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While the State’s other islands were formed by single volcanoes or the merging of the two, Hawaii, the Big Island, is the work of five major volcanoes.  Two – Mauna Loa and Kilauea – are still active.  As the youngest of the islands, Hawaii has few beaches or reefs, but it yields to no other in size and grandeur, rising from 18,000 feet deep to soar to nearly 14,000 feet above sea level.  The island of Hawaii is twice the size of all the other islands combined.

As befits the cradle of the monarchy and the State’s only actively volcanic island, Hawaii remains one of the most “Hawaiian” places.  More benign ventures such as ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC), aquaculture, coffee, papaya and macadamia nut production, astronomy, and even some resort developments have had a kinder reception by Big Islanders seeking viable economic alternatives to the fading sugar and ranching industries.

The only island with its own desert and with regular annual snowfall, Hawaii boasts of having the southern-most point in the United States (South Point, or Ka Lae) and the nation’s rainiest city (Hilo).  The 150-year-old Parker Ranch may be America’s largest privately owned spread.

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