This story begins with an earth-cracking volcanic eruption. One million years ago, great ribbons of lava poured out of the sea floor, piled on top of one another, and eventually grew into the mountain that is now called Mauna Kea. Mauna Kea, on the Big Island of Hawaii, is a tremendous shield volcano, the second largest in our solar system. Measuring from its base on the ocean bed, it is the tallest mountain on Earth. But Mauna Kea is just a baby by geologic standards, among the newest volcanoes on a 40-million-year-old archipelago's youngest island. At the time when Mauna Kea formed, the global population of human ancestors numbered in the tens of thousands. And it wasn't until sometime between 300 A.D. and 800 A.D. that ocean-faring voyagers crossed the Pacific in double-hulled canoes to make their home in the Hawaiian Islands. To subsequent generations of Native Hawaiians, Mauna Kea was and had always been a temple. In the Kumulipo, the ancient chant that tells the story of how the Hawaiian Islands and the Hawaiian people came to be, the volcano is considered kino lau , the physical form of the gods. Mauna Kea is the son of Wākea, the… Read full this story
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