Haleakala Crater, Haleakala National Park, Maui

ID 1850

Haleakala Crater occupies the summit region (3055 m) of east Maui, Hawaii. Although Pleistocene and Holocene volcanic rocks are exposed in the walls and floor of Haleakala Crater, it is actually a large erosional depression (12 km long, 4 km wide, and 1000 m deep). The crater walls contain isolated exposures of early-stage tholeiitic lava flows and extensive exposures of late-stage alkalic lava flows. After cessation of volcanism, two large stream valleys eroded headward into the mountain, eventually merging into a single large depression. Haleakala Crater is partially filled with cinder cones and lava flows. About 20 eruptions are thought to have taken place within the crater during the past 2,500 years. Mauna Kea (left) and Mauna Loa (right) shield volcanoes on the Big Island of Hawaii rise above the crater rim in the distant background.

Published as cover photograph on Geology, October 1996.

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