Big Island: The largest island in the Hawaiian chain
Today’s Video of the Day comes from the European Space Agency’s Earth From Space series and features an in-depth look at Hawai’i, also known as Big Island, the largest island in the Hawaiian chain.
The Hawaiian islands originally formed from a hot spot in the central Pacific Ocean where magma leaked out as the Pacific tectonic plate moved northwest. Big Island is not only the largest island but also the youngest island in the Hawaiian chain, located at its southeastern tip. As such, the island is very volcanically active.
Big Island was built from five different shield volcanoes, three of which are active: Mauna Loa, Kilauea, and Hualalai. Kohala is extinct while Mauna Kea is dormant. Because several are still active, the island continues to grow. Between 1983 and 2002, lava flow added 543 acres to Hawai’i.
On April 2nd, 1868, an earth with a magnitude between 7.2 and 7.9 struck the southeast coast of the island and became the most destructive earthquake in Hawaii’s history. The quake caused a tsunami that killed more than 46 people, along with a landslide that killed 31.
Then, in November 1975, a 7.2 earthquake occurred, caused by a 37 mile-wide piece of the island dropping off and sliding into the ocean. Big Island was also severely damaged by the tsunamis caused by an Alaskan earthquake in 1946 and a Chilean earthquake in 1960.
As of 2010, the population of Hawai’i was 185,079 people.
On the center right side of the image, a plume of steam is visible along the coast of the island. There is where lava from a fissure in the nearby lava lake flows into the ocean.
The images were taken by the Sentinel-2A satellite on October 27th, 2016.
By Rory Arnold, Earth.com Staff Writer