The present diagram documents the volcanic eruption process through which the Hawaiian island chain in the Pacific Ocean has been created. The major islands in the chain are Niihau, Kauai, Oahu, Kolokai, Lanai, Kahoolawe, Maui, and Hawaii, the oldest of which was formed 80 million years ago.
Overall, the diagram indicates that each island is formed by several deep-see volcanic eruptions, which create mountain-like bulges in the pacific plate, causing the island to rise above the water surface. In addition, the imperceptible movement of the Pacific plate allows each set of eruptions to add a new island to the chain. A small map of the major islands in the chain is also included.
The volcanic eruption originates 2883 km below surface. During the eruption, as ‘hot spot’ spume remains trapped under the solid dense rock, magma spume pierces both the solid dense rock and the Pacific plate and shapes an island through repeated eruptions.
Meanwhile, the Pacific tectonic plate, on which the islands are located, shifts westward at a very slow speed of 7 to 9 cm per year. Over millions of years, this allows for the creation of several islands, collectively known as the Hawaiian island chain, with Hawaii as the largest island.
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