Hawaii is part of a 1500-mile archipelago that stretches northwest to Kure Atoll. There are 132 islands of different sizes in this archipelago. All these islands in between were born of the same hotspot that produced the Hawaiian islands. As the continental plate moved northward, the newly formed island drifts northward with it, leaving magma to be released over a different surface, forming yet another island. As the islands drift northward, they are eroded by the ocean and eventually become smaller and smaller. I learned that the four northern Hawaiian islands were connected at one point, but the forces of erosion have worked on their shores, rendering them separate islands. This same fate awaits the Big Island, and these processes have already begun on the northern coast where it is predicted that the Waipio Valley area will eventually either collapse into the ocean or become it's own island around it's extinct volcano of Kohala. Eventually, thousands, maybe millions of years from now, the islands will erode away into the ocean from which they were born.

We have been back to Hawaii a few times in the last few years. Hawaii offers several different landscapes to explore, from rainforest, to barren lava beds, to colorful beaches to glowing magma geysers gushing skyward from a magma lake.