Hawaiian Islands

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

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.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Cetacean abundance in the Hawaiian Islands EEZ was estimated by using a multiple-covariate line-transect approach (Buckland et al., 2001; Marques and Buckland, 2004).
What gives the Hawaiian islands its distinct shape?
The crew of the 200-meter cargo ship Manukai was trying to help the three people on the 13-meter sailboat transfer to a life raft, spokeswoman Petty Officer Melissa McKenzie said, adding that previous rescue attempts failed because of rough weather in the area nearly 700 kilometers northeast of the Hawaiian island of Oahu.
According to Mashable, images of the five remote islands, Tern Island and East Island at French Frigate Shoals, Laysan Island, Lisianski Island, and Pearl and Hermes Atoll, cover 20 miles located within the Hawaiian Islands National Wildlife Refuge.
The Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, whose reefs and shores are deluged by plastic debris, have long been a haven for marine wildlife.
There are only about 1,100 Hawaiian monk seals left in the wild, including 150 to 200 in the main Hawaiian Islands.
Under the new agreement, Virgin Australia's international airline V Australia will codeshare on Hawaiian operated flights between Australia and the Hawaiian Islands from 31 October.
All the way from the tropical, picturesque Hawaiian islands, Alan Pedersen, general manager of Sandwich Isles Communications (SIC; Honolulu, Hawaii), stopped by NTCA's Arlington, Va., office on January 14 to meet with staff and offer some insights about his company.
Alaska Airlines currently offers 42 flights a week to four of the Hawaiian Islands from its hub in Seattle.
Through a partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, HIMB scientists travel to the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands to conduct ecosystem-based science to help inform the management of this place.
For 150 years, Laysan ducks were restricted to an estimated 4 [km.sup.2] of land on Laysan Island in the northwestern Hawaiian Islands. In 2004 and 2005, 42 Laysan ducks were translocated to Midway Atoll, and the population increased to approximately 200 by 2007.

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