South Point

Yesterday we visited the southern most point of the United States, appropriately named South Point. We hiked about 3 miles down the coast to a green sand beach that is made primarily of olivine. At the beach, we split up into 3 groups and did a stratigraphic column of the cliff adjacent to the beach.

Stewart pointing out the green sand beach on the geologic map.

Green sand beach!

Hal ready for the beach.

Group shot


The green sand at Mahana Bay contains olivine (green grains), volcanic glass (black), and coral (white).


Waipio Valley

Today we saw a completely different side of what spectacular landscapes Hawaii has to offer as we travelled about an hour outside of Kona to the Waipio Valley. The Waipio Valley, or “The Valley of the Kings”, is an amphitheater-headed valley that is surrounded by cliffs that are about 2000 feet high. Waterfalls scatter the walls of the cliffs and the views are spectacular. First, we hiked down one of the steepest roads in the United States to a black sand beach. We were surprised to see a very different coastal landscape that consisted of old river cobble deposits on the beach. We also got to watch some wind surfers! Then, we headed to the back of the valley and got to enjoy spectacular views of the waterfalls that scatter the landscape. We even ran into a few wild horses and got a glimpse of the culture that exists in the isolated valley. We are excited to learn more about Hawaii’s coastline development tomorrow as we travel to South Point, the most southern point of the United States, and to a green sand beach.

Overlook of the Waipio Valley.

Rose Pettiette befriends a horse that we encountered on the trail.

One of the valley’s amazing waterfalls.

The beach found at the bottom of the valley.