Maui’s Origin Story
The island of Maui is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. With its sandy beaches, lush rainforests, and towering volcanoes, Maui is a veritable paradise. But how old is this Hawaiian Island?
How old is Maui?
The island of Maui is actually comprised of two separate volcanoes. The younger of the two volcanoes is Haleakala, which is estimated to be 750,000 years old. The older volcano, Kahālāwai, is about 1.3 million years old.
Haleakala is not dormant and will likely erupt one last time. Both Haleakala and Kahālāwai have distinct and diverse terrain, depending on where you are on either mountain. Haleakala examples include the lush rainforests of East Maui and the dry desert landscapes of Makena.
Originally, all the islands of Maui County were formed as one island called Maui Nui. Around 300,000 to 400,000 years ago, Maui Nui changed to become two islands (Maui and Kahoʻolawe made one half and Molokai and Lanai the other.) The chunk with Molokai is thought to be 1.3 to 1.9 million years old, so the question needs to be specified as either “Maui” or “Maui County.”
So there you have it! The next time someone asks you how old the island of Maui is, you can confidently tell them that it’s between 750,000 and 1.3 million years old. And if they ask how we know this, just explain that it’s two ancient volcanoes that have slowly fused together over time!