Waimea Canyon Kauai
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Waimea Canyon, Kaua‘i

December 21, 2003
Waimea Canyon is a spectacular gorge on the island of Kaua‘i. Roughly 3,600 feet (1097 meters) deep and 10 miles (16 km) long, it is one of the most scenic regions of the Hawai‘ian islands. The canyon has a unique geologic history—it was formed not only by the steady process of erosion, but also by a catastrophic collapse of the volcano that created Kaua‘i. Like the other Hawai‘ian islands, Kaua‘i is the top of an enormous volcano rising from the ocean floor. With lava flows dated to about 5 million years ago, Kaua‘i is the oldest of the large Hawai‘ian islands. Roughly 4 million years ago, while Kaua‘i was still erupting almost continually, a portion of the island collapsed. This collapse formed a depression, which then filled with lava flows. This is a Landsat image.

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