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Diamond Head State Monument, Oahu

Waikiki and Honolulu viewed from Diamond Head

Framing the skyscrapers of Honolulu, the outline of Diamond Head is a readily identifiable landmark, recognized as a U.S. National Natural Monument in 1968.  It’s a volcanic tuft cone know to the locals as Le’ahi; the name “Diamond Head” was bestowed by 19th century British sailors who thought the calcite crystals on the adjoining beach were diamonds.  

Diamond Head State Monument encompasses over 475 acres, including the interior and outer slopes of the crater.  An average of 3,000 people visit the crater every day, making it one of the most visited sites in Hawaii.

The Hawaiian Islands were formed by volcanic eruptions and on all of the islands you’ll find cones, vents, and eruption flows within the lava rock.  These are all …

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“Pic of the Week”, February 27, 2015: Silversword, Hawaii


Among the pleasures of being atop Hawaii’s giant volcanoes — Haleakala on Maui, and Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa on the Big Island — are the unusual things you see.  Standing on an otherworldly landscape of reddish-brown or gray-black lava rock, the views over the clouds are often breath-taking.  You can often see the Big Island from the top of Haleakala, and Maui from Mauna Kea.

If you divert your eyes from the magnificent views to the ground, you’re likely to see this rare gray-silver spikey plant known as “Hawaiian Silversword”.  It only grows in Hawaii and then only a mile or more above sea level.  Your best chances of seeing it are on the giant volcanoes.  The climate up here is harsh — …

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