Papakolea -The Green Sand Beach Rich in Olivine
Papakolea Beach, which is also known under the names of Green Sand Beach and Mahana Beach is one of the four green sand beaches in the world, the others being located in Galapagos Islands and one in Norway.
Papakolea Beach is located near South Point, in the Ka’u district of the island of Hawaii. The green color of the sand is given by the presence of a semi-precious stone named olivine, which has its origins in the cinder cone of Pu’u Mahana, a 49,000 year-old volcano of Mauna Loa’s southwest rift, against which the beach is located.
Because of the erosive force that washes into the base of volcano, many olivines are extracted out of the cinder and deposited on the beach, action that leads to the greenish color of the sand.
Olivine is locally known as “Hawaiian Diamond” and is found especially in O’ahu’s renowned Diamond Head volcano.