Origin of Kauai and its natural gems topic of lecture

Only about 1 percent of Kauai is above the ocean surface, states Dr. Chuck Blay, who co-authors an updated edition of “Kauai’s Geologic History.”

Blay will be featured Thursday night at the Hanapepe Public Library during a free presentation starting at 6.

“You probably are used to thinking of Kauai as an oceanic island,” Blay said. “But have you ever thought of it as merely the top of a giant mountain?”

Blay, who co-authors the expanded version of “Kauai’s Geologic History” with his son, Rob Siemers, will be available for a book signing and book sales following the presentation, which is part of the monthly lecture series on the “Hawaiian Marine Environment” and is hosted by the Friends of the Hanapepe Public Library.

The 2013 edition of “Kauai’s Geologic History: A Simplified Overview” features a number of never-before-published images of the deep sea floor which surrounds the Hawaiian Islands, portraying the islands as the tops of giant shield volcanic mountains surrounded by the North Pacific Ocean.

Kauai, estimated to be between 5 and 6 million years old, extends about 1 percent above the ocean surface.

“An analysis of the bulk of the mountain below sea level is necessary in order to fully understand the island’s origin and long geologic history,” Blay said in a release. “As with previous versions, the new offering targets a broad audience ranging from island residents and visitors with an interest in the island’s natural history to upper level high school and college level students.”

In addition to the volcanic mountain chain, the book touches on the geologic controls over Kauai’s evolving climate and diverse ecosystems, the character and origin of some of Kauai’s geological gems, including the Waimea Canyon, Na Pali, and Mahaulepu coast. It also goes into the formation and evolution of the island’s alluring sandy beaches.

Call 335-8418 for more information.

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