Kauai is the northernmost and geologically the oldest and most complex of the main Hawaiian Islands. It is roughly circular in shape and was formed by a single shield volcano. Kauai is the fourth largest of the Main Hawaiian Islands. Kauai has a mean diameter of 43 kiolmeter (26 miles) and an area of 555 square miles (143,710 ha).
The highest peak, Waialeale reaches an elevation of 1540 m (5,052 ft), followed by Kawaikini, at 1600 m (4160 ft). Mountainous terrain occupies the north, west and central part of the island. The gentle east and south slopes are cut by shallow gulches. A narrow, gently sloping coastal plain skirts the island, but is interrupted on the northwest side by a 25 km (16 mile) stretch of precipitous cliffs (Na Pali) which rise from the water's edge, and on the southeast by a the Hoary Head Mountains which rise to elevations of about 748 m (2,280 ft.) above sea level. Adjacent to the coastal plain are the longest stretches of excellent beach to be found in the state. Some of these beaches ( Kapaa, Hanapepe and Kekaha) have undergone severe erosion in recent years
Waimea Canyon is 16 km (10 miles) long, a mile wide and 1,000 meter (3,600 feet) deep, with a completely different climate at the bottom than at the top
Na Pali is one of the most rapidly eroding shorelines in Kauai. As the cliffs erode, the landscape creates fantastic, vaulted valleys and snaking, hidden beaches where the sea hungrily licks at the thousand-foot cliffs.
Na Pali is one of the most rapidly eroding shorelines in the world. It's crumbling. But as it erodes, the landscape creates fantastic, vaulted valleys and snaking, hidden beaches where the sea hungrily licks at the thousand-foot cliffs.
Geologically the oldest of the main eight Hawaiian Islands, the northernmost island of Kaua'i has a total area of 1420 sq km (552 sq mi). This island receives the most rainfall of the main eight Hawaiian Islands, thus giving its nickname of the Garden Isle. Kaua'i is surrounded on all sides by a fringing reef, with a reef flat sometimes as wide as 1 km (0.6 mi). The reef is under the influence of high wave energy due to the island's geographic position.
2006 March 14 Flood: Rushing waters from breached Kaloko Reservoir on Kaua'i gouged out large portions of Wailapa Stream Tuesday before entering Morita Reservoir, at left. Farmers, who depend on water from the reservoir, want it to be preserved, if it can be safely maintained.