Hawaiian Islands

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Hawaiian Islands

 

(also known as the Sandwich Islands), an archipelago in the central Pacific Ocean (18°50′-28°15′ N lat., 154°40′-178°15′ E long.). The largest archipelago in Polynesia; it consists of 24 islands extending more than 3,600 km from west northwest to east southeast. The major islands are Hawaii, Maui, Molokai, Oahu, Kauai, Niihau, Lanai, and Kahoolawe, all of which are mountainous; the other islands are small and low-lying. There are atolls in the northwest. The Hawaiian Islands are located over an underwater mountain range and are the highest active volcanoes on earth. The extinct volcano Mauna Kea (4,205 m) is the highest point on the islands. There is still volcanic activity on the island of Hawaii.

The climate of the Hawaiian Islands is maritime tropical. Average monthly temperatures range from 18° C in February to 25° C in August, and there is snow on the high mountain peaks in winter. The northeast trade winds bring precipitation that falls primarily on the windward slopes of the mountains. The annual precipitation on the high mountainous islands is from 3,500-4,000 mm to 12,500 mm (on Kauai, one of the wettest areas in the world). Surface drainage is poor because the precipitation is absorbed by the lava; there is a river network only on the largest islands.

The flora and fauna of the islands are distinguished by their high endemism and the unusualness of the species composition. About 90 percent of the plant species are endemic. Tropical rain forest covers the windward slopes from elevations of 600-700 m to 1,600-1,700 m. Low-growing mountain forest continues up to 3,000 m, and shrubs and ferns cover higher elevations. There are savannas and sparse growths of trees on the dry southwestern slopes. Sugarcane, pineapple, banana, and other tropical crop plantations occupy the coastal lowlands and the lower mountain slopes. The timber-line has been lowered as a result of the clearing of the forests for coffee plantations. The fauna belongs to the Hawaiian subregion of the Australian zoogeographic region.

L. A. MIKHAILOVA

References in periodicals archive ?
Thus, an accurate knowledge of fern and lycophyte diversity in the Hawaiian Islands is important for both basic ecological and evolutionary studies and for conservation management purposes.
Local minister, the Rev Catherine Minor, has made the reverse journey, to spend six weeks preaching in the communities of West Kauai, the fourth largest of the Hawaiian islands.
2) The aircraft floats at the surface of the ocean after the June 26, 2003, crash off the coast of the Hawaiian island of Kauai that was determined to have been caused by normal turbulence.
The designation covers 14 units whose boundaries encompass an area of approximately 272 acres (110 ha) on the Hawaiian island of Kaua'i.
Kauai cave wolf spider (Adelocosa anops) and Kauai cave amphipod (Spelaeorchestia koloana), two invertebrates known only from the Hawaiian island of Kaua'i, on March 27;
Today, both of these creatures are highly endangered, and the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands are their last refuge on earth.
Jessica and Eric are eyeing the Hawaiian island of Kauai for the reception for around 60 family and friends," Contactmusic quoted a source as telling Life and Style magazine.
The cruise takes you to all the Hawaiian islands with special land excursions on each.
7, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Changing human activities coupled with a dynamic environment over the past few centuries have caused fluctuating periods of decline and recovery of corals reefs in the Hawaiian Islands, according to a study sponsored in part by the Institute for Ocean Conservation Science at Stony Brook University.
In 1909, President Roosevelt established the Hawaiian Island Reservation, and he did so to protect native seabirds from being hunted.
LANAI CITY, Hawaii - You gain a greater appreciation for the Hawaiian island of Lanai about the instant you leave it.
For geologists, the lush Hawaiian island of Kauai has always stood as a classic example of how a single volcano can build a towering monolith from the seafloor.

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