Big Island Fly By

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Many Virtually Hawaii pages contain remote sensing data from satellites and aircraft. Here we are combining two types of remote sensing data to provide the impression of a flight around the Big Island. Here we use a Landsat Thematic Mapper mosaic (which was obtained from a spacecraft looking straight down) and a digital topographic map produced by the U.S. Geological Survey. Combining these data in a computer, we can simulate a view of the Island from any direction we desire. By slightly changing this viewing direction, we can create a movie frame by frame.

On this overflight, you start on the south side of the island looking north. To your bottom left is South Point, the southernmost piece of land in the United States. In the middle of the island, you can see Mauna Loa Volcano, rising 4100 m [13,452 ft] above sea level. To the right center is Kilauea Volcano, with black lava extending south, into the ocean.

Your flight takes you first along the south coast of the Big Island. You can see the lavas that have spilled from Kilauea's southwest and east rift zones. You turn and fly west, up to the summit of Mauna Loa along its eastern rift zone. At the summit you turn north and fly down through the saddle between Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea Volcanoes. Then up to the summit of Mauna Kea, 4206 m [13,800 ft] above sea level. Be sure to wave at all the astronomers working at the observatories!

After flying over the summit of Mauna Kea, you quickly get a glimpse of Kohala Volcano on the northern coast of the Big Island. Unfortunately, it is blanketed in clouds today. As you turn to the west, you see the fifth volcano on the big island, Hualalai, on the west coast of the island. You then continue your turn until you face the northern slopes of Mauna Loa.

The flight finishes by backing away from Mauna Loa over the west coast, and the resort town of Kona. You continue to fly south along the west coast until you reach South Point and the whole trip can begin again!

Author: Lori Glaze

Copyright by P. Mouginis-Mark

Curator: Lori Glaze