Shown in bright green, the Big Island of Hawaii
is practically little when seen with its underwater flanks exposed, as in this new digital illustration from the August 2009 documentary Drain the Ocean
Measured from the seabed, the island's active volcano Mauna Loa is the world's tallest mountain--some 4,000 feet (1,200 meters) taller than Mount Everest.
The Big Island was gradually thrust upward out of the Pacific, likely by a plume of lava deep beneath the seafloor. Those same slow forces look to be at work beneath a new volcano off the southeastern end of the Big Island, Loihi
. Ten thousand or a hundred thousand years into the future, Loihi should emerge as the latest and hottest new Hawaiian island.
Illustration courtesy Burning Gold Productions via National Geographic Channel