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|The Big Island|
Landsat mosaic, 1999–2001.
Location in the state of Hawaii.
|Area||4,028.0 sq mi (10,432 km2)|
|Rank||1st, largest Hawaiian Island|
|Highest point||Mauna Kea|
|Max elevation||13,796 ft. (4,205 m)|
|Population||185,079 (as of 2010)|
|Density||46/sq mi (17,7/km²)|
|Flower||Red Pua Lehua ('Ohi'a blossom)|
The Island of Hawaiʻi, also called the Big Island or Hawaiʻi Island (pron.: // or //; Hawaiian: [həˈwɐiʔi] or [həˈvɐiʔi]), is the largest and the southeastern-most of the Hawaiian islands, a chain of volcanic islands in the North Pacific Ocean. With an area of 4,028 square miles (10,430 km2), it is larger than all of the other islands in the archipelago combined and is the largest island in the United States. The island is coterminous with the County of Hawaiʻi within the American state of Hawaii. The island of Hawaiʻi is known as the "Big Island" to reduce confusion between island and the state.
Hawaiʻi is said to have been named for Hawaiʻiloa, the legendary Polynesian navigator who first discovered it. Other accounts attribute the name to the legendary realm of Hawaiki, a place from which the Polynesian people are said to have originated (see also Manua), the place where they go in the afterlife, the realm of the gods and goddesses. Captain James Cook, the European claims to discover the Hawaiian islands and call them the "Sandwich Islands", was killed on the Big Island at Kealakekua Bay.
Hawaiʻi was the home island of Paiʻea Kamehameha, later known as Kamehameha the Great. Kamehameha united most of the Hawaiian islands under his rule in 1795, after several years of war, and gave the kingdom and the island chain the name of his native island.
Geology and geography 
In greatest dimension, the island is 93 miles (150 km) across and has a land area of 4,028 square miles (10,430 km2) comprising 62% of the Hawaiian Islands' land area. Measured from its sea floor base to its highest peak, Mauna Kea is the world's tallest mountain, taller than Mount Everest is above sea level.
The Island of Hawaiʻi is built from five separate shield volcanoes that erupted somewhat sequentially, one overlapping the other. These are (from oldest to youngest):
Geological evidence from exposures of old surfaces on the south and west flanks of Mauna Loa led to the proposal that two ancient volcanic shields (named Ninole and Kulani) were all but buried by the younger Mauna Loa. Geologists now consider these "outcrops" to be part of the earlier building of Mauna Loa. Another volcano which has already disappeared below the surface of the ocean is Māhukona.
Because Mauna Loa and Kīlauea are active volcanoes, the island of Hawaii is still growing. Between January 1983 and September 2002, lava flows added 543 acres (220 ha) to the island. Lava flowing from Kīlauea has destroyed several towns, including Kapoho in 1960, and Kalapana and Kaimu in 1990. In 1987 lava filled in Queen's Bath, a large, L-shaped, freshwater pool in the Kalapana area.
The southmost point in the 50 States of the United States, Ka Lae, is on Hawaii. The nearest landfall to the south is in the Line Islands. To the north of the Island of Hawaii is the Island of Maui, whose Haleakala volcano is visible from Hawaii across the Alenuihaha Channel.
About 35 km (22 mi) southeast of Hawaii lies the undersea volcano known as Loihi. Loihi is an erupting seamount that now reaches about 3,200 feet (980 m) below the surface of the ocean. Continued activity from Loihi will likely cause it to break the surface of the ocean sometime from 10,000 to 100,000 years from now.
The Great Crack 
The Great Crack is an eight-mile-long, 60 feet (18 m) wide and 60 feet (18 m) deep fissure in the island, in the district of Kau. According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), The Great Crack is the result of crustal dilation from magmatic intrusions into the southwest rift zone of Kilauea. While neither the earthquake of 1868 nor that of 1975 caused a measurable change in The Great Crack, lava welled out of the lower 10 kilometers (6.2 mi) of the Great Crack in 1823.
The visitor can find trails, rock walls, and archaeological sites from as old as the 12th century around the Great Crack. Approximately 1,951 acres (7.90 km2) of private land were purchased during the Presidency of Bill Clinton, specifically to protect various artifacts in this area as well as the habitat of local wildlife.
The Hilina Slump 
The Hilina Slump is a 4,760 cubic miles (19,800 km3) chunk of the south slope of the Kīlauea volcano which is slipping away from the island. Between 1990 and 1993, Global Positioning System (GPS) measurements showed a southward displacement of about 10 centimeters (four inches) per year. Undersea measurements show that a "bench" has formed a buttress and that this buttress may tend to reduce the likelihood of future catastrophic detachment.
Earthquakes and tsunamis 
On April 2, 1868, an earthquake with a magnitude estimated between 7.25 and 7.9 on the Richter scale rocked the southeast coast of Hawaii. This was the most destructive earthquake in the recorded history of Hawaii. It triggered a landslide on Mauna Loa, five miles (eight kilometers) north of Pahala, killing 31 people. A tsunami claimed 46 more lives. The villages of Punaluu, Ninole, Kawaa, Honuapo, and Keauhou Landing were severely damaged. The tsunami reportedly rolled over the tops of the coconut trees up to 60 feet (18 m) high, and it reached inland a distance of a quarter of a mile in some places.
On November 29, 1975, a 37-mile (60 km) wide section of the Hilina Slump dropped 11.5 feet (3.7 meters) and slid 26 feet (7.9 m) toward the ocean. This movement caused a 7.2 magnitude earthquake and a 48 feet (10 m) high tsunami. Oceanfront property was washed off its foundations in Punaluu. Two deaths were reported at Halape, and 19 other people were injured.
The island suffered tsunami damage from earthquakes in Alaska on April 1, 1946, and in Chile on May 23, 1960. Downtown Hilo was severely damaged by both tsunami, with many lives lost. Just north of Hilo, Laupahoehoe lost 16 schoolchildren and five teachers in the tsunami of 1946.
In March 2011, a 9.0 magnitude earthquake off the east coast of Japan again created a tsunami that caused significant damage in Hawaii. The estimated damage to public buildings alone was about three million dollars. In the Kona area this tsunami washed a house into Kealakekua Bay, destroyed yacht club and tour boat offices in Keauhou Bay, caused extensive damage in Kailua Kona, flooded the ground floor of the King Kamehameha Hotel, and permanently closed the Kona Village Resort.
As of 2010[update], the island had a resident population of 185,079 There were 64,382 households in the county. The population density was 17.7/km² (45.9/mi²). There were 82,324 housing units at an average density of 8/km² (20/mi²). The racial makeup of the county was 34.5% White, 0.7% African American, 22.6% Asian, 12.4% Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander, and 29.2% from two or more races; 11.8% of the population were Hispanics or Latinos of any race
There were 64,382 households out of which 32.20% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.60% were married couples living together, 13.20% had a woman whose husband did not live with her, and 30.40% were non-families. 23.10% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.00% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.75 and the average family size was 3.24.
The age distribution was 26.10% under 18, 8.20% from 18 to 24, 26.20% from 25 to 44, 26.00% from 45 to 64, and 13.50% who were 65 or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 100 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 98 males.
Most of Hawaiʻi Island's economy is based on tourism, centered primarily in resort areas on the western coast of the island in the North Kona and South Kohala districts. More recently, Hawaiʻi Island has become a focus for sustainable tourism.
Diversified agriculture is a growing sector of the economy. Major crops include Macadamia nuts, papaya, flowers, tropical and temperate vegetables, and coffee beans. Only coffee grown in the Kona District of this island may be branded Kona coffee. The island's orchid agriculture is the largest in the state, and resulted in the unofficial nickname "The Orchid Isle." The island is home to one of the United States' largest cattle ranches: Parker Ranch, on 175,000 acres (708 km2) in Waimea. Hawaiʻi is also known for astronomy, and numerous telescopes are operated on the summit of Mauna Kea, where atmospheric clarity is excellent and there is little light pollution.
Places of interest 
- Akaka Falls; the second tallest waterfall on the island.
- Amy B. H. Greenwell Ethnobotanical Garden houses many endangered endemic plants.
- East Hawaiʻi Cultural Center
- Hawaiʻi Tropical Botanical Garden
- Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park; comprising the active volcanoes Kīlauea and Mauna Loa
- Huliheʻe Palace; a royal palace in Kailua-Kona
- ʻImiloa Astronomy Center of Hawaiʻi in Hilo
- Ka Lae, the southernmost point in the United States
- Laupahoehoe Train Museum
- Lyman House Memorial Museum in Hilo
- Manuka State Wayside Park
- Mauna Kea Observatory; Mauna Kea Observatories
- Nani Mau Gardens
- Onizuka Center for International Astronomy
- Onizuka Space Center; museum dedicated to the memory of Challenger astronaut Ellison Onizuka located in Kona's Keahole Airport
- Pacific Tsunami Museum overlooking Hilo Bay
- Pana'ewa Rainforest Zoo in Hilo
- Pua Mau Place Arboretum and Botanical Garden
- Puʻuhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park
- Rainbow Falls State Park
- Sadie Seymour Botanical Gardens
- Umauma Falls
- University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo Botanical Gardens
- World Botanical Gardens
- Waipiʻo Valley
- Wao Kele o Puna
Cities and towns 
The island was traditionally divided into districts called moku. The names of the districts are (counter-clockwise, from the southeast): Puna, Hilo, Hāmākua, Kohala, Kona, and Kaʻū. The county government subdivides some of these to form elective districts of the county council. There are no incorporated municipalities on the island. Some of the named towns include:
Colleges and universities 
- State highways 19 & 190, the northern route via Waimea
- State highway 11, the southern route via Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
There are also State highways 270 (Kawaihae – Hawi) and 180 (the "Kona coffee road", from Honalo to State highway 190), Saddle Road (Hilo to Waimea, passing between Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea), South Point Road (Highway 11 to South Point), etc.
There are presently three Hawaii Scenic Byways on the island of Hawaii:
- Mamalahoa Kona Heritage Center
- Royal Footsteps Along the Kona Coast
- Ka'u Scenic Byway – The Slopes of Mauna Loa
Two commercial airports serve Hawaiʻi Island:
There is also:
See also 
- "Hawaii Island Flower - Red Pua Lehua ('Ohi'a blossom)". statesymbolsusa.org. State Symbols USA. July 31, 2012. Retrieved August 3, 2012.
- According to the Geographic Names Information System, Island of Hawaiʻi is the preferred name, see U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Island of Hawaiʻi.
- "Table 5.08 – Land Area of Islands: 2000" (PDF). State of Hawaii Data Book. State of Hawaii. 2004. Retrieved 2010-02-12.
- Highest Mountain In The World
- MacDonald, G. A.; Abbott, A. T. (1970). Volcanoes in the Sea. Honolulu: University of Hawaiʻi Press. ISBN 0870224956.
- Are We Breaking Away – The Great Crack, USGS, July 16, 1998.
- Owen, Susan; Segal, Paul; Freymueller, Jeff; et al. (1995). "Rapid Deformation of the South Flank of Kilauea Volcano, Hawaii". Science 267 (5202): 1328–1332. Bibcode:1995Sci...267.1328O. doi:10.1126/science.267.5202.1328.
- Morgan, J. K.; Moore, G. F.; Clague, D. A. (2003). "Slope failure and volcanic spreading along the submarine south flank of Kilauea volcano, Hawaii". Journal of Geophysical Research 108 (B9): 2415. Bibcode:2003JGRB..108.2415M. doi:10.1029/2003JB002411.
- "Hawaiian Landslides – Slope failure on Kilauea's submarine south flank (Subsection)". Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute. Retrieved 2009-09-15.
- Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (26 October 2006) "Destructive Earthquakes in Hawai`i County Since 1868". Retrieved 21 Mar 2012
- Walter C. Dudley (1998). Tsunami! (second ed.). University of Hawaii Press. pp. 222–224. ISBN 978-0-8248-1969-9.
- Nakaso, Dan (14 March 2011) "Tsunami damage estimate for Hawaii now tens of millions". Star Advertiser, Retrieved 15 Mar 2011
- "King Kamehameha Hotel is new and improved after last year's tsunami". KHON2. Retrieved 1 April 2012.
- The maps in the This Week Big Island Magazine
- Hele-On Bus website retrieved 2009-045-08
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- Hawaii (island) at the Open Directory Project
- Hawaii State overview
- The West Hawaii Today
- Hawaii Tribune-Herald – East Hawaiʻi Newspaper
- Big Island Video News – video news for Hawaiʻi island
- Hawaii Weather Today – Glenn's daily Weather Narrative
- Pacific Disaster Center – The Source for Daily Pacific Disaster News
- http://hvo.wr.usgs.gov/earthquakes/destruct/1975Nov29/ – Hilina Slump information from Hawai'i Volcanoes Observatory
- Hawaii Scenic Byways Information