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Sharing the Aloha of the Hawaiian Language

Snow-capped Mauna Loa Volcano
Snow-capped Mauna Loa Volcano.
[Mah oo]-nuh Loh-uh

State of Hawai`i motto: Ua mau ke ea o ka `aina i ka pono - "The life of the land is preserved in righteousness."

The people of Hawai`i come from many ethnic backgounds. It is this diversity that makes Hawai`i unique. The people share a common bond by learning each other's culture and language and integrating them into their everyday lives. The integration of cultures makes communities become an `ohana (family). This feeling of `ohana started in early plantation days as the need to communicate between the different ethnic groups became necessary. Each group adopted parts of the Hawaiian language and integrated it into their own culture to serve as a common base of communication between the groups.

As with the ethnic cultures, the Hawaiian language is integrated in the English language. Hawaiian words like `a`a (clinkery, rough lava) and pahoehoe (smooth, unbroken lava) are universally accepted and used in the geologic community. Commonly, origins of Hawaiian words have special, understandable meanings that relate to a descriptive feature regarding the environment (i.e., Kilauea means spewing, much spreading volcanic eruptions).

Living in paradise is a precious gift. Hawai`i has been characterized as "the melting pot", where people of all cultures share in a unique gift of a common language. With the legacy of the aloha spirit, the people of the Islands share the gift of the Hawaiian language with you.

List of Words and Common Place Names found in our website

For proper pronunciation of Hawaiian consult the following resources: Hawaiian Dictionary(revised edition, 1986) by Mary Kawena Pukui and Samuel H. Elbert, and Place Names of Hawaii(revised and expanded edition, 1974) by Mary Kawena Pukui, Samuel H. Elbert and Esther T. Mookini.

Snow-capped Mauna Kea Volcano
Snow-capped Mauna Kea Volcano.
[Mah oo]-nuh Keh-uh

The most current Volcano Watch article.

The Probability of Lava Inundation at the Proposed and Existing Kulani Prison Sites, 1998, USGS Open File 98-794.

If you felt an earthquake and would like to report it, go to the Earthquake Felt Report Form. We encourage you to submit such reports, which help us determine the intensity of the earthquake.

Previous Feature Stories.

Photo of Reginald Okamura
In Memory of "Reggie" Okamura

Reginald ("Reggie") T. Okamura, beloved Chief of Operations of the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory from 1958 - 1992, died peacefully in his sleep at Hilo Medical Center on January 16, 1999.

We are keenly aware of the many people "out there" who have been at HVO--alumni, students, volunteers, visiting scientist, administrators, and friends--who have stories they would like to share about Reggie. We are, therefore, creating a section on our web site, where such recollections can be sent for all to remember him by. Please send your stories and scanned or duplicate photos to by March 31st.

At the top of each page are clickable titles that will take you to pages not found on our vertical or bottom navigational bars. Please check out "Hawaiian Volcano Observatory" above to find out more about HVO and the exciting work we do!

If you are experiencing long delays to get to any page, click on "[Text Only]" found at the top left corner of each page. This will give you all the information and content, except the photos and graphical fonts.

For kids ages K-12, or for those young at heart, see Volcano World's Kids Door. You can do many enjoyable activities to learn about volcanoes.

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Updated: 4 April 2000 (SRB)