Green Papakolea beach in Hawaii: why it has acquired this color
Hawaii is a state in the United States of America, which is located by a chain of islands in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Incredibly beautiful nature, mild and warm climate, cheerful and kind locals make this island a real paradise for tourists. But another feature that attracts travelers to Hawaii is the beach with an unusual color of sand. Most of the beaches have a classic, light-colored surface, but the exception is Papakolea Beach.
Geographic features of Hawaii
Anyone’s association with Hawaii is a vacation paradise among green palm trees, azure ocean, and white-sand beach. But Hawaii consists of a chain of 137 islands, which are considered the most isolated islands on the planet. The climate can vary from island to island, as their location affects about 14 climate zones. Some portions of land have a hot desert climate, and somewhere near the island there are real glaciers floating around. The closest piece of land to Hawaii is more than three thousand kilometers away. Despite this remoteness, the resources and nature of the islands make it possible to manufacture everything you need right inside the state. This fact explains why Hawaii has fairly affordable prices compared to other “paradise” islands in the world.
Another point that undoubtedly increased the flow of tourists to the island is the complete absence of snakes on the island. The local population for decades has carefully fought against these predators. They did it, of course, not for the tourists, but for their own comfortable life. But people have won this fight and now there are no dangerous reptiles on the territory of Hawaii.
Green Papakolea Beach
This beach, which any tourist dreams of visiting, is located in the largest and southernmost island, which is so called – Hawaii. Its length is only about 50 meters, but such a shade of sand certainly attracts the attention of tourists.
The emerald color of the sand in this place is due to its volcanic origin. Such a shade of the beach has because it contains small particles of chrysolite, which were raised from the bowels of the earth during a volcanic eruption. What is interesting is that from different angles of view of Papacolea beach the color of the sand grains changes from bright yellow to golden olive.
There are signs everywhere near this unique place, which prohibit taking away the sand grains. The locals call chrysolite the Hawaiian diamond. It belongs to the category of semi-precious stones.
The emerald beach is predicted to exist for not more than 150 years. According to geologists, after that time the grains of sand with chrysolite will be washed into the ocean because of the strong surf. Also, the fact that chrysolite tends to decompose also speaks in favor of the disappearance of the green beach.
How to get there?
There is no motor road to Papacolea beach, but it is strictly prohibited. To get there, you can either walk or cross the sea. The sea road is clear, but if you decide to walk, be prepared for the 5 km walk from the nearest parking lot.
There are no sun beds and deckchairs on the beach. Bathing there is also not always possible because of the strong surf.
Green Papakolea Beach. Hawaii
The green beach with the interesting name of Papakolea is located in the Hawaiian Islands. These are some of the most fabulous islands on the planet. Hawaii is always and everywhere synonymous with a serene vacation with all its classic trappings, palm trees, beaches and cocktails.
The southernmost and largest island of the Hawaiian archipelago, which is simply called Hawaii, has unusual colored beaches in addition to the usual sandy beaches.
But now go down 30 kilometers south of Black Beach and get to another amazing, but this time Green Beach. It is located 4.5 kilometers from the southernmost point of Hawaii in particular and the United States as a whole.
An unusual beach with green sand in Hawaii
The green sand beach is not as famous as most other Hawaiian beaches. It stretches only 50 meters in a remote area of the southern part of the island. But the unique color of its sand attracts many tourists.
The three names of Green Beach are.
This amazing beach has 3 names.
- Papakolea Beach. This name comes from papa colea, the Hawaiian name for the little plover bird that lives in the area.
- Mahana Beach is another name for Green Beach. It takes its name from the small bay on the shores of which the beach is located
- Green Sands Beach is the most logical and final name
Why is Green Sands Beach green?
No chemical testing has been done here, and no barge of green has sunk. Like all such wonders, the Green Beach has become such by magic of Her Majesty’s Wand of the Earth. But geologists attribute the unusual color of the sand to volcanic activity.
As you remember, Hawaii is a volcanic archipelago, on the territory of which there is the highest mountain in the world – Mauna Kea (exactly a mountain, not a point of the planet).
As a result of volcanic processes, the layers rich in chrysolite, better known as olivine, have risen to the surface.
This is how the mineral chrysolite (aka olivine) looks in volcanic rocks
This semi-precious mineral is used in the jewelry industry. So tourists who get to Green Beach can not only enjoy the inexpressible color of the sand, but literally bathe in jewels. It is not for nothing that this stone is called the “Hawaiian Diamond.”
Green Beach is located on the shore of a bay formed by a tuff ring about 50,000 years ago. Olivine is denser than other volcanic rocks in the area, so it is deposited on the beach shore during erosion and the other rocks are washed away. Olivine is formed by compounds of iron, magnesium, silicon and oxygen. The different content of one or another chemical element determines the color of the crystal, which can vary from yellow to brown. But still, it usually has an olive color, from which its name derives.
Olivine on the Green Beach
The present and future of Green Beach
Now from the ocean side, the coast appears green, but up close it’s already olive green. Note that the green olivine crystals are mixed with the black (lava) and white (coral) sand, and therefore some areas of the sand are greener. If you manage to visit here, be sure to examine the sand as closely as possible. It is an amazing sight.
This is what green sand looks like up close
Olivine has a peculiarity – it decomposes under the action of carbon dioxide and water. In other words, its crystals, sometimes up to 1 cm in size, gradually dissolve. The layers with this mineral are not endless, either. Add to this a fairly strong surf, and the result is the prospect of turning Green Beach into a regular beach. Scientists give Papacolea Beach no more than 150 years of “life.” So hurry up.
Green Papacolea Beach.
Due to the fact that the green sand on the beach is gradually disappearing, it is forbidden to take it away with you as a keepsake. There is even a local saying, “Nothing but memories. Leave nothing but footprints!” You guessed it, you can’t leave chips, cigarette packets and other trash behind. The word “footprints” refers to the most ordinary footprints in the sand, not mountains of garbage.
If you want to see how mankind littered the planet, go to … the Maldives. Surprised? Read about Tilafushi Island and you will understand everything.
Nothing but footprints!
The optimal time to visit is considered the first half of the day, and preferably it is a weekday. The sun doesn’t get as hot, and there will be a chance to be on the beach alone.
How to get there
Green Beach Papakolea is one of the most secluded and unique places on earth. You can reach it either on foot or by sea. The sea route is clear – speedboat or motor boat will bring you to the place.
But everything is a little bit more complicated with the walking. Access to Green Beach by car is prohibited. So be aware that if you’re offered delivery directly to the site, it’s probably illegal. You’ll have to leave your car in a parking lot a few kilometers away from the beach.
So, first you need to take South Point Road to Kaulana Bay. There is a parking on the left side. You leave the car and walk about 4.5 kilometers. It takes about 1 hour. But you’re in Hawaii – enjoy life, the island, and the ocean. The road is just off the coast.
Mahana Cove with Green Sand.