pahoehoe (pəˈhōē hōē)

This summer, my family and I visited Hawai’i for two weeks. It was my first time going to Hawai’i and I loved it! We spent time on both Maui and the Big Island. Both islands were very pretty yet very different. Maui is older than the Big Island, has beautiful beaches and is very lush. The majority of the Big Island had seas of lava rock as far as the eye could see.

The Big Island is the biggest and youngest of the Hawaiian archipelago. The lava flowing from the two most active volcanoes in the world, Kīlauea and Mauna Loa, is responsible for the still growing island. We spent a week on the Big Island and while we were there, we visited the Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park. One of the coolest sites was the lava lake at the Kīlauea Summit. We went at night and the steam rising from the vent glowed a brilliant red.

As we drove through the park, we saw fields of pahoehoe. Pahoehoe is lava that has a smooth, shiny or often swirled surface. Pahoehoe comes from the Hawaiian word hoe, which means to paddle. Since the surface of pahoehoe resembles the ripples made in the water by a paddle, the name is very fitting. Hawaiian words are fun to say because they often repeat a sound within a word, like humuhumunukunukuapua’a (fish) or muumuu (dress).


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