Mauna Kea

Mauna Kea

Overview
Mauna Kea (ˌmɔːnə ˈkeɪ.ə or ˌmaʊnə ˈkeɪ.ə, ˈmɔunə ˈkɛjə) is a volcano
Volcano
2. Bedrock3. Conduit 4. Base5. Sill6. Dike7. Layers of ash emitted by the volcano8. Flank| 9. Layers of lava emitted by the volcano10. Throat11. Parasitic cone12. Lava flow13. Vent14. Crater15...

 on the island of Hawaii
Hawaii (island)
The Island of Hawaii, also called the Big Island or Hawaii Island , is a volcanic island in the North Pacific Ocean...

. Standing 4205 m (13,796 ft) above sea level, its peak is the highest point in the state of Hawaii. However, much of the mountain is under water; when measured from its oceanic base, Mauna Kea is over 10000 m (32,808.4 ft) tall—significantly taller than Mount Everest
Mount Everest
Mount Everest is the world's highest mountain, with a peak at above sea level. It is located in the Mahalangur section of the Himalayas. The international boundary runs across the precise summit point...

.
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Encyclopedia
Mauna Kea (ˌmɔːnə ˈkeɪ.ə or ˌmaʊnə ˈkeɪ.ə, ˈmɔunə ˈkɛjə) is a volcano
Volcano
2. Bedrock3. Conduit 4. Base5. Sill6. Dike7. Layers of ash emitted by the volcano8. Flank| 9. Layers of lava emitted by the volcano10. Throat11. Parasitic cone12. Lava flow13. Vent14. Crater15...

 on the island of Hawaii
Hawaii (island)
The Island of Hawaii, also called the Big Island or Hawaii Island , is a volcanic island in the North Pacific Ocean...

. Standing 4205 m (13,796 ft) above sea level, its peak is the highest point in the state of Hawaii. However, much of the mountain is under water; when measured from its oceanic base, Mauna Kea is over 10000 m (32,808.4 ft) tall—significantly taller than Mount Everest
Mount Everest
Mount Everest is the world's highest mountain, with a peak at above sea level. It is located in the Mahalangur section of the Himalayas. The international boundary runs across the precise summit point...

. Mauna Kea is about a million years old, and has thus passed the most active shield stage of life hundreds of thousands of years ago. In its current post-shield state, its lava is more viscous
Viscosity
Viscosity is a measure of the resistance of a fluid which is being deformed by either shear or tensile stress. In everyday terms , viscosity is "thickness" or "internal friction". Thus, water is "thin", having a lower viscosity, while honey is "thick", having a higher viscosity...

, resulting in a steeper profile. Late volcanism
Volcanism
Volcanism is the phenomenon connected with volcanoes and volcanic activity. It includes all phenomena resulting from and causing magma within the crust or mantle of a planet to rise through the crust and form volcanic rocks on the surface....

 has also given it a much rougher appearance than its neighboring volcanoes; contributing factors include the construction of cinder cone
Cinder cone
According to the , Cinder Cone is the proper name of 1 cinder cone in Canada and 7 cinder cones in the United States:In Canada: Cinder Cone In the United States:...

s, the decentralization of its rift zone
Rift zone
A rift zone is a feature of some volcanoes, especially the shield volcanoes of Hawaii, in which a linear series of fissures in the volcanic edifice allows lava to be erupted from the volcano's flank instead of from its summit...

s, the glaciation
Glacier
A glacier is a large persistent body of ice that forms where the accumulation of snow exceeds its ablation over many years, often centuries. At least 0.1 km² in area and 50 m thick, but often much larger, a glacier slowly deforms and flows due to stresses induced by its weight...

 on its peak, and the weathering effects of the prevailing trade wind
Trade wind
The trade winds are the prevailing pattern of easterly surface winds found in the tropics, within the lower portion of the Earth's atmosphere, in the lower section of the troposphere near the Earth's equator...

s. Mauna Kea last erupted 4,000 to 6,000 years ago. According to the USGS, as of June 2011 the current Volcanic-Alert Level was "Normal".

In Hawaiian mythology
Hawaiian mythology
Hawaiian mythology refers to the legends, historical tales and sayings of the ancient Hawaiian people. It is considered a variant of a more general Polynesian mythology, developing its own unique character for several centuries before about 1800. It is associated with the Hawaiian religion...

, the peaks of the island of Hawaii are sacred, and Mauna Kea is the most sacred of all. An ancient law allowed only high-ranking tribal chiefs to visit its peak. Ancient Hawaiians living on the slopes of Mauna Kea relied on its extensive forests for food, and quarried the dense volcano-glacial basalt
Basalt
Basalt is a common extrusive volcanic rock. It is usually grey to black and fine-grained due to rapid cooling of lava at the surface of a planet. It may be porphyritic containing larger crystals in a fine matrix, or vesicular, or frothy scoria. Unweathered basalt is black or grey...

s on its flanks for tool production
Adze
An adze is a tool used for smoothing or carving rough-cut wood in hand woodworking. Generally, the user stands astride a board or log and swings the adze downwards towards his feet, chipping off pieces of wood, moving backwards as they go and leaving a relatively smooth surface behind...

. When Europeans arrived in the late 18th century, settlers introduced cattle, sheep and game animals, many of which became feral
Feral
A feral organism is one that has changed from being domesticated to being wild or untamed. In the case of plants it is a movement from cultivated to uncultivated or controlled to volunteer. The introduction of feral animals or plants to their non-native regions, like any introduced species, may...

 and began to damage the mountain's ecology. Mauna Kea can be ecologically divided into three sections: an alpine climate
Alpine climate
Alpine climate is the average weather for a region above the tree line. This climate is also referred to as mountain climate or highland climate....

 at its summit, a Sophora chrysophyllaMyoporum sandwicense
Myoporum sandwicense
Myoporum sandwicense is a species of flowering tree in the figwort family, Scrophulariaceae. Common names include Naio, bastard sandalwood or false sandalwood. It is native to Hawaii and Mangaia in the Cook Islands.-Description:...

(or māmane–naio) forest on its flanks, and an Acacia koaMetrosideros polymorpha
Metrosideros polymorpha
The ōhia lehua is a species of flowering evergreen tree in the myrtle family, Myrtaceae, that is endemic to the six largest islands of Hawaii. It is a highly variable tree, being tall in favorable situations, and much smaller when growing in boggy soils or on basalt...

(or koa–ōhia) forest, now mostly cleared by the former sugar industry
Sugar plantations in Hawaii
Sugarcane was introduced to Hawaii by its first inhabitants in approximately 600 AD and was observed by Captain Cook upon arrival in the islands in 1778. Sugar quickly turned into a big business and generated rapid population growth in the islands with 337,000 people immigrating over the span of a...

, at its base. In recent years, concern over the vulnerability of the native species has led to court cases that have forced the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources to eradicate all feral species on the mountain.

With its high altitude, dry environment, and stable airflow, Mauna Kea's summit is one of the best sites in the world for astronomical observation, and one of the most controversial. Since the creation of an access road in 1964, thirteen telescopes funded by eleven countries have been constructed at the summit. The Mauna Kea Observatories are used for scientific research across the electromagnetic spectrum
Electromagnetic spectrum
The electromagnetic spectrum is the range of all possible frequencies of electromagnetic radiation. The "electromagnetic spectrum" of an object is the characteristic distribution of electromagnetic radiation emitted or absorbed by that particular object....

 from visible
Visible spectrum
The visible spectrum is the portion of the electromagnetic spectrum that is visible to the human eye. Electromagnetic radiation in this range of wavelengths is called visible light or simply light. A typical human eye will respond to wavelengths from about 390 to 750 nm. In terms of...

 light to radio
Radio
Radio is the transmission of signals through free space by modulation of electromagnetic waves with frequencies below those of visible light. Electromagnetic radiation travels by means of oscillating electromagnetic fields that pass through the air and the vacuum of space...

, and comprise the largest such facility in the world. Their construction on a "sacred landscape", replete with endangered species, ongoing cultural practices, and viewplanes used in the traditional Hawaiian measurement of time, continues to be a topic of intense debate and protest. Studies are underway to determine their effect on the summit ecology, particularly on the rare Wēkiu bug
Wekiu bug
The wēkiu bug is a species of seed bug, endemic to Hawaii island.-Description:The wēkiu bug is flightless and inhabits the summit area of Mauna Kea, over ....

.

Geology



Mauna Kea is one of five hotspot volcanoes
Hotspot (geology)
The places known as hotspots or hot spots in geology are volcanic regions thought to be fed by underlying mantle that is anomalously hot compared with the mantle elsewhere. They may be on, near to, or far from tectonic plate boundaries. There are two hypotheses to explain them...

 that form the island of Hawaii
Hawaii (island)
The Island of Hawaii, also called the Big Island or Hawaii Island , is a volcanic island in the North Pacific Ocean...

, the largest and youngest island of the Hawaiian-Emperor seamount chain
Hawaiian-Emperor seamount chain
The Hawaiian–Emperor seamount chain is composed of the Hawaiian ridge, consisting of the islands of the Hawaiian chain northwest to Kure Atoll, and the Emperor Seamounts, a vast underwater mountain region of islands and intervening seamounts, atolls, shallows, banks and reefs along a line trending...

. Of these five volcanoes, Mauna Kea is the fourth oldest and fourth most active. It began as a preshield volcano driven by the Hawaii hotspot
Hawaii hotspot
The Hawaii hotspot is the volcanic hotspot that created the Hawaiian Islands in the central Pacific Ocean, and is one of Earth's best-known and most heavily-studied hotspots....

 around one million years ago, and became exceptionally active during its shield stage until 500,000 years ago. Mauna Kea entered its quieter post-shield stage 250,000 to 200,000 years ago, and is currently dormant.

Mauna Kea is over 3200 km³ (767.7 cu mi) in volume, so massive that it and its neighbor, Mauna Loa
Mauna Loa
Mauna Loa is one of five volcanoes that form the Island of Hawaii in the U.S. state of Hawaii in the Pacific Ocean, and the largest on Earth in terms of volume and area covered. It is an active shield volcano, with a volume estimated at approximately , although its peak is about lower than that...

, depress the ocean crust
Oceanic lithosphere
Oceanic lithosphereOceanic lithosphere is typically about 50-100 km thick , while the continental lithosphere has a range in thickness from about 40 km to perhaps 200 km; the upper ~30 to ~50 km of the typical continental lithosphere is crust...

 beneath it by 6 km (4 mi). The volcano continues to slip
Slip (materials science)
In materials science, Slip is the process by which plastic deformation is produced by a dislocation motion. By an external force, parts of the crystal lattice glide along each other, resulting in a changed geometry of the material. Depending on the type of lattice, different slip systems are...

 and flatten under its own weight at a rate of less than 0.2 millimetre per year. Much of its mass lies east of its present summit. Mauna Kea stands 4205 m (13,795.9 ft) above sea level, just 35 m (114.8 ft) higher than its neighbor Mauna Loa. Measured from its base on the ocean floor, it rises over 10000 m (32,808.4 ft), making it significantly taller than Mount Everest
Mount Everest
Mount Everest is the world's highest mountain, with a peak at above sea level. It is located in the Mahalangur section of the Himalayas. The international boundary runs across the precise summit point...

 on the Tibetan Plateau
Tibetan Plateau
The Tibetan Plateau , also known as the Qinghai–Tibetan Plateau is a vast, elevated plateau in Central Asia covering most of the Tibet Autonomous Region and Qinghai, in addition to smaller portions of western Sichuan, southwestern Gansu, and northern Yunnan in Western China and Ladakh in...

, and the highest point in the state of Hawaii.

Like all Hawaiian volcanoes, Mauna Kea has been created by the Hawaiian hotspot, as the Pacific tectonic plate
Pacific Plate
The Pacific Plate is an oceanic tectonic plate that lies beneath the Pacific Ocean. At 103 million square kilometres, it is the largest tectonic plate....

 has moved over a hotspot in the Earth's underlying mantle
Mantle (geology)
The mantle is a part of a terrestrial planet or other rocky body large enough to have differentiation by density. The interior of the Earth, similar to the other terrestrial planets, is chemically divided into layers. The mantle is a highly viscous layer between the crust and the outer core....

. The Hawaii island volcanoes are merely the most recent evidence of this process that, over 70 million years, has created the 6000 km (3,728.2 mi)-long Hawaiian Ridge – Emperor Seamount chain. The prevailing, though not completely settled, view is that the hotspot has been largely stationary within the planet's mantle for much, if not all of the Cenozoic
Cenozoic
The Cenozoic era is the current and most recent of the three Phanerozoic geological eras and covers the period from 65.5 mya to the present. The era began in the wake of the Cretaceous–Tertiary extinction event at the end of the Cretaceous that saw the demise of the last non-avian dinosaurs and...

 Era. However, while Hawaiian volcanism is well-understood and extensively studied, there remains no definite explanation of the mechanism that causes the hotspot effect.

Lava flows from Mauna Kea overlapped in complex layers with those of its neighbors during its growth. Most prominently, Mauna Kea is built upon older flows from Kohala
Kohala (mountain)
Kohala is the oldest of five volcanoes that make up the island of Hawaii. Kohala is an estimated one million years old—so old that it experienced, and recorded, a reversal of magnetic field 780,000 years ago. It is believed to have breached sea level more than 500,000 years ago and to...

 to the northwest, and intersects the base of Mauna Loa to the south. The original eruptive fissures (rift zone
Rift zone
A rift zone is a feature of some volcanoes, especially the shield volcanoes of Hawaii, in which a linear series of fissures in the volcanic edifice allows lava to be erupted from the volcano's flank instead of from its summit...

s) in the flanks of Mauna Kea were buried by its post-shield volcanism. Hilo Ridge, a prominent underwater rift zone structure east of Mauna Kea, was once believed to be a part of the volcano; however, it is now understood to be a rift zone of Kohala that has been affected by younger Mauna Kea flows.

The shield-stage lavas that built the enormous main mass of the mountain are tholeiitic basalts, like those of Mauna Loa, created through the mixing of primary magma
Magma
Magma is a mixture of molten rock, volatiles and solids that is found beneath the surface of the Earth, and is expected to exist on other terrestrial planets. Besides molten rock, magma may also contain suspended crystals and dissolved gas and sometimes also gas bubbles. Magma often collects in...

 and subducted
Subduction
In geology, subduction is the process that takes place at convergent boundaries by which one tectonic plate moves under another tectonic plate, sinking into the Earth's mantle, as the plates converge. These 3D regions of mantle downwellings are known as "Subduction Zones"...

 oceanic crust. They are covered by the oldest exposed rock strata
Stratum
In geology and related fields, a stratum is a layer of sedimentary rock or soil with internally consistent characteristics that distinguish it from other layers...

 on Mauna Kea, the post-shield alkali basalt
Alkali basalt
Alkali basalt is a fine-grained, dark-coloured, volcanic rock characterized by phenocrysts of olivine, titanium-rich augite, plagioclase feldspar and iron oxides. For similar SiO2 concentrations, alkali basalts have a higher content of the alkalis, Na2O and K2O, than other basalt types such as...

s of the Hāmākua Volcanics, which erupted between 250,000 and 70–65,000 years ago. The most recent volcanic flows are hawaiite
Hawaiite
Hawaiite is an olivine basalt with intermediate composition between alkali olivine and mugearite. It was first described at the island of Hawaii. In gemology, hawaiite is a colloquial term for Hawaii-originated peridot,which is gem-quality olivine mineral....

s and mugearite
Mugearite
Mugearite is a type of orthoclase-bearing basalt, comprising olivine, apatite, and opaque oxides. The main feldspar in mugearite is oligoclase....

s: they are the post-shield Laupāhoehoe Volcanics, erupted between 65,000 and 4,000 years ago. These changes in lava composition accompanied the slow reduction of the supply of magma to the summit, which led to weaker eruptions that then gave way to isolated episodes associated with volcanic dormancy. The Laupāhoehoe lavas are more viscous and contain more volatiles
Volatiles
In planetary science, volatiles are that group of chemical elements and chemical compounds with low boiling points that are associated with a planet's or moon's crust and/or atmosphere. Examples include nitrogen, water, carbon dioxide, ammonia, hydrogen, and methane, all compounds of C, H, O...

 than the earlier tholeiitic basalts; their thicker flows significantly steepened Mauna Kea's flanks. In addition, explosive eruption
Explosive eruption
An explosive eruption is a volcanic term to describe a violent, explosive type of eruption. Mount St. Helens in 1980 was an example. Such an eruption is driven by gas accumulating under great pressure. Driven by hot rising magma, it interacts with ground water until the pressure increases to the...

s have built cinder cone
Cinder cone
According to the , Cinder Cone is the proper name of 1 cinder cone in Canada and 7 cinder cones in the United States:In Canada: Cinder Cone In the United States:...

s near the summit. These cones are the most recent eruptive centers of Mauna Kea. Its present summit is dominated by lava domes and cinder cones up to 1.5 km (0.93205910497471 mi) in diameter and hundreds of meters tall.
Mauna Kea is the only Hawaiian volcano with distinct evidence of glaciation
Glacier
A glacier is a large persistent body of ice that forms where the accumulation of snow exceeds its ablation over many years, often centuries. At least 0.1 km² in area and 50 m thick, but often much larger, a glacier slowly deforms and flows due to stresses induced by its weight...

. Similar deposits probably existed on Mauna Loa, but have been covered by later lava flows. Despite Hawaii's tropical location, during several past ice age
Ice age
An ice age or, more precisely, glacial age, is a generic geological period of long-term reduction in the temperature of the Earth's surface and atmosphere, resulting in the presence or expansion of continental ice sheets, polar ice sheets and alpine glaciers...

s a drop of only a degree in temperature allowed snow to remain at the mountain's summit through summer, triggering the formation of an ice cap
Ice cap
An ice cap is an ice mass that covers less than 50 000 km² of land area . Masses of ice covering more than 50 000 km² are termed an ice sheet....

. There are three episodes of glaciation that have been recorded from the last 180,000 years: the Pōhakuloa (180–130 ka), Wāihu (80–60 ka) and Mākanaka (40–13 ka) series. These have extensively sculpted the summit, depositing moraines and a circular ring of till
Till
thumb|right|Closeup of glacial till. Note that the larger grains in the till are completely surrounded by the matrix of finer material , and this characteristic, known as matrix support, is diagnostic of till....

 and gravel along the mountain's upper flanks. Subglacial eruption
Subglacial eruption
A subglacial eruption is a volcanic eruption that has occurred under ice, or under a glacier. Subglacial eruptions can cause dangerous floods, lahars and create hyaloclastite and pillow lava. Subglacial eruptions sometimes form a subglacial volcano called a tuya. Tuyas in Iceland are called table...

s built cinder cones during the Mākanaka glaciation, most of which were heavily gouged by glacial action. The most recent cones were built between 9000 and 4500 years ago, atop the glacial deposits, although one study indicates that the last eruption may have been around 3600 years ago.

At their maximum extent, the glaciers extended from the summit down to between 3200 and 3800 m (10,498.7 and 12,467.2 ft) of elevation. A small body of permafrost
Permafrost
In geology, permafrost, cryotic soil or permafrost soil is soil at or below the freezing point of water for two or more years. Ice is not always present, as may be in the case of nonporous bedrock, but it frequently occurs and it may be in amounts exceeding the potential hydraulic saturation of...

, less than 25 m (82 ft) across, was found at the summit of Mauna Kea prior to 1974, and may still be present. Small gullies etch the summit, formed by rain- and snow-fed streams that flow only during winter melt and rain showers.
On the windward side of the mountain, stream erosion driven by trade wind
Trade wind
The trade winds are the prevailing pattern of easterly surface winds found in the tropics, within the lower portion of the Earth's atmosphere, in the lower section of the troposphere near the Earth's equator...

s has accelerated erosion in a manner similar to that on older Kohala.

Mauna Kea is home to Lake Waiau
Lake Waiau
Lake Waiau is a high-elevation lake located at 13,020 feet above sea level on Mauna Kea, on the island of Hawaiʻi. It is the seventh highest lake in the USA , and one of very few lakes at all in the state of Hawaiʻi. It is relatively small, only about 100 m across, and varies in size as the...

, the highest lake in the Pacific Basin. At an altitude of 3969 m (13,022 ft), it lies within the Puu Waiau cinder cone and is the only alpine lake
Alpine lake
Alpine lakes are classified as lakes or reservoirs at high altitudes, usually starting around 5,000 feet in elevation above sea level or above the tree line....

 in Hawaii. The lake is very small and shallow, with a surface area of 0.73 ha (1.8 acre) and a depth of 3 m (10 ft). Radiocarbon dating
Radiocarbon dating
Radiocarbon dating is a radiometric dating method that uses the naturally occurring radioisotope carbon-14 to estimate the age of carbon-bearing materials up to about 58,000 to 62,000 years. Raw, i.e. uncalibrated, radiocarbon ages are usually reported in radiocarbon years "Before Present" ,...

 of samples at the base of the lake indicates that it was clear of ice 12,600 years ago. Hawaiian lavas are typically permeable, preventing the formation of lakes due to infiltration
Infiltration (hydrology)
Infiltration is the process by which water on the ground surface enters the soil. Infiltration rate in soil science is a measure of the rate at which soil is able to absorb rainfall or irrigation. It is measured in inches per hour or millimeters per hour. The rate decreases as the soil becomes...

. Here, either sulfur-bearing steam altered the volcanic ash to low-permeability clays, or explosive interactions between rising magma and groundwater or surface water (phreatic eruptions) formed exceptionally fine ash that also would reduce the permeability of the lake bed.

Future activity


The last eruption of Mauna Kea was about 4,600 years ago; because of this inactivity, Mauna Kea is assigned a United States Geological Survey
United States Geological Survey
The United States Geological Survey is a scientific agency of the United States government. The scientists of the USGS study the landscape of the United States, its natural resources, and the natural hazards that threaten it. The organization has four major science disciplines, concerning biology,...

 hazard listing of 7 for its summit and 8 for its lower flanks, out of the lowest possible hazard rating of 9 (which is given to the extinct volcano Kohala
Kohala (mountain)
Kohala is the oldest of five volcanoes that make up the island of Hawaii. Kohala is an estimated one million years old—so old that it experienced, and recorded, a reversal of magnetic field 780,000 years ago. It is believed to have breached sea level more than 500,000 years ago and to...

). Twenty percent of the volcano's summit has seen lava flows in the past 10,000 years, and its flanks have seen virtually no lava flows during that time.

Despite its dormancy, Mauna Kea is expected to erupt again, although there would be sufficient warning to evacuate. The telescopes on Mauna Kea's summit would be the first to detect the minute amounts of deformation resulting from the volcano's swelling, acting like expensive tiltmeter
Tiltmeter
A tiltmeter is an instrument designed to measure very small changes from the horizontal level, either on the ground or in structures. A similar term, in less common usage, is the inclinometer...

s. Based on previous eruptions, such an event could occur anywhere on the volcano's upper flanks and would likely produce extended lava flows, mostly of a'a, of 15–25 km (9.3–15.5 mi) in length. Long periods of activity could build a cinder cone at the source. Although not likely in the next few centuries, such an eruption would probably result in little loss of life but significant damage to infrastructure.

Native history


The first Ancient Hawaiians to arrive on Hawaii island lived along the shores, where food and water were plentiful. Settlement expanded inland to the Mauna Loa – Mauna Kea region in the 12th and early 13th centuries. Archaeological evidence suggests that these regions were used for hunting, collecting stone material, and possibly for spiritual reasons or for astronomical or navigational observations. The mountain's plentiful forest provided plants and animals for food and raw materials for shelter. Flightless birds that had previously known no predators became a staple food source.

Early settlement of the Hawaiian islands led to major changes to local ecosystems and many extinctions, particularly amongst bird species. Ancient Hawaiians brought foreign plants and animals, and their arrival was associated with increased rates of erosion. The prevailing lowland forest ecosystem was transformed from forest to grassland; some of this change was caused by the use of fire, but the prevailing cause of forest ecosystem collapse and avian extinction on Hawaii appears to have been the introduction of the Polynesian (or Pacific) Rat.

The summits of the five volcanoes of Hawaii are revered as sacred mountains
Sacred mountains
Sacred mountains are central to certain religions and are the subjects of many legends. For many, the most symbolic aspect of a mountain is the peak because it is believed that it is closest to heaven or other celestial bodies...

; and Mauna Kea's summit, being the tallest, as the most sacred of all. For this reason, a kapu
Kapu
Kapu refers to the ancient Hawaiian code of conduct of laws and regulations. The kapu system was universal in lifestyle, gender roles, politics, religion, etc. An offense that was kapu was often a corporal offense, but also often denoted a threat to spiritual power, or theft of mana. Kapus were...

(ancient Hawaiian law) restricted visitor rights to high-ranking tribal chiefs. Hawaiians associated elements of their natural environment with particular deities. In Hawaiian mythology
Hawaiian mythology
Hawaiian mythology refers to the legends, historical tales and sayings of the ancient Hawaiian people. It is considered a variant of a more general Polynesian mythology, developing its own unique character for several centuries before about 1800. It is associated with the Hawaiian religion...

, the sky father
Sky father
The sky father or heavenly father is a recurring theme in mythology all over the world. The sky father is the complement of the earth mother and appears in some creation myths, many of which are Indo-European or ancient Near Eastern. Other cultures have quite different myths; Egyptian mythology...

 Wākea
Wakea
In Hawaiian mythology, Wākea is the eldest son of Kahiko , and lives in Olalowaia. Wākea is the ancestor of the aristocracy, the ali‘i. The priests and common people come from his brothers. In another legend, Wākea lives in Hihiku and marries Pāpā, also called Pāpā-nui or Pāpā-nui-hanau-moku, who...

 marries the earth mother Pāpā
Papahanaumoku
Papahanaumoku , or Pāpā, is the name of the Kanaka Maoli creator goddess in Hawaiian mythology. Together with her husband Wakea Pāpā is the ancestor of all people and Kalo, and mother of islands as the Kanaka Maoli manifestation of Mother Earth...

, giving birth to the Hawaiian Islands. In many of these genealogical myths, Mauna Kea is portrayed as the pair's first-born son. The summit of Mauna Kea was seen as the "region of the gods", a place where benevolent spirits reside. Poliahu
Poliahu
In Hawaiian mythology, Poliahu is one of the four goddesses of snow, all enemies of Pele. She was thought to reside on Mauna Kea, which if measured from the seafloor is the world's tallest mountain.-Aiwohikupua :...

, deity of snow, also resides there. In Hawaiian, Mauna Kea means "white mountain", a reference to its summit, which is usually snow-capped in winter. The mountain is also known as Mauna o Wākea ("Mountain of [the deity] Wākea").

Around AD 1100, natives established adze
Adze
An adze is a tool used for smoothing or carving rough-cut wood in hand woodworking. Generally, the user stands astride a board or log and swings the adze downwards towards his feet, chipping off pieces of wood, moving backwards as they go and leaving a relatively smooth surface behind...

 quarries high up on Mauna Kea to extract the uniquely dense basalt
Basalt
Basalt is a common extrusive volcanic rock. It is usually grey to black and fine-grained due to rapid cooling of lava at the surface of a planet. It may be porphyritic containing larger crystals in a fine matrix, or vesicular, or frothy scoria. Unweathered basalt is black or grey...

—generated by the quick cooling of lava flows meeting glacial ice during subglacial eruption
Subglacial eruption
A subglacial eruption is a volcanic eruption that has occurred under ice, or under a glacier. Subglacial eruptions can cause dangerous floods, lahars and create hyaloclastite and pillow lava. Subglacial eruptions sometimes form a subglacial volcano called a tuya. Tuyas in Iceland are called table...

s—for use in the manufacture of tools. Volcanic glass
Volcanic glass
Volcanic glass is the amorphous product of rapidly cooling magma. Like all types of glass, it is a state of matter intermediate between the close-packed, highly ordered array of a crystal and the highly disordered array of gas...

 and gabbro
Gabbro
Gabbro refers to a large group of dark, coarse-grained, intrusive mafic igneous rocks chemically equivalent to basalt. The rocks are plutonic, formed when molten magma is trapped beneath the Earth's surface and cools into a crystalline mass....

 were collected for blades and fishing gear, and māmane wood was preferred for the handles. At peak quarry activity after AD 1400, there were separate facilities for rough and fine cutting; shelters with food, water, and wood to sustain the workers; and workshops creating the finished product.

Lake Waiau provided drinking water for the workers. Native chiefs would dip the umbilical cords of newborn babies in its water, to give them the strength of the mountain. Use of the quarry declined between this period and contact with Americans and Europeans. As part of the ritual associated with quarrying, the workers erected shrines to their gods; these and other quarry artifacts remain at the sites, most of which lie within what is now the Mauna Kea Ice Age Reserve
Mauna Kea Ice Age Reserve
-Quarry:The quarry was used by prehistoric Hawaiians to obtain basalt for stone tools including blades for adzes.Located near the summit of Mauna Kea at an elevation above at along the Mauna Kea Trail, this is the largest primitive quarry in the world. The archaeological complex also includes...

.

This early era was followed by peace and cultural expansion between the 12th and late 18th century. Land was divided into regions designed for both the immediate needs of the populace and the long-term welfare of the environment. These ahupuaa generally took the form of long strips of land oriented from the mountain summits to the coast. Mauna Kea's summit was encompassed in the ahupuaa of Kaole, with part of its eastern slope reaching into the nearby Humuula. Principal sources of nutrition for Hawaiians living on the slopes of the volcano came from the māmane–naio
Myoporum sandwicense
Myoporum sandwicense is a species of flowering tree in the figwort family, Scrophulariaceae. Common names include Naio, bastard sandalwood or false sandalwood. It is native to Hawaii and Mangaia in the Cook Islands.-Description:...

 forest of its upper slopes, which provided them with vegetation and bird life. Bird species hunted included the Uau (Pterodroma sandwichensis), Nēnē
Nene
Nene may refer to:*River Nene, a river in England*Rolls-Royce Nene, a jet engine*Nene , also called Nēnē and Hawaiian Goose, Branta sandvicensis, a rare goose*Nene , a Seminole Indian word meaning "street"...

 (Branta sandvicensis), and Palila
Palila
The Palila is a critically endangered finch-billed species of Hawaiian honeycreeper. It has a golden-yellow head and breast, with a light belly, gray back, and greenish wings and tail...

 (Loxioides bailleui). The lower koa–ōhia
Metrosideros polymorpha
The ōhia lehua is a species of flowering evergreen tree in the myrtle family, Myrtaceae, that is endemic to the six largest islands of Hawaii. It is a highly variable tree, being tall in favorable situations, and much smaller when growing in boggy soils or on basalt...

 forest gave the natives wood for canoes and ornate bird feathers for decoration.

Modern era



The first foreigner to arrive at Hawaii was James Cook
James Cook
Captain James Cook, FRS, RN was a British explorer, navigator and cartographer who ultimately rose to the rank of captain in the Royal Navy...

, in 1778. The earliest Western depictions of the isle, including Mauna Kea, were created by explorers in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Contact with Europe and America had major consequences for island residents. Native Hawaiians were devastated by introduced diseases; port cities including Hilo, Kealakekua, and Kailua grew with the establishment of trade; and the adze quarries on Mauna Kea were abandoned after the introduction of metal tools.

In 1793, cattle were brought by George Vancouver
George Vancouver
Captain George Vancouver RN was an English officer of the British Royal Navy, best known for his 1791-95 expedition, which explored and charted North America's northwestern Pacific Coast regions, including the coasts of contemporary Alaska, British Columbia, Washington and Oregon...

 as a tribute to King Kamehameha I
Kamehameha I
Kamehameha I , also known as Kamehameha the Great, conquered the Hawaiian Islands and formally established the Kingdom of Hawaii in 1810. By developing alliances with the major Pacific colonial powers, Kamehameha preserved Hawaii's independence under his rule...

. By the early 19th century, they had escaped confinement and roamed the island freely, greatly damaging its ecosystem. In 1809 John Palmer Parker
John Palmer Parker
John Palmer Parker was the founder of the Parker Ranch on the island of Hawaii in Hawaii.-Life:John Palmer Parker was born May 1, 1790 in Newton, Massachusetts. His father was Samuel Parker and mother was Ann Palmer Parker ....

 arrived and befriended Kamehameha I, who put him in charge of cattle management on the island. With an additional land grant
Land grant
A land grant is a gift of real estate – land or its privileges – made by a government or other authority as a reward for services to an individual, especially in return for military service...

 in 1845, Parker established Parker Ranch
Parker Ranch
Parker Ranch is a working cattle ranch on the Island of Hawaii in the state of Hawaii, now run by a charitable trust.-History:The ranch was founded in 1847 and is one of the oldest ranches in the United States, pre-dating many mainland ranches in Texas and other southwestern states by more than 30...

 on the northern slope of Mauna Kea, a large cattle ranch
Ranch
A ranch is an area of landscape, including various structures, given primarily to the practice of ranching, the practice of raising grazing livestock such as cattle or sheep for meat or wool. The word most often applies to livestock-raising operations in the western United States and Canada, though...

 that is still in operation today. Settlers to the island burned and cut down much of the native forest for the construction of sugar plantations and houses.

The Saddle Road, named for its crossing of the saddle-shaped plateau between Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa, was completed in 1943, and eased travel to Mauna Kea considerably.

The Pohakuloa Training Area
Pohakuloa Training Area
Pōhakuloa Training Area is located on the island of Hawaii in the high plateau between Mauna Loa, Mauna Kea and the Hualālai volcanic mountains...

 on the plateau is the largest military training ground in Hawaii. The 108863 acre (44,055 ha) base extends from the volcano's lower flanks to 2070 m (6,791.3 ft) elevation, on state land leased to the US Army since 1956. There are 15 threatened and endangered plants, 3 endangered birds, and 1 endangered bat species in the area.

Mauna Kea has been the site of extensive archaeological research since the 1980s. Approximately 27 percent of the Science Reserve had been surveyed by 2000, identifying 76 shrines, 4 adze manufacturing workshops, 3 other markers, 1 positively identified burial site, and 4 possible burial sites. By 2009, the total number of identified sites had risen to 223, and archaeological research on the volcano's upper flanks is ongoing. It has been suggested that the shrines, which are arranged around the volcano's summit along what may be an ancient snow line
Snow line
The climatic snow line is the point above which snow and ice cover the ground throughout the year. The actual snow line may seasonally be significantly lower....

, are markers for the transition to the sacred part of Mauna Kea. Despite many references to burial around Mauna Kea in Hawaiian oral history, few sites have been confirmed. The lack of shrines or other artifacts on the many cinder cones dotting the volcano may be because they were reserved for burial.

Ascents


In pre-contact times, natives traveling up Mauna Kea were probably guided more by landscape than by existing trails, as no evidence of the latter have been found. It is possible that natural ridges and water sources were followed instead. Individuals likely took trips up Mauna Kea's slopes to visit family-maintained shrines near its summit, and traditions related to ascending the mountain exist to this day. However, very few natives actually reached the summit, because of the strict kapu
Kapu
Kapu refers to the ancient Hawaiian code of conduct of laws and regulations. The kapu system was universal in lifestyle, gender roles, politics, religion, etc. An offense that was kapu was often a corporal offense, but also often denoted a threat to spiritual power, or theft of mana. Kapus were...

placed on it.

In the early 19th century, the earliest notable recorded ascents of Mauna Kea included the following:
  • On August 26, 1823, Joseph F. Goodrich, an American missionary, made the first recorded ascent in a single day; however, a small arrangement of stones he observed suggested he was not the first human on the summit. He recorded four ecosystems as he travelled from base to summit, and also visited Lake Waiau.
  • On June 17, 1825, an expedition from HMS Blonde
    HMS Blonde (1819)
    HMS Blonde was a 46-gun modified Apollo-class fifth-rate frigate of 1,103 tons burthen. She undertook an important voyage to the Pacific in 1824...

    , led by botanist James Macrae, reached the summit of Mauna Kea. Macrae was the first person to record the Mauna Kea Silversword
    Mauna Kea silversword
    The Mauna Kea silversword is a highly endangered flowering plant endemic to the Big Island of Hawaii. It is the "crown jewel" of the volcanic mountain, Mauna Kea, from which it derives its common name, and where it was once common. Extraordinary plant conservation efforts are being made to...

     (Argyroxiphium sandwicense), saying: "The last mile was destitute of vegetation except one plant of the Sygenisia tribe, in growth much like a Yucca, with sharp pointed silver coloured leaves and green upright spike of three or four feet producing pendulous branches with brown flowers, truly superb, and almost worth the journey of coming here to see it on purpose."
  • In January 1834, David Douglas
    David Douglas
    David Douglas was a Scottish botanist. He worked as a gardener, and explored the Scottish Highlands, North America, and Hawaii, where he died.-Early life:...

     climbed the mountain and described extensively the division of plant species by altitude. On a second climb in July, he was found dead in a pit intended to catch wild cattle. Although murder was suspected, it was probably an accidental fall. The site, Ka lua kauka 19°53′17"N 155°20′17"W, is marked by the Douglas Fir trees named for him.
  • In 1881, Queen Emma
    Queen Emma of Hawaii
    Queen Consort Emma Kalanikaumakaamano Kaleleonālani Naea Rooke of Hawaii was queen consort of King Kamehameha IV from 1856 to his death in 1863. She ran for ruling monarch against King David Kalākaua but was defeated....

     traveled to the peak to bathe in the waters of Lake Waiau during competition for the role of ruling chief of the Kingdom of Hawaii
    Kingdom of Hawaii
    The Kingdom of Hawaii was established during the years 1795 to 1810 with the subjugation of the smaller independent chiefdoms of Oahu, Maui, Molokai, Lānai, Kauai and Niihau by the chiefdom of Hawaii into one unified government...

    .
  • On August 6, 1889, E.D. Baldwin left Hilo and followed cattle trails to the summit.


In the late 19th and early 20th centuries trails were formed, often by the movement of game herds, that could be traveled on horseback. However, vehicular access to the summit was practically impossible until the construction of a road in 1964, and it continues to be restricted. Today, multiple trails to the summit exist, in various states of use.

Background


Hawaii's geographical isolation strongly influences its ecology
Environment of Hawaii
The majority of environmental concerns affecting Hawaii today are related to pressures from increasing human and animal population in the limited separation space of the islands.-Flora and fauna:...

. Remote islands like Hawaii have a large number of species that are found nowhere else (see Endemism in the Hawaiian Islands
Endemism in the Hawaiian Islands
Located some 2,400 miles from the nearest continental shore, the Hawaiian Islands are the most isolated group of islands on the planet...

). The remoteness resulted in evolutionary lines distinct from those elsewhere and isolated these endemic species from external biotic influence, and also makes them especially vulnerable to extinction
Extinction
In biology and ecology, extinction is the end of an organism or of a group of organisms , normally a species. The moment of extinction is generally considered to be the death of the last individual of the species, although the capacity to breed and recover may have been lost before this point...

 and the effects of invasive species
Invasive species
"Invasive species", or invasive exotics, is a nomenclature term and categorization phrase used for flora and fauna, and for specific restoration-preservation processes in native habitats, with several definitions....

. In addition the ecosystems of Hawaii are under threat from human development including the clearing of land for agriculture; an estimated third of the island's endemic species have already been wiped out. Because of its elevation, Mauna Kea has the greatest diversity of biotic ecosystems anywhere in the Hawaiian archipelago. Ecosystems on the mountain form concentric rings along its slopes due to changes in temperature and precipitation with elevation. These ecosystems can be roughly divided into three sections by elevation: alpine
Alpine climate
Alpine climate is the average weather for a region above the tree line. This climate is also referred to as mountain climate or highland climate....

subalpine
Subalpine
The subalpine zone is the biotic zone immediately below tree line around the world. Species that occur in this zone depend on the location of the zone on the Earth, for example, Snow Gum in Australia, or Subalpine Larch, Mountain Hemlock and Subalpine Fir in western North America.Trees in the...

, montane
Montane
In biogeography, montane is the highland area located below the subalpine zone. Montane regions generally have cooler temperatures and often have higher rainfall than the adjacent lowland regions, and are frequently home to distinct communities of plants and animals.The term "montane" means "of the...

, and basal forest
Hawaiian tropical dry forests
The Hawaiian tropical dry forests are a tropical dry broadleaf forest ecoregion in the Hawaiian Islands. They cover an area of on the leeward side of the main islands and the summits of Niihau and Kahoolawe. These forests are either seasonal or sclerophyllous. Annual rainfall is less than and...

.

Contact with Americans and Europeans in the early 19th century brought more settlers to the island, and had a lasting negative ecological effect. On lower slopes, vast tracts of koa–ōhia forest were converted to farmland. Higher up, feral
Feral
A feral organism is one that has changed from being domesticated to being wild or untamed. In the case of plants it is a movement from cultivated to uncultivated or controlled to volunteer. The introduction of feral animals or plants to their non-native regions, like any introduced species, may...

 animals that escaped from ranches found refuge in, and damaged extensively, Mauna Kea's native māmane–naio forest. Non-native plants are the other serious threat; there are over 4,600 introduced species on the island, whereas the number of native species is estimated at just 1,000.

Alpine environment



The summit of Mauna Kea lies above the tree line, and consists of mostly lava rock and alpine tundra
Alpine tundra
Alpine tundra is a natural region that does not contain trees because it is at high altitude. Alpine tundra is distinguished from arctic tundra, because alpine soils are generally better drained than arctic soils...

. An area of heavy snowfall, it is inhospitable to vegetation, and is known as the Hawaiian tropical high shrublands
Hawaiian tropical high shrublands
The Hawaiian tropical high shrublands are a tropical savanna ecoregion in the Hawaiian Islands. They cover an area of on the upper slopes of the volcanoes Mauna Kea, Mauna Loa, Hualālai, and Haleakalā. It includes open shrublands, grasslands, and deserts...

. Growth is restricted here by extremely cold temperatures, a short growing season, low rainfall, and snow during winter months. A lack of soil also retards root growth, makes it difficult to absorb nutrients from the ground, and gives the area a very low water retention capacity
Water retention curve
Water retention curve is the relationship between the water content, θ, and the soil water potential, ψ. This curve is characteristic for different types of soil, and is also called the soil moisture characteristic....

.

Plant species found at this elevation include Styphelia tameiameiae
Styphelia tameiameiae
Styphelia tameiameiae, known as Pūkiawe in the Hawaiian language, is a species of flowering plant in the heather family, Ericaceae, that is native to the Hawaiian and Marquesas Islands. The specific epithet honors King Kamehameha I, who formed the Kingdom of Hawaii. It grows as a tree up to tall...

, Taraxacum officinale
Taraxacum officinale
Taraxacum officinale, the common dandelion , is a herbaceous perennial plant of the family Asteraceae . It can be found growing in temperate regions of the world, in lawns, on roadsides, on disturbed banks and shores of water ways, and other areas with moist soils. T...

, Tetramolopium humile
Tetramolopium
Tetramolopium is a genus of plants in the composite family . About 25 species are native to New Guinea, eleven species are found in Hawaii, and one in the Cook Islands, with the island populations apparently representing a recent colonization...

, Agrostis sandwicensis
Agrostis
Agrostis is a genus of over 100 species belonging to the grass family Poaceae, commonly referred to as the bent grasses...

, Anthoxanthum odoratum
Anthoxanthum odoratum
-Introduction:Anthoxanthum odoratum, known as sweet vernal grass, holy grass, vanilla grass or buffalo grass, is a short-lived grass found wild in acidic grassland in Eurasia. It is also grown as a lawn grass and a house plant, due to its sweet scent, and can also be found on unimproved pastures...

, Trisetum glomeratum
Trisetum
Trisetum is a genus of grass in the Poaceae family.-Species:* There are about 75 species, listed in List of Trisetum species.-External links:*...

, Poa annua
Poa annua
Poa annua, or annual meadow grass , is a widespread low-growing turfgrass in temperate climates. Though P. annua is commonly considered a solely annual plant due to its name, perennial bio-types do exist. 'Poa' is Greek for fodder. It is one of the sweetest grasses for green fodder, but less ...

, Sonchus oleraceus
Sonchus oleraceus
Sonchus oleraceus is a medicinal plant native to Asia and Europe, which is nutritious food for humans and most livestock.- Nutritive qualities :The common name Sow thistle refers to its...

, and Coprosma ernodiodes
Coprosma
Coprosma is a genus of 108 species that are found in New Zealand , Hawaii , Borneo, Java, New Guinea, islands of the Pacific Ocean to Australia and the Juan Fernández Is. Many species are small shrubs with tiny evergreen leaves, but a few are small trees and have much larger leaves...

. One notable species is Mauna Kea Silversword (Argyroxiphium sandwicense var. sandwicense), a highly endangered endemic plant species that thrives in Mauna Kea's high elevation cinder deserts. At one stage reduced to a population of just 50 plants, Mauna Kea Silversword was thought to be restricted to the alpine zone, but in fact has been driven there by pressure from livestock, and can grow at lower elevations as well.

The Mauna Kea Ice Age Reserve
Mauna Kea Ice Age Reserve
-Quarry:The quarry was used by prehistoric Hawaiians to obtain basalt for stone tools including blades for adzes.Located near the summit of Mauna Kea at an elevation above at along the Mauna Kea Trail, this is the largest primitive quarry in the world. The archaeological complex also includes...

 on the southern summit flank of Mauna Kea was established in 1981. The reserve is a region of sparsely vegetated cinder deposits and lava rock, including areas of aeolian desert
Aeolian landform
Aeolian landforms are features of the Earth's surface produced by either the erosive or constructive action of the wind. This process is not unique to earth, and it has been observed and studied on other planets, including Mars.-Terminology:...

 and Lake Waiau. This ecosystem is a likely haven for the threatened Uau (Pterodroma sandwichensis) and also the center of a study on Wēkiu bug
Wekiu bug
The wēkiu bug is a species of seed bug, endemic to Hawaii island.-Description:The wēkiu bug is flightless and inhabits the summit area of Mauna Kea, over ....

s (Nysius wekiuicola).

Wēkiu bugs feed on dead insect carcasses that drift up Mauna Kea on the wind and settle on snow banks. This is a highly unusual food source for a species in the genus Nysius
Nysius
The genus Nysius in the insect family Lygaeidae, contains approximately 106 species throughout the world.Like other seed bugs, there are some species in the genus that have proven to be crop pests of wheat and other grains , as well as many vegetables...

, which consists of predominantly seed-eating insects. They can survive at extreme elevations of up to 4200 m (13,780 ft) because of natural antifreeze
Antifreeze protein
Antifreeze proteins or ice structuring proteins refer to a class of polypeptides produced by certain vertebrates, plants, fungi and bacteria that permit their survival in subzero environments. AFPs bind to small ice crystals to inhibit growth and recrystallization of ice that would otherwise be...

 in their blood. They also stay under heated surfaces most of the time. Their conservation status is unclear, as the effect summit observatories on Mauna Kea have on the species is not well understood; studies on the welfare of the species began in 1980. The closely related Nysius aa lives on Mauna Loa. Wolf spider
Wolf spider
Wolf spiders are members of the family Lycosidae, from the Ancient Greek word "" meaning "wolf". They are robust and agile hunters with good eyesight. They live mostly solitary lives and hunt alone. Some are opportunistic hunters pouncing upon prey as they find it or even chasing it over short...

s (Lycosidae) and Forest Tent Caterpillar Moths have also been observed in the same Mauna Kea ecosystem; the former survive by hiding under heat-absorbing rocks, and the latter through cold-resistant chemicals in their bodies.

Māmane–naio forest


The highest forested zone
Hawaiian tropical dry forests
The Hawaiian tropical dry forests are a tropical dry broadleaf forest ecoregion in the Hawaiian Islands. They cover an area of on the leeward side of the main islands and the summits of Niihau and Kahoolawe. These forests are either seasonal or sclerophyllous. Annual rainfall is less than and...

 on the volcano, at an elevation of 2000–3000 m (6,561.7–9,842.5 ft), is dominated by Māmane (Sophora chrysophylla) and Naio (Myoporum sandwicense
Myoporum sandwicense
Myoporum sandwicense is a species of flowering tree in the figwort family, Scrophulariaceae. Common names include Naio, bastard sandalwood or false sandalwood. It is native to Hawaii and Mangaia in the Cook Islands.-Description:...

), both endemic tree species, and is thus known as māmane–naio forest. Māmane seeds and Naio fruit are the chief foods of the birds in this zone, especially the Palila
Palila
The Palila is a critically endangered finch-billed species of Hawaiian honeycreeper. It has a golden-yellow head and breast, with a light belly, gray back, and greenish wings and tail...

 (Loxioides bailleui). The Palila was formerly found on the slopes of Mauna Kea, Mauna Loa, and Hualālai
Hualalai
Hualālai is a dormant shield volcano on the island of Hawaii in the Hawaiian Islands. It is the third-youngest and the third most active of the five volcanoes that form the island of Hawaii, following Kīlauea and the much larger Mauna Loa, and also the westernmost. Its peak is above sea...

, but is now confined to the slopes of Mauna Kea—only 10% of its former range—and has been declared critically endangered
Critically endangered
Version 2010.3 of the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species identified 3744 Critically Endangered species, subspecies and varieties, stocks and subpopulations.Critically Endangered by kingdom:*1993 Animalia*2 Fungi*1745 Plantae*4 Protista-References:...

.

The largest threat to the ecosystem is grazing
Grazing
Grazing generally describes a type of feeding, in which a herbivore feeds on plants , and also on other multicellular autotrophs...

 by feral sheep (Ovis aries), cattle (Bos primigenius), and goats (Capra hircus) introduced to the island in the late 18th century. Feral animal competition with commercial grazing was severe enough that a program to eradicate them existed as far back as the late 1920s, and continued through to 1949. One of the results of this grazing was the increased prevalence of herbaceous
Herbaceous
A herbaceous plant is a plant that has leaves and stems that die down at the end of the growing season to the soil level. They have no persistent woody stem above ground...

 and woody
Woody plant
A woody plant is a plant that uses wood as its structural tissue. These are typically perennial plants whose stems and larger roots are reinforced with wood produced adjacent to the vascular tissues. The main stem, larger branches, and roots of these plants are usually covered by a layer of...

 plants, both endemic and introduced, that were resistant to browsing. The feral animals were almost eradicated, and numbered a few hundred in the 1950s. However, an influx of local hunters led to the feral species being valued as game animals, and in 1959 the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources, the governing body in charge of conservation and land use management, changed its policy to a sustained-control program designed to facilitate the sport.

Mouflon
Mouflon
The mouflon is a subspecies group of the wild sheep Ovis aries. Populations of Ovis aries can be partitioned into the mouflons and urials or arkars...

 (Ovis aries orientalis) was introduced from 1962–1964, and a plan to release Axis Deer (Axis axis) in 1964 was prevented only by protests from the ranching industry, who said that they would damage crops and spread disease. The hunting industry fought back, and the back-and-forth between the ranchers and hunters eventually gave way to a rise in public environmental concern. With the development of astronomical facilities on Mauna Kea commencing, conservationists demanded protection of Mauna Kea's ecosystem. A plan was proposed to fence 25% of the forests for protection, and manage the remaining 75% for game hunting. Despite opposition from conservationists the plan was put into action. While the land was partitioned no money was allocated for the building of the fence. In the midst of this wrangling the Endangered Species Act
Endangered Species Act
The Endangered Species Act of 1973 is one of the dozens of United States environmental laws passed in the 1970s. Signed into law by President Richard Nixon on December 28, 1973, it was designed to protect critically imperiled species from extinction as a "consequence of economic growth and...

 was passed; the National Audubon Society
National Audubon Society
The National Audubon Society is an American non-profit environmental organization dedicated to conservation. Incorporated in 1905, Audubon is one of the oldest of such organizations in the world and uses science, education and grassroots advocacy to advance its conservation mission...

 and Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund filed a lawsuit against the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources, claiming that they were violating federal law, in the landmark case Palila v. Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources
Palila v. Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources
Palila v. Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources was an ecological court case pertaining to the Palila and the Māmane-Naio ecosystem of Mauna Kea. The case stems from the introduction of goats and sheep onto Hawaii island in the late 18th century, which became feral and damaged the local...

(1978).

The court ruled in favor of conservationists and upheld the precedence of federal laws before state control of wildlife. Having violated the Endangered Species Act, Hawaii state was required to remove all feral animals from the mountainside. This decision was followed by a second court order in 1981. A public hunting program removed many of the feral animals, at least temporarily. An active control program is in place, though it is not conducted with sufficient rigor to allow significant recovery of the māmane-naio ecosystem. There are many other species and ecosystems on the island, and on Mauna Kea, that remain threatened by human development and invasive species.

The Mauna Kea Forest Reserve protects 52500 acre (212.5 km²) of māmane-naio forest under the jurisdiction of the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources. Ungulate
Ungulate
Ungulates are several groups of mammals, most of which use the tips of their toes, usually hoofed, to sustain their whole body weight while moving. They make up several orders of mammals, of which six to eight survive...

 hunting is allowed year-round. A small part of the māmane–naio forest is encompassed by the Mauna Kea State Recreation Area
Mauna Kea State Recreation Area
Mauna Kea State Recreation Area also known as Mauna Kea State Park, is a state of Hawaii protected area at the southern base of Mauna Kea.The park is administered by the Hawai'i Department of Land and Natural Resources....

.

Lower environment



A band of ranch land on Mauna Kea's lower slopes was formerly Acacia koaMetrosideros polymorpha
Metrosideros polymorpha
The ōhia lehua is a species of flowering evergreen tree in the myrtle family, Myrtaceae, that is endemic to the six largest islands of Hawaii. It is a highly variable tree, being tall in favorable situations, and much smaller when growing in boggy soils or on basalt...

(koa-ōhia) forest. Its destruction was driven by an influx of European and American settlers in the early 19th century, as extensive logging during the 1830s provided lumber for new homes. Vast swathes of the forest were burned and cleared for sugar plantation
Sugar plantations in Hawaii
Sugarcane was introduced to Hawaii by its first inhabitants in approximately 600 AD and was observed by Captain Cook upon arrival in the islands in 1778. Sugar quickly turned into a big business and generated rapid population growth in the islands with 337,000 people immigrating over the span of a...

s. Most of the houses on the island were built of koa, and those parts of the forest that survived became a source for firewood to power boilers on the sugar plantations and to heat homes. The once vast forest had almost disappeared by 1880, and by 1900 logging interests had shifted to Kona
Kona District, Hawaii
Kona is the name of a moku or district on the Big Island of Hawaii in the State of Hawaii. In the current system of administration of Hawaii County, the moku of Kona is divided into North Kona District and South Kona District . The term "Kona" is sometimes used to refer to its largest town,...

 and the island of Maui
Maui
The island of Maui is the second-largest of the Hawaiian Islands at and is the 17th largest island in the United States. Maui is part of the state of Hawaii and is the largest of Maui County's four islands, bigger than Lānai, Kahoolawe, and Molokai. In 2010, Maui had a population of 144,444,...

. With the collapse of the sugar industry in the 1990s, much of this land lies fallow but portions are used for cattle grazing, small-scale farming and the cultivation of eucalyptus
Eucalyptus
Eucalyptus is a diverse genus of flowering trees in the myrtle family, Myrtaceae. Members of the genus dominate the tree flora of Australia...

 for wood pulp
Wood pulp
Pulp is a lignocellulosic fibrous material prepared by chemically or mechanically separating cellulose fibres from wood, fibre crops or waste paper. Wood pulp is the most common raw material in papermaking.-History:...

.

The Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge
Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge
Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge is a protected area on the Big Island of Hawaii. It is one of two units, along with the Kona Forest National Wildlife Refuge that is managed as part of the Big Island National Wildlife Refuge Complex...

 is a major koa forest reserve on Mauna Kea's windward slope. It was established in 1985, covering 32733 acre (13,247 ha) of ecosystem remnant. Eight endangered bird species, twelve endangered plants, and the endangered Hawaiian Hoary Bat
Hawaiian Hoary bat
The Hawaiian Hoary bat or Ōpeapea is a subspecies of the Hoary bat that is endemic to the Hawaiian Islands...

 (Lasiurus cinereus semotus) have been observed in the area, in addition to many other rare biota. The reserve has been the site of an extensive replanting campaign since 1989. Parts of the reserve show the effect of agriculture on the native ecosystem, as much of the land in the upper part of the reserve is abandoned farmland.

Bird species native to the acacia koa–ōhia forest include the [[ʻAlalā|Hawaiian Crow]] (Corvus hawaiiensis), the Akepa (Loxops coccineus), Hawaii Creeper (Oreomystis mana), [[ʻAkiapolaʻau|ʻAkiapōlāʻau]] (Hemignathus munroi), and Hawaiian Hawk
Hawaiian Hawk
The Hawaiian Hawk or Io, Buteo solitarius, is a raptor of the Buteo genus endemic to Hawaii. Buteos tend to be easily recognized by their bulky bodies relative to their overall length and wingspan. The Io is the only hawk that is native to Hawaii, and fossil evidence indicates that it inhabited...

 (Buteo solitarius), all of which are endangered, threatened, or near threatened; the Hawaiian Crow in particular is extinct in the wild
Extinct in the Wild
Extinct in the Wild is a conservation status assigned to species or lower taxa, the only known living members of which are being kept in captivity or as a naturalized population outside its historic range.-Examples:...

, but there are plans to reintroduce the species into the Hakalau reserve.

Summit observatories



Despite ongoing controversy, Mauna Kea's summit is one of the best sites in the world for astronomical observation
Observational astronomy
Observational astronomy is a division of the astronomical science that is concerned with getting data, in contrast with theoretical astrophysics which is mainly concerned with finding out the measurable implications of physical models...

 because a number of factors create favorable observing conditions. The atmosphere above the volcano is extremely dry, which is important for submillimeter
Submillimetre astronomy
Submillimetre astronomy or submillimeter astronomy is the branch of observational astronomy that is conducted at submillimetre wavelengths of the electromagnetic spectrum. Astronomers place the submillimetre waveband between the far-infrared and microwave wavebands, typically taken to be between a...

 and infrared
Infrared astronomy
Infrared astronomy is the branch of astronomy and astrophysics that studies astronomical objects visible in infrared radiation. The wavelength of infrared light ranges from 0.75 to 300 micrometers...

 astronomy because water vapor absorbs radiation in most of this region of the electromagnetic spectrum
Electromagnetic spectrum
The electromagnetic spectrum is the range of all possible frequencies of electromagnetic radiation. The "electromagnetic spectrum" of an object is the characteristic distribution of electromagnetic radiation emitted or absorbed by that particular object....

. The summit is above the inversion layer
Inversion (meteorology)
In meteorology, an inversion is a deviation from the normal change of an atmospheric property with altitude. It almost always refers to a temperature inversion, i.e...

 that separates lower maritime air from upper atmospheric air, keeping most cloud cover
Cloud cover
Cloud cover refers to the fraction of the sky obscured by clouds when observed from a particular location...

 below the summit and ensuring the air on the summit is dry, and free of atmospheric pollution. The summit atmosphere is exceptionally stable; this lack of turbulence
Turbulence
In fluid dynamics, turbulence or turbulent flow is a flow regime characterized by chaotic and stochastic property changes. This includes low momentum diffusion, high momentum convection, and rapid variation of pressure and velocity in space and time...

 creates some of the world's best astronomical seeing
Astronomical seeing
Astronomical seeing refers to the blurring and twinkling of astronomical objects such as stars caused by turbulent mixing in the Earth's atmosphere varying the optical refractive index...

. The very dark skies resulting from Mauna Kea's distance from city lights are preserved by legislation that minimizes light pollution
Light pollution
Light pollution, also known as photopollution or luminous pollution, is excessive or obtrusive artificial light.The International Dark-Sky Association defines light pollution as:...

 from the surrounding area; the darkness level allows the observation of faint astronomical object
Astronomical object
Astronomical objects or celestial objects are naturally occurring physical entities, associations or structures that current science has demonstrated to exist in the observable universe. The term astronomical object is sometimes used interchangeably with astronomical body...

s. These factors historically made Mauna Kea an excellent spot for stargazing.

In the 1950s, solar observatories
Solar observatory
A solar observatory is an observatory that specializes in monitoring the Sun. As such, they usually have one or more solar telescopes.The Einstein Tower was a solar observatory in the Albert Einstein Science Park in Potsdam, Germany....

 were built on Haleakalā
Haleakala
Haleakalā , or the East Maui Volcano, is a massive shield volcano that forms more than 75% of the Hawaiian Island of Maui. The western 25% of the island is formed by the West Maui Mountains.- History :...

 on Maui
Maui
The island of Maui is the second-largest of the Hawaiian Islands at and is the 17th largest island in the United States. Maui is part of the state of Hawaii and is the largest of Maui County's four islands, bigger than Lānai, Kahoolawe, and Molokai. In 2010, Maui had a population of 144,444,...

, as Mauna Kea was inaccessible by road above 12000 ft (3,657.6 m). In the early 1960s, the Hawaii Island Chamber of Commerce
Chamber of commerce
A chamber of commerce is a form of business network, e.g., a local organization of businesses whose goal is to further the interests of businesses. Business owners in towns and cities form these local societies to advocate on behalf of the business community...

 began encouraging astronomical development of Mauna Kea, as an economic stimulus; this coincided with University of Arizona
University of Arizona
The University of Arizona is a land-grant and space-grant public institution of higher education and research located in Tucson, Arizona, United States. The University of Arizona was the first university in the state of Arizona, founded in 1885...

 astronomer Gerard Kuiper
Gerard Kuiper
Gerard Peter Kuiper , Netherlands – December 24, 1973, Mexico City) was a Dutch-American astronomer after whom the Kuiper belt was named.-Early life:...

's search for sites at which to use the newly improved detectors of infrared light, spurred by the rapid development of infrared astronomy
Infrared astronomy
Infrared astronomy is the branch of astronomy and astrophysics that studies astronomical objects visible in infrared radiation. The wavelength of infrared light ranges from 0.75 to 300 micrometers...

. Site testing by Kuiper's assistant Alika Herring in 1964 confirmed the summit's outstanding suitability. An intense three-way competition for NASA
NASA
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is the agency of the United States government that is responsible for the nation's civilian space program and for aeronautics and aerospace research...

 funds to construct a large telescope began between Kuiper, Harvard University
Harvard University
Harvard University is a private Ivy League university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States, established in 1636 by the Massachusetts legislature. Harvard is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States and the first corporation chartered in the country...

, and the University of Hawaii
University of Hawaii
The University of Hawaii System, formally the University of Hawaii and popularly known as UH, is a public, co-educational college and university system that confers associate, bachelor, master, and doctoral degrees through three university campuses, seven community college campuses, an employment...

 (UH), which only had experience in solar astronomy. This culminated in funds being awarded to the "upstart" UH proposal. UH rebuilt its small astronomy department into a new Institute for Astronomy
Institute for Astronomy
The Institute for Astronomy is a research unit within the University of Hawaii system, led by Günther Hasinger as Director. IfA main headquarters are located at 2680 Woodlawn Drive in Honolulu, Hawaii, , on the University of Hawaii at Mānoa campus. Additional facilities are located at Pukalani,...

, and in 1968 the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources gave it a 65-year lease for all land within a 4 km (2 mi) radius of its telescope, essentially that above 11500 ft (3,505 m). On its completion in 1970, the UH 88 in (2.2 m)
UH88
The University of Hawai'i 88-inch telescope called UH88, UH2.2, or simply 88 by members of the local astronomical community is situated at the Mauna Kea Observatory and operated by the University's Institute for Astronomy...

 was the seventh largest optical/infrared telescope in the world.

Other groups began requesting subleases on the newly accessible mountaintop. By 1970, two 24 in (0.6096 m) telescopes had been constructed by the US Air Force and Lowell Observatory
Lowell Observatory
Lowell Observatory is an astronomical observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona. Lowell Observatory was established in 1894, placing it among the oldest observatories in the United States, and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1965....

. In 1973, Canada and France agreed to build the 3.6 m CFHT
Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope
The Canada–France–Hawaii Telescope is located near the summit of Mauna Kea mountain on Hawaii's Big Island at an altitude of 4,204 meters , and is one of the observatories that comprise the Mauna Kea Observatory...

 on Mauna Kea. However, local organisations started to raise concerns about the environmental impact of the observatory. This led the Department of Land and Natural Resources to prepare an initial management plan, drafted in 1977 and supplemented in 1980. In January 1982, the UH Board of Regents
Board of Regents
In the United States, a board often governs public institutions of higher education, which include both state universities and community colleges. In each US state, such boards may govern either the state university system, individual colleges and universities, or both. In general they operate as...

 approved a plan to support the continued development of scientific facilities at the site. In 1998, 2033 acre (823 ha) were transferred from the observatory lease to supplement the Mauna Kea Ice Age Reserve. The 1982 plan was replaced in 2000 by an extension designed to serve until 2020: it instituted an Office of Mauna Kea Management, designated 525 acre (212 ha) for astronomy, and shifted the remaining 10763 acre (4,356 ha) to "natural and cultural preservation". This plan was further revised to address concern expressed in the Hawaiian community that a lack of respect was being shown toward the cultural values of the mountain.

Today the Mauna Kea Science Reserve has 13 observation facilities, each funded by as many as 11 countries. It is the largest such complex in the world. There are nine telescopes working in the visible and infrared spectrum, three in the submillimeter spectrum, and one in the radio spectrum, with mirrors or dishes ranging from 0.9 m (3 ft) to 25 m (82 ft). In comparison, the Hubble Space Telescope
Hubble Space Telescope
The Hubble Space Telescope is a space telescope that was carried into orbit by a Space Shuttle in 1990 and remains in operation. A 2.4 meter aperture telescope in low Earth orbit, Hubble's four main instruments observe in the near ultraviolet, visible, and near infrared...

 has a 2.4 m (7.9 ft) mirror, similar in size to the UH88, now the second smallest telescope on the mountain. Planned new telescopes, including Pan-STARRS
Pan-STARRS
The Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System is a planned array of astronomical cameras and telescopes and computing facility that will survey the sky on a continual basis, including accurate astrometry and photometry of detected objects...

 and the enormous Thirty Meter Telescope
Thirty meter telescope
The Thirty Metre Telescope is a proposed ground-based large segmented mirror reflecting telescope to be built on Mauna Kea in Hawaii. The telescope is designed for observations from the near-ultraviolet to the mid-infrared . An adaptive optics system would correct for image blur caused by the...

, have attracted controversy due to their potential cultural and ecological impact. If built, they are expected to replace older facilities on the summit rather than breaking new ground; the multi-telescope "outrigger" extension to the Keck telescopes
Keck telescopes
The W. M. Keck Observatory is a two-telescope astronomical observatory at an elevation of near the summit of Mauna Kea in Hawai'i. The primary mirrors of each of the two telescopes are in diameter, making them the second largest optical telescopes in the world, slightly behind the Gran Telescopio...

, which required new sites, was denied its construction permit in 2006.

Climate



Recreation


Mauna Kea's coastline is dominated by the Hamakua
Hamakua
thumb|right|280px|Districts of [[Hawaii |Hawaii island]]: from northernmost, clockwise; [[Kohala, Hawaii|Kohala]], Hāmākua , [[Hilo, Hawaii|Hilo]], [[Puna, Hawaii|Puna]], [[Kau, Hawaii|Kaū]], [[Kona District, Hawaii|Kona]]...

 Coast, an area of rugged terrain created by frequent slumps and landslides on the volcano's flank. The area includes several recreation parks including Kalopa State Recreation Area
Kalopa State Recreation Area
The Kalōpā Native Forest State Park and Recreation Area is a state park with an arboretum of native trees located approximately northwest of Hilo, near the village of Honokaa, a few miles inland from the Mamalahoa Highway section of the Hawaii Belt Road, Island of Hawaii, Hawaii.This park...

, Wailuku River State Park and Akaka Falls State Park
Akaka Falls State Park
Akaka Falls State Park is a state park on Hawaii Island, in the US state of Hawaii.The park is about north from Hilo, west of Honomū off the Hawaii Belt Road at the end of Hawaii Route 220, . It includes Akaka Falls, a tall waterfall. Akaka in the Hawaiian language means "A rent, split, chink,...

.

There are over 3,000 registered hunters on Hawaii island, and hunting, for both recreation and sustenance, is a common activity on Mauna Kea. A public hunting program is used to control the numbers of introduced animals including pigs, sheep, goats, turkey, pheasant
Pheasant
Pheasants refer to some members of the Phasianinae subfamily of Phasianidae in the order Galliformes.Pheasants are characterised by strong sexual dimorphism, males being highly ornate with bright colours and adornments such as wattles and long tails. Males are usually larger than females and have...

s, and quail
Quail
Quail is a collective name for several genera of mid-sized birds generally considered in the order Galliformes. Old World quail are found in the family Phasianidae, while New World quail are found in the family Odontophoridae...

. The Mauna Kea State Recreation Area
Mauna Kea State Recreation Area
Mauna Kea State Recreation Area also known as Mauna Kea State Park, is a state of Hawaii protected area at the southern base of Mauna Kea.The park is administered by the Hawai'i Department of Land and Natural Resources....

 functions as a base camp for the sport. Birdwatching
Birdwatching
Birdwatching or birding is the observation of birds as a recreational activity. It can be done with the naked eye, through a visual enhancement device like binoculars and telescopes, or by listening for bird sounds. Birding often involves a significant auditory component, as many bird species are...

 is also common at lower levels on the mountain. A popular site is Kīpuka Pu'u Huluhulu, a kīpuka
Kipuka
A kīpuka is an area of land completely surrounded by one or more younger lava flows. A kīpuka forms when lava flows on either side of a hill, ridge, or older lava dome as it moves downslope or spreads from its source. Older and more weathered than their surroundings, kīpukas often appear to be like...

 on Mauna Kea's flank that formed when lava flows isolated the forest on a hill.

Mauna Kea's great elevation and the steepness of its flanks provide a better view and a shorter hike than the adjacent Mauna Loa. The high elevation with its risk of altitude sickness
Altitude sickness
Altitude sickness—also known as acute mountain sickness , altitude illness, hypobaropathy, or soroche—is a pathological effect of high altitude on humans, caused by acute exposure to low partial pressure of oxygen at high altitude...

, weather concerns, steep road grade, and overall inaccessibility make the volcano dangerous and summit trips difficult. Until the construction of roads in the mid-20th century, only the hardy visited Mauna Kea's upper slopes; hunters tracked game animals, and hikers traveled up the mountain. These travelers used stone cabins constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps
Civilian Conservation Corps
The Civilian Conservation Corps was a public work relief program that operated from 1933 to 1942 in the United States for unemployed, unmarried men from relief families, ages 18–25. A part of the New Deal of President Franklin D...

 in the 1930s as base camps, and it is from these facilities that the modern mid-level Onizuka Center for International Astronomy
Onizuka Center for International Astronomy
The Onizuka Center for International Astronomy, also known as Hale Pōhaku, is a complex of support facilities for the telescopes and other instruments that comprise the Mauna Kea Observatory atop Mauna Kea, on Hawaii island.-History:...

 telescope support complex is derived. The first Mauna Kea summit road was built in 1964, making the peak itself accessible to larger numbers of people.

Today, multiple hiking trails exist, including the Mauna Kea Trail
Mauna Kea Trail
The Mauna Kea Trail is considered the easiest route to hike to the summit of Mauna Kea volcano, the highest volcano on the island of Hawai. The trail is long and loosely follows an unmaintained dirt road...

, and by 2007 over 100,000 tourists and 32,000 vehicles were going each year to the Visitor Information Station adjacent to the Onizuka Center for International Astronomy. The Mauna Kea Access Road is paved up to the Center at 2804 m (9,199 ft). One study reported that around a third of visitors and two thirds of professional astronomers working on the mountain have experienced symptoms of acute altitude sickness; visitors traveling up the volcano's flanks are advised to stop for at least half an hour and preferably longer at the visitor center to acclimate to the higher elevation. Driving all the way to the top requires a four-wheel drive
Four-wheel drive
Four-wheel drive, 4WD, or 4×4 is a four-wheeled vehicle with a drivetrain that allows all four wheels to receive torque from the engine simultaneously...

 vehicle, and brakes often overheat on the way down. Between 5,000 and 6,000 people visit the summit of Mauna Kea each year, and to help ensure safety, and protect the integrity of the mountain, a ranger program
Park ranger
A park ranger or forest ranger is a person entrusted with protecting and preserving parklands – national, state, provincial, or local parks. Different countries use different names for the position. Ranger is the favored term in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. Within the United...

 was implemented in 2001.

Because of snow cover in January and February, Mauna Kea can occasionally be skied. There are no facilities, and winds can reach speeds of 80–110 km/h (49.7–68.4 mph), but skiing remains a common pastime for some island residents. The most popular location is the Poi Bowl, just east of the Caltech Submillimeter Observatory
Caltech Submillimeter Observatory
The Caltech Submillimeter Observatory is a diameter submillimeter wavelength telescope situated alongside the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope at Mauna Kea Observatory. It is engaged in submillimeter astronomy, of the terahertz radiation band.The CSO and JCMT were combined to form the first...

, where competitions are held once or twice a year, depending on weather conditions.

See also


  • List of peaks by prominence (15th)
  • List of U.S. states by elevation (6th, by highest point)
  • Mountain peaks of the United States
    Mountain peaks of the United States
    This article comprises three sortable tables of the major mountain peaks of the United States of America.Topographic elevation is the vertical distance above the reference geoid, a precise mathematical model of the Earth's sea level as an equipotential gravitational surface...

    • Table of the most isolated major summits of the United States (2nd)
    • Table of the ultra-prominent summits of the United States (2nd)

External links



Geology
  • Mauna Kea Summary. Global Volcanism Program
    Global Volcanism Program
    The Smithsonian Institution's Global Volcanism Program documents Earth's volcanoes and their eruptive history over the past 10,000 years. The GVP reports on current eruptions from around the world as well as maintaining a database repository on active volcanoes and their eruptions. In this way, a...

    .
  • Mauna Kea. Hawaii Center for Volcanology
    Hawaiian Volcano Observatory
    The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory is a volcano observatory located at Uwekahuna Bluff on the rim of Kīlauea Caldera on the Island of Hawaii. The observatory monitors four active Hawaiian volcanoes: Kīlauea, Mauna Loa, Hualālai, and Haleakalā...

    .

Astronomy and culture
Ecology and management