Oahu Map | Map of Oahu
The different Hawaiian islands have different geographic infrastructures. Kaua‘i is made up of one giant extinct volcano. Maui has two (one of them still barely alive). The Big Island lives up to its name, consisting of a staggering five volcanoes, only one of which is extinct (though only two of them are active enough for us to see in our lifetime). On O‘ahu, it took two now-extinct volcanoes to create this paradise. (The second one is probably extinct.) Wai‘anae in the west poked above the water 2.2 million years ago, followed a million years later by its younger sibling, Ko‘olau, in the east. Ko‘olau (called the Ko‘olau Mountains locally, even though it’s really only one long mountain) is shorter—peaking at 3,150 feet, but it’s over 30 miles long. What’s most impressive is that it’s only half the original mountain. The other half has been erased by ceaseless erosion. The top of the older volcano, Wai‘anae, is called Mount Ka‘ala and towers 4,025 feet above the ocean.
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