, p. 417-429, doi:10.1007/s11852-013-0247-2.

Gibbs, A.E., and Cochran, S.A., 2011, Seafloor morphology and coral habitat variability in a volcanic environment; Kaloko-Honokōhau National Park, Hawaiʻi, USA, in Harris, P.T., and Baker, E.K., eds., Seafloor geomorphology as a benthic habitat; GeoHab atlas of seafloor geomorphic features and benthic habitats, Elsevier [Elsevier Insights e-book series], p. 409-423.

Knee, K.L., Street, J.H., Grossman, E.E., Boehm, A.B., and Paytan, A., 2010, Nutrient inputs to the coastal ocean from submarine groundwater discharge in a groundwater-dominated system; relation to land use (Kona coast, Hawaii, U.S.A.): Limnology and Oceanography, v. 55, no. 3, p. 1105-1122, doi:10.4319/lo.2010.55.3.1105.

Street, J.H., Knee, K.L., Grossman, E.E., and Paytan, A., 2008, Submarine groundwater discharge and nutrient addition to the coastal zone and coral reefs of leeward Hawaiʻi: Marine Chemistry, v. 109, p. 355-376, doi:10.1016/j.marchem.2007.08.009.

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