What makes Mauna Kea special?

Mauna Kea is the highest point in the Hawaiian Islands and the highest mountain on Earth. It rises to 4,205 m above sea level but if measured from its base under the sea to its top, its actual height is 10,211 m. This makes it taller than Mt. Everest which is 8,848 m!

Mauna Kea is around 1 million years old. It is a dormant volcano that last erupted around 4,500 years ago. The name ‘Mauna Kea’ means ‘white mountain’ in native Hawaiian language, thus named because in winter it often has snow at the summit.

One of the reasons Mauna Kea is special is that it is an important site for astronomy. Its summit hosts the world’s largest astronomical observatory with telescopes operated from eleven countries! This is because conditions at the top of Mauna Kea are ideal for clear viewing of the skies. The atmosphere above the mountain is extremely dry and cloud-free. Another interesting feature of Mauna Kea is that it is the only volcano in the Hawaiian chain known to have been glaciated.

Picture Credit : Google


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