With 727.2 square miles (1,883 km2), Maui (Hawaiian:) is the second-largest of the Hawaiian Islands and the 17th-largest island in the United States. Maui is the largest of Maui County’s four islands, larger than Molokai, Lanai, and the uninhabited Kahoolawe.
It is part of the state of Hawaii. Maui has a population of 144,444 people in 2010, ranking third among the Hawaiian Islands behind Oahu and Hawai’i Island. With a population of 26,337 as of 2010, Kahului is the largest census-designated place (CDP) on the island and serves as the island’s business and financial center.
Wailuku is Maui County’s seat and the state’s third-largest CDP as of 2010. Other notable locations include Khei (which includes Wailea and Makena in the Kihei Town CDP, which is Maui’s second-most-populated CDP), Lahaina (which includes Kanapali and Kapalua in the Lahaina Town CDP), Makawao, Pukalani, Pia, Kula, Haik, and Hna), Makawao, Pukalani, Pia, Kula, Haik, and Hna.
The mythology of Hawaiiloa, the navigator credited with discovering the Hawaiian Islands, is said to be the source of the island’s name. Hawaiiloa, according to mythology, named the island Maui after his son, who was named after the demigod Mui. Maui was previously known as Ihikapalaumaewa. The enormous isthmus connecting Maui’s northwestern and southeastern volcanoes, as well as the numerous vast valleys carved into both mountains, have earned the island the nickname “Valley Isle.”
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Topography and geology
Maui’s varied landscapes are the consequence of a rare mix of geology, topography, and climate. Each of the Hawaiian Islands’ volcanic cones is made up of black, iron-rich/quartz-poor rocks that poured out of thousands of vents as extremely fluid lava over millions of years. Several of the volcanoes were close enough to overlap their side lava flows, resulting in the formation of a single island. Maui is an example of a “volcanic doublet,” formed when two shield volcanoes collided and built an isthmus between them.
Maui, Hawaii’s Beach
The older, western volcano has been significantly eroded and is cut by multiple drainages, resulting in the West Maui Mountains’ summits (in Hawaiian, Mauna Kahalawai). At 5,788 feet, Puu Kukui is the tallest of the summits (1,764 m). Haleakala, the larger, younger volcano to the east, rises to more than 10,000 feet (3,000 meters) above sea level and is one of the world’s tallest volcanoes, measuring 5 miles (8.0 kilometers) from the bottom to the summit.
Deeply eroded valleys and steep-sided ravines stretch downslope to the stony, windswept beach on the eastern sides of both volcanoes. Sand erosional deposits formed the valley-like Isthmus of Maui, which connects the two volcanic peaks.
Maui’s most recent eruption (originating in Haleakal’s Southwest Rift Zone) occurred around 1790, and two of the lava flows are located (1) at Cape Knau on the southwest shore of East Maui, between Hihi Bay and La Perouse Bay, and (2) at Makaluapuna Point on Honokahua Bay on the northwest shore of West Maui. Volcanologists believe Haleakala is dormant, but it is certainly capable of new eruptions.
Maui is part of the Maui Nui complex, which also comprises the islands of Lanai, Kahoolawe, Molokai, and the now-submerged Penguin Bank. Due to the shallowness of the canals between them, they are connected together as a single island during periods of reduced sea level, including as recently as 20,000 years ago.
After the rain at Kaanapali, a rainbow appears over the West Maui Mountains.
A two-season year, mild and uniform temperatures everywhere (except at high elevations), marked geographic differences in rainfall, high relative humidity, extensive cloud formations (except on the driest coasts and at high elevations), and a dominant trade-wind flow characterize the Hawaiian Islands’ climate (especially at elevations below a few thousand feet). Maui has a diverse range of climatic conditions and weather patterns, which are impacted by a variety of factors in the physical environment:
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Maui’s shoreline lies within 5 miles (8.0 km) of half of the island. The substantial marine effect on Maui’s climate is due to this, as well as the Hawaiian Islands’ unusual insularity.
Elevation and inclination to the Trade Winds are usually the determinants of gross weather patterns (prevailing air flow comes from the northeast).
The rough, uneven topography of Maui causes significant weather fluctuations. The mountains, valleys, and huge open slopes shunt air blown inland by the Trade winds in one direction or another. Wind speed, cloud formation, and rainfall are all affected by this intricate three-dimensional flow of air.
Maui has a broad range of climatic conditions, each of which is unique to a loosely defined section of the island. Major physiographic features (such as mountains and valleys) and placement on the island’s windward or leeward side characterize these sub-regions. These sub-regions (together with their respective climates) are:
Lowlands on the windward side — On the north-to-northeast sides of an island, below 2,000 feet (610 meters). Approximately perpendicular to the prevailing trade winds. Rainfall is moderate, with frequent trade wind-induced showers. Cloudy to partially cloudy skies are common. The air temperature is more consistent (and moderate) than in other parts of the country.
Lowlands on the leeward side – The daytime temperature is slightly higher, and the nighttime temperature is slightly lower than in windward areas. With the exception of intermittent showers that drift over the mountains to the windward side and during short-duration storms, the weather is mostly dry.
Lowlands of the interior – Intermediate conditions, with several features in common with other lowland sub-regions. Intense local afternoon showers are occasionally experienced due to well-developed clouds that formed due to local daytime heating.
High-altitude mountain slopes on the leeward side with a lot of rain – Throughout the year, there is a lot of cloud cover and rain. The climate is mild, but humidity is higher than in any other sub-region.
Lower mountain slopes on the Leeward Side — Rainfall is higher than in the neighboring leeward plains but much lower than at similar heights on the Windward Side; yet, maximum rainfall occurs leeward of the lower mountain crests. Temperatures are greater than on the windward sides of mountains’ rainy slopes, and cloud cover is nearly as dense.
Mountain ranges – Rainfall reduces rapidly with an elevation over around 5,000 feet (1,500 m) on Haleakala. It’s possible that the relative humidity is 10 percent or less. This region has the lowest temperatures in the state, with air temperatures regularly falling below freezing.