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No. 3

WAIMEA CANYON (KAUAI)


Hawaii’s “Grand Canyon of the Pacific” owes its beauty to natural events that occurred in one cataclysmic volcanic moment, then slowly over millions of years. Four million years ago, as steady volcanic activity from the Kauai’s dominant peak Mount Waialeale was still growing the island, a huge section of land collapsed creating a massive depression. Fresh lava filled the depression until Kauai’s eruptive life ended. In the aftermath, rainwater coursed down the Waimea River from Waialeale’s peak—one of the wettest places on earth —  and gradually turned exposed lava rock from black to bright and deep reds. (The word “waimea” is Hawaiian for reddish water, tinted by the iron-rich volcanic soil.) The breathtaking canyon measures 14 miles long.


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