US GEOLOGICAL SURVEY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY US GEOLOGICAL SURVEY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Hawaiian islands. Space shuttle image of the Hawaiian island chain. The eight main islands are (from lower left to upper right): Niihau, Kauai, Oahu, Molokai, Lanai, Maui, Kahoolawe, and Hawaii. These eight islands stretch in an arc for about 700 kilometres from west (left) to east. They cover an area of about 28,000 square kilometres, whilst the highest point is Mauna Kea on Hawaii island at 4205 metres. The Hawaiian islands were formed successively by volcanic activity as a plate of the Earth's crust drifted over a "hot spot" in the molten mantle beneath it. This activity continues to increase the size of Hawaii island.
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