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Topographic History of the Maui Nui Complex, Hawai'i, and Its Implications for Biogeography

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Title:Topographic History of the Maui Nui Complex, Hawai'i, and Its Implications for Biogeography
Authors:Price, Jonathan P.
Elliott-Fisk, Deborah
Date Issued:Jan 2004
Publisher:University of Hawai'i Press
Citation:Price JP, Elliott-Fisk D. 2004. Topographic history of the Maui Nui complex, Hawai'i, and its implications for biogeography. Pac Sci 58(1): 27-45.
Abstract:The Maui Nui complex of the Hawaiian Islands consists of the islands
of Maui, Moloka'i, Lana'i, and Kaho'olawe, which were connected as a single
landmass in the past. Aspects of volcanic landform construction, island subsidence,
and erosion were modeled to reconstruct the physical history of this
complex. This model estimates the timing, duration, and topographic attributes
of different island configurations by accounting for volcano growth and subsidence,
changes in sea level, and geomorphological processes. The model indicates
that Maui Nui was a single landmass that reached its maximum areal extent
around 1.2 Ma, when it was larger than the current island of Hawai'i. As subsidence
ensued, the island divided during high sea stands of interglacial periods
starting around 0.6 Ma; however during lower sea stands of glacial periods,
islands reunited. The net effect is that the Maui Nui complex was a single large
landmass for more than 75% of its history and included a high proportion of
lowland area compared with the contemporary landscape. Because the Hawaiian
Archipelago is an isolated system where most of the biota is a result of in situ
evolution, landscape history is an important determinant of biogeographic patterns.
Maui Nui's historical landscape contrasts sharply with the current landscape
but is equally relevant to biogeographical analyses.
Appears in Collections: Pacific Science Volume 58, Number 1, 2004

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