Haleakala 3D Map


Grant's and Bill's
Maui Scrapbook

Haleakala Volcano
Iao Needle

v Haleakala

Haleakala ("House of the Sun") is the East Maui volcano that makes up 75% of the island. It is massive and just over 10,000 feet high. Haleakala has erupted three times in the last 900 years. It is considered an active volcano in a non-eruptive phase.
Bill and Grant at elevation sign

The road up the volcano is long and winding, but beautifully scenic. At times we went through layers of clouds, but luckily the clouds, which frequently shroud the summit, only went up to about 9,000 feet. Here is a photo from when we were driving ABOVE THE CLOUDS.
  Road to Haleakala above the clouds  

From the summit we looked down into the crater, which is a massive depression over 7 miles long, 2 miles wide, and 2,600 feet deep. The surface of the crater is filled with lava flows and cinder cones.
  Haleakala Visitor Center and Crater View  

Close-up of the crater floor with a clear view of the latest lava flows and cones.
  Cinder Cones closeup  

The summit of Haleakala is one of the most sought-after locations in the world for ground-based telescopes. The large astrophysical complex here is operated by such diverse organizations as the U.S. Department of Defense, University of Hawaii, Smithsonian Institution, Air Force, Federal Aviation Administration, and others.
  Maui observatory  
The newest installation is interesting. The Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System (Pan-STARRS) is surveying the sky for moving objects on a continual basis. By detecting differences from previous observations of the same areas of the sky, it is expected to discover a very large number of new asteroids, comets, variable stars and other celestial objects. Its primary mission is to detect near-Earth objects that threaten to impact the Earth.

  As you probably noticed, there is little to no vegetation in the crater because volcanic cinder is almost devoid of nutrients. But there is a plant that thrives in this area, the Silversword. It lives only here on Haleakala and the nearby volcano, Mauna Kea, and only above 6,900 feet elevation. You would never guess, but this succulent plant is in the daisy family   Speaking of the nearby volcano, you can just make out the Big Island's two giant volcanoes in this photo. Look for the two darker blue areas just above the clouds. Mauna Kea is the one on the left and Mauna Loa is on the right, with the Kona Coast being the darker blue area below it.  
  Silversword plants   Red landscape and view of Big Island  

  Two almost adjacent views of the crater. This was such a spectacular view!    
  Crater View - left Crater view - right


v Iao Needle

Maui is an island of huge contrasts in climate. Compare the dry and barren landscape of Haleakala with this area below.

Iao Needle is part of the West Maui volcano complex. The western volcano is older than Haleakala and much more eroded. Its former height was 13,000 ft and is now eroded down to under 6,000 ft.

It was a short but uphill hike to the viewpoint of Iao Needle. The photos show how close you can get to the needle, which is not close at all due to the rugged landscape and wet conditions.

  The hike to the viewpoint of the Needle goes through dense, lush plantlife because this is a very wet section of the island.   It's pretty obvious from it's appearance why it is called a 'needle', but, surprisingly, it is actually a narrow ridge viewed end-on. It is a volcanic remnant.  
  Iao Needle walkways Iao Needle closer view


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