Mauna Kea Snow

Hawaii, From the Top

At this time of year, we are thankful for seasons in Hawaii. Many people think of Hawaii as being in eternal summer. However, there are in fact noticeable changes throughout the year–if only for a trained eye.

One of the easiest places in the islands to spot the change in weather is Hawaii’s highest spot, the top of Hawaii, Mauna Kea. In the Fall and Winter months, Mauna Kea–White Mountain–at 13,796 feet above sea level, earns its name with a blanket of snow that can last for months.

Some on the island make a tradition of filling truck beds full of snow from the mountain and then making snowmen in their green grass yards thousands of feet below.

From the Photographer:

“Some of the large cinder and scoria cones atop Mauna Kea are more than 1.5 km in diameter and a few hundred meters tall. The cones are surrounded by lava flows that erupted from their flanks. When the youngest glacier covered the summit area 40,000 to 13,000 years ago, several eruptions took place beneath the ice. Most of the cones visible today on Mauna Kea were erupted between about 65,000 and 14,000 years ago.” Photograph by D.A. Swanson on February 15, 1971.

Learn more about Mauna Kea and this photo at the USGS here.

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