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Hawaii is a unique state for many reasons. It is the only one of the United States that is made up of several islands. It’s the only state that is separated by the Pacific Ocean. It is also the only state that is still growing, literally. Because of the unique way the islands were formed, coming up from under the water, more islands are literally growing out of the ocean as we speak. The reason? Volcanoes. They are adding land to the group of islands.

Why? The Hawaiian islands are located in the middle of the North Pacific, just south of the Tropic of Cancer. Volcanoes come from the underground. That coupled with being surrounded by water makes for the possibility of many eruptions.

The Volcanoes on the island are shield volcanoes. Like the islands that come out of the water, the volcanoes are formed by a group of eruptions that together build a dome. When the dome comes in contact with the sea and the air, it becomes explosive because of the temperature change and the increase of oxygen. Inside the dome is lava, specifically basaltic lava. It is made of silica, iron oxide, magnesia and lime. When the volcano erupts it spews lava onto the land. The lava will stay in the area with help of wind and rain will become part of the landscape. Because of the volcanoes coming from under the water, more land is created because of lava deposits.

Still today, many volcanoes are forming on and around the Hawaiian Islands. Others that are already well formed do continue to erupt and spew lava depending on the time of year and the weather conditions. Most of the volcanoes that are well formed are not near major cities and are tourist attractions. While very beautiful they can also be very dangerous. So if you ever get a chance to visit the islands make sure to check out the volcanoes, both old and new. But keep in mind, stay far away from these natural wonders. From a safe distance- enjoy the view!