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Hawaii Island

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Hawaii, largest of the Hawaiian Islands and largest island in the United States, located in southeastern Hawaii, in the central Pacific Ocean. The island is the southernmost and most easterly of the Hawaiian Islands and is separated from Maui and Kahoolawe islands by the Alenuihaha Channel. The island is triangular in shape and has a coastline of about 428 km (about 266 mi). Like the other islands of the Hawaiian chain, Hawaii was formed by volcanic action and is extremely mountainous. The dominant feature of the terrain is a series of volcanoes, linked by lava ridges that range from about 900 to 2100 m (about 3000 to 7000 ft) in height. The highest of the volcanoes is Mauna Kea, 4205 m (13,796 ft) above sea level, and now inactive. South of Mauna Kea is Mauna Loa, one of the world's largest volcanoes. Its elevation is 4,170 m (13,680 ft). Kilauea, which projects from the side of Mauna Loa, is frequently active. A notable eruption of Kilauea which is included with Mauna Loa in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, occurred in 1969. Kilauea's current eruption cycle, which began in 1983, is the longest-running in modern Hawaiian history. Earthquake tremors are frequently felt in Hawaii, and seismic sea waves caused great damage in 1946 and 1960. The island has considerable scenic beauty, an equable climate, extensive transportation facilities, and numerous vacation resorts. Coffee, cane sugar, and pineapples are the leading products. Energy, aquatic, and astronomical research are also important to the economy. Hilo is the island's administrative center, largest community, and principal seaport. Area, 10,458 sq km (4038 sq mi); population (1980) 92,053; (1990) 120,317.

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