Hawaiian Volcano Observatory

U.S. Geological Survey
Open-File Report 2007-1089
Version 1.0

Geologic Map of the State of Hawai‘i

By David R. Sherrod, John M. Sinton, Sarah E. Watkins, and Kelly M. Brunt


thumbnail view of map of the Hawaiian Islands
Chief sources of mapping used in compilation of digital geologic map of State of Hawai‘i. See References Cited in the pamplhlet for full bibliographic citation (from figure 1). .

About this map

The State's geology is presented on eight full-color map sheets, one for each of the major islands. These map sheets, the illustrative meat of the publication, can be downloaded in pdf format, ready to print. Map scale is 1:100,000 for most of the islands, so that each map is about 27 inches by 36 inches. The Island of Hawai‘i, largest of the islands, is depicted at a smaller scale, 1:250,000, so that it, too, can be shown on 36-inch-wide paper.

The new publication isn't limited strictly to its map depictions. Twenty years have passed since David Clague and Brent Dalrymple published a comprehensive report that summarized the geology of all the islands, and it has been even longer since the last edition of Gordon Macdonald's book, Islands in the Sea, was revised. Therefore the new statewide geologic map includes an 83-page explanatory pamphlet that revisits many of the concepts that have evolved in our geologic understanding of the eight main islands.

The pamphlet includes simplified page-size geologic maps for each island, summaries of all the radiometric ages that have been gathered since about 1960, generalized depictions of geochemical analyses for each volcano's eruptive stages, and discussion of some outstanding topics that remain controversial or deserving of additional research. The pamphlet also contains a complete description of map units, which enumerates the characteristics for each of the state's many stratigraphic formations shown on the map sheets.

Since the late 1980s, the audience for geologic maps has grown as desktop computers and map-based software have become increasingly powerful. Those who prefer the convenience and access offered by Geographic Information Systems (GIS) can also feast on this publication. An electronic database, suitable for most GIS software applications, is available for downloading. The GIS database is in an Earth projection widely employed throughout the State of Hawai‘i, using the North American datum of 1983 and the Universal Transverse Mercator system projection to zone 4.

"This digital statewide map allows engineers, consultants, and scientists from many different fields to take advantage of the geologic database," said John Sinton, a geology professor at the University of Hawai‘i, whose new mapping of the Wai‘anae Range (West O‘ahu) appears on the map. Indeed, when a testing version was first made available, most requests came from biologists, archaeologists, and soil scientists interested in applying the map's GIS database to their ongoing investigations.

Another area newly depicted on the map, in addition to the Wai‘anae Range, is Haleakala volcano, East Maui. So too for the active lava flows of Kilauea volcano, Island of Hawai‘i, where the landscape has continued to evolve in the ten years since publication of the Big Island's revised geologic map. For the other islands, much of the map is compiled from mapping published in the 1930-1960s. This reliance stems partly from shortage of funding to undertake entirely new mapping but is warranted by the exemplary mapping of those early experts. The boundaries of all map units are digitized to show correctly on modern topographic maps.

Files for Viewing and Plotting

Plate 1, geologic map of the Island of Ni‘ihau as a 25" x 20" PDF file (Niihau_2007.pdf; 6.2 MB).

Plate 2, geologic map of the Island of Kaua‘i as a 39" x 25" PDF file (Kauai_2007.pdf; 14.8 MB).

Plate 3, geologic map of the Island of O‘ahu as a 41" x 28" PDF file (Oahu_2007.pdf; 3.8 MB).

Plate 4, geologic map of the Island of Moloka‘i as a 36" x 24" PDF file (Molokai_2007.pdf; 10.6 MB).

Plate 5, geologic map of the Island of Lāna‘i as a 32" x 16" PDF file (Lanai_2007.pdf; 18.4 MB).

Plate 6, geologic map of the Island of Kaho‘olawe as a 31" x 14" PDF file (Kahoolawe_2007.pdf; 8 MB).

Plate 7, geologic map of the Island of Maui as a 41" x 27" PDF file (Maui_2007.pdf; 16.8 MB).

Plate 8, geologic map of the Island of Hawai‘i as a 45" x 27" PDF file (HawIsland_zone5_2007.pdf; 13.5 MB).

Pamphlet as a 85-page PDF file (Hawaii_expl_pamphlet.pdf; 6.8 MB).


ReadMe file as an ASCII text file (Readme_Haw_St_map.txt; 8 kB).


Metadata - PDF as a 12-page PDF file (Hawaii_metadata_for_users.pdf; 345 kB).

Metadata - ASCII as a text file (Hawaii_metadata_20070514.txt; 120 kB).

Geodatabase - native Mapinfo files. This is a zipped compressed file (Haw_St_tabfiles.zip; 9.2 MB compressed, 16.7 MB when opened).

Geodatabase - Shapefiles. This is a zipped compressed file (Haw_St_shapefiles.zip; 16.1 MB compressed, 26.9 MB when opened).

Geodatabase - e00 export files. This is a zipped compressed file (Haw_St_e00.zip; 13.7 MB compressed, 55.8 MB when opened).

Spreadsheet with whole-rock geochemical analyses from statewide compilation, with geographic coordinates; this file is not currently available while some known problems are fixed.

Spreadsheet with K-Ar and 40Ar/39Ar radiometric ages from statewide compilation, with geographic coordinates (Hawaii_StateMapAges.xls; 264 kB).

Spreadsheet with carbon-14 radiometric ages from Maui and Hawaii islands, with geographic coordinates (Hawaii_radiocarbon_data.xls; 88 kB).

For questions about the content of this report, contact David Sherrod

Download the Suggested citation and version history

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