A beautiful group of volcanic islands in the Pacific Ocean form the State of Hawaii. Unlike the continental United States, Hawaii is unique in that volcanoes are entirely responsible for the land form’s existence. There are 8 major islands, with the Big Island of Hawaii being the largest, and several smaller islets. Hawaii is composed of volcanic rock and home to several volcanoes. Read ahead to learn about how many volcanoes are in Hawaii, in addition to which are active, dormant or extinct.
Active, Dormant or Extinct?
With volcanoes present all over the world—some located near large human populations—it is important for scientists to monitor them in order to help predict and prepare for any eruptions. Eruptions can be catastrophic and cause large-scale destruction, as seen with the latest May 2018 eruption of Kilauea. Volcanoes are classified in three categories, depending on levels of activity. Active: Has erupted in recent history. In Hawaii, this means sometime in the last 200 years. Dormant: Hasn’t erupted within the last 200 years, but will probably erupt again in the future. Extinct: Has been cut off from the magma supply, so it will never erupt again.
How Many Volcanoes Are in Hawaii?
The Big Island of Hawaii is made up 5 volcanoes:
- Mauna Loa
- Mauna Kea
Three of these volcanoes are active, one dormant and the other is extinct. There are also two other active volcanoes: Haleakala on the Island of Maui and Lo’ihi—a submarine volcano.
Mauna Loa is the largest volcano on the island and one of the most active in the world, erupting 33 times since 1843. The last eruption was in 1984. Kilauea is the most active volcano in Hawaii. It has been erupting almost constantly since 1983. Hualalai last erupted in 1801. Though it has shown very little activity since then, it is still active and likely to erupt again. Haleakala is also known as the East Maui Volcano. The last eruption is thought to have been in the 18th century. Lo’ihi is a submarine volcano, 24 km East of Hawaii Island. It has not emerged above sea level yet. The last eruption was in 1996 with intermittent activity since then.
Mauna Kea is at 4,207m (13,802ft) above sea level and forms the highest point in Hawaii. It is the fourth oldest volcano on the island and is now dormant. The Mauna Kea Observatories are located on the summit.
Kohala is the oldest volcano on the Hawaii island. Found in the North of the island, the last eruption was around 60,000 years ago.
See How Volcanoes are Forming Hawaii from the Sky
If you’re planning a trip to Hawaii and have a curiosity to see these magnificent volcanoes in action, consider taking a Doors Off Helicopter tour. Fly through the rainforest and over bubbling lava—all without doors on the ‘copter!
“Going no-doors is unforgettable! Feeling the heat of lava isn’t something you do every day. Plus, this tour was about so much more than the volcano. The views we got were spectacular. The pilot made sure everyone got to see the same things from several perspectives. We saw macadamia farms, Hilo’s harbor, Rainbow Falls, the Kilauea Volcano. We were fortunate to see molten lava streams – it was incredible to watch the lava flow into the ocean. It is unpredictable to know in advance what the flows will look like on any given day.” —Braylen, satisfied Tropical Helicopters passenger.
If you want to count how many volcanoes are in Hawaii for yourself, check out the Hawaii Circle Island Experience to see all five volcanoes on one tour. Book a Doors-Off Volcano Helicopter tour now and save $65 a seat!