USA

Lake Waiau - Mauna Kea (Hawaii)

Lake
calendarNov 25 2017
Lake Waiau is a high-elevation lake located at 3,970 m (13,020 ft) above sea level on Mauna Kea, on the island of Hawai?i. It is arguably one of the highest lakes in the USA,and one of very few lakes at all in the state of Hawai?i.

Hawaii’s only alpine lake and the third highest lake in the U.S. That’s down to 2 percent of its regular surface area, according to the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. Prior to 2010, the maximum depth of the lake was 3 yards, but it’s now less than 1 foot deep.Apart from being the only one of its kind in the entire state, the lake also holds significant meaning in Hawaiian culture. Lake Waiau was believed to contain pure water associated with the Hawaiian god Kane and was used in healing and worship practices.

If you're traveling to the summit area of Mauna Kea, you need to equip yourself as you would for any major world summit of this altitude. Bring sturdy mountaineering boots, winter gear, and the ability to keep yourself alive on a high mountain.

Waiau means "swirling water" in the Hawaiian language, and this phrase is probably meant to evoke the myth that Lake Waiau is the portal to the spirit world or underworld. In ancient times, the ali'i, Hawaiian royalty, would throw the umbilical cord of their first-born son into the lake to ensure their future success as a chief.

In the recent years the surface area of lake Waiau has diminished in size, hitting an all-time low in October 2013. Since then, the lake has returned to its normal size. Recent research presented in the USGS 2015 report “Satellite Monitoring of Dramatic Changes at Lake Waiau on Mauna Kea Volcano—Hawai‘i’s Only Alpine Lake”suggests that although the recent fluctuation in lake size has been extreme, its cause is rather commonplace: not enough rainfall.

Location
Mauna Kea, Hawaii

Lake Waiau

Lake
calendarNov 25 2017

Lake Waiau

Lake
calendarNov 25 2017