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Hanauma Geology

The Hawaiian Islands are volcanic in nature and have been forming for millions of years as the Pacific Plate travels northwest over an area of the earth’s mantle known as a hot spot. A hot spot is a localized region of volcanism. At different points in time, each of the islands was over the hot spot as that island formed. Currently, the Island of Hawai‘i is over the hot spot and still has active volcanic eruptions.

Over forty thousand years ago, volcanic eruptions from beneath the ocean formed a crater. Today, this crater is known as Hanauma Bay.

Learn more about the formation of Hanauma Bay and the Geology of the Hawaiian Islands by watching videos created by the Leeward Community College Educational Media Center Video Production Unit.

Hanauma Bay Formation


Hanauma Rock Types #1



Hanauma Rock Types #2



Plate Tectonics



Rock Cycle






Coral & Tuff