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 Hawaiian island chain

Located in the middle of the Pacific Plate, the volcanoes of the Hawaiian Island chain are among the largest on Earth. The volcanoes stretch 2,500 km across the north Pacific Ocean and become progressively older to the northwest. Formed initially above a relatively stationary "hot spot" in the Earth's interior, each volcano was rafted away from the hot spot as the Pacific Plate moves northwestward at about 9 cm per year. The island of Hawaii consists of the youngest volcanoes in the chain and is currently located over the hot spot.

Maintained by John Watson
Updated 06.24.97

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