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17 Facts About Mauna Kea

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Mauna Kea, is a dormant volcano on the island of Hawaii.

The full ascent to the summit of Mauna Kea in Hawaii by car by Kwai Chi

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Standing 4,207 m above sea level, its peak is the highest point in the state of Hawaii making the island of Hawaii the second highest island in the world.

Snow in Hawaii - Mauna Kea by gkourounis

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Most of the mountain is underwater; when measured from its oceanic base, Mauna Kea is over 10,000 m tall and is the tallest mountain on Earth.

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Mauna Kea is about a million years old, and has thus passed the most active shield stage of life hundreds of thousands of years ago.

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In its current post-shield state, its lava is more viscous, resulting in a steeper profile.

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Late volcanism has also given it a much rougher appearance than its neighboring volcanoes; contributing factors include the construction of cinder cones, the decentralization of its rift zones, the glaciation on its peak, and the weathering effects of the prevailing trade winds.

A rift zone is a feature of some volcanoes, especially shield volcanoes, in which a linear series of cracks develops in a volcanic edifice, typically forming into two or three well-defined regions along the flanks of the vent.

Volcanism is the phenomenon of eruption of molten rock onto the surface of the Earth or a solid-surface planet or moon, where lava, pyroclastics and volcanic gases erupt through a break in the surface called a vent.

The trade winds are the prevailing pattern of easterly surface winds found in the tropics, within the lower portion of the Earth's atmosphere, in the lower section of the troposphere near the Earth's equator.

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Mauna Kea last erupted 6,000 to 4,000 years ago and is now considered dormant.

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In Hawaiian mythology, the peaks of the island of Hawaii are sacred.

Hawaiian religion encompasses the indigenous religious beliefs and practices of the Native Hawaiians.

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An ancient law allowed only high-ranking ali╩╗i to visit its peak.

Ali╩╗i is a word in the Hawaiian language that refers to the hereditary line of rulers, the noho ali'i, of the Hawaiian Islands.

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Ancient Hawaiians living on the slopes of Mauna Kea relied on its extensive forests for food, and quarried the dense volcano-glacial basalts on its flanks for tool production.

Basalt is a common extrusive igneous rock formed from the rapid cooling of basaltic lava exposed at or very near the surface of a planet or moon.

Ancient Hawai╩╗i is the period of Hawaiian human history preceding the unification in 1810 of the Kingdom of Hawai╩╗i by Kamehameha the Great.

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When Europeans arrived in the late 18th century, settlers introduced cattle, sheep and game animals, many of which became feral and began to damage the mountain's ecological balance.

A feral animal is an animal living in the wild but descended from domesticated individuals.

Game or quarry is any animal hunted for sport or for food.

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Mauna Kea can be ecologically divided into three sections: an alpine climate at its summit, a Sophora chrysophyllaÔÇôMyoporum sandwicense forest on its flanks, and an Acacia koaÔÇôMetrosideros polymorpha forest, now mostly cleared by the former sugar industry, at its base.

Metrosideros polymorpha, the ╩╗┼Źhi╩╗a lehua, is a species of flowering evergreen tree in the myrtle family, Myrtaceae, that is endemic to the six largest islands of Hawai╩╗i.

Myoporum sandwicense, commonly known as naio, b*st*rd sandalwood or false sandalwood is a species of flowering in the figwort family, Scrophulariaceae.

Sophora chrysophylla, known as M─ümane in Hawaiian, is a species of flowering plant in the pea and bean family, Fabaceae, that is endemic to Hawaii.

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In recent years, concern over the vulnerability of the native species has led to court cases that have forced the Hawai'i Department of Land and Natural Resources to eradicate all feral species on the mountain.

The Hawai╩╗i Department of Land and Natural Resources is a part of the Hawai╩╗i state government dedicated to managing, administering, and excerising control over public lands, water resources and streams, ocean waters, coastal areas, minerals, and other natural resources of the state of Hawai╩╗i.

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With its high elevation, dry environment, and stable airflow, Mauna Kea's summit is one of the best sites in the world for astronomical observation.

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Since the creation of an access road in 1964, thirteen telescopes funded by eleven countries have been constructed at the summit.

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The Mauna Kea Observatories are used for scientific research across the electromagnetic spectrum and comprise the largest such facility in the world.

The Mauna Kea Observatories are a number of independent astronomical research facilities and large telescope observatories that are located at the summit of Mauna Kea on the Big Island of Hawai╩╗i, United States.

The electromagnetic spectrum is the range of frequencies of electromagnetic radiation and their respective wavelengths and photon energies.

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Their construction on a landscape considered sacred by Native Hawaiians continues to be a topic of debate.

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