Lake Waiau—the Science

On August 24, 2021, my first book Hawai‘i Calling will be published. (Wahooooo!)I am so excited. A goal since I was seventeen years old, “writing my book” has always been a formidable unachievable task on my “to do” list. No longer! Ric d. Stark is a published author. It only took me 55 years… 

One step further, I am eagerly writing and editing books #2 and #3. And I have my own publishing company, Night Moonbow Publishing LLC, so that I can self-publish.


To celebrate my own thrill of achievement, I am going to expound during this coming week on one or two of the topics that have become memoir stories in Hawai‘i Calling.

This morning I was searching on-line and I headed over to a wonderful topic—Lake Waiau. So let’s start there. Okay, that story doesn’t appear until page 98 of my 112-page memoir, but no matter… We are going to begin this week of exploration by learning about Lake Waiau atop Mauna Kea on Hawai‘i Island.

First, let’s explore the Western, scientific exclamation points about Lake Waiau. She sits just below the summit of Mauna Kea. One of the highest lakes in the United States, Lake Waiau’s elevation is 13,020 feet. She is the sole alpine lake in Hawai‘i.

The very existence of Lake Waiau is a scientific conundrum. Several scientific theories are put forth; the “truth” is not confirmed. Let’s remember, Hawai‘i is a volcano. Our volcanic rock is porous. Water does not remain on the surface; it seeps away.

So what is a lake doing on the top of Hawaii’s highest mountain? The scientific theories suggest something to do with the volcano and its impact on the rock. Something must have happened when the volcano was spewing lava. The ground got fried or something, creating an impermeable layer of rock, which forms the lake bed. Another theory suggests a permafrost beneath the land surface, which retains the water. (OH, NO! What happens with global warming?)

Whatever the western-thought reason, Lake Waiau is a treasure—both of the mind and of the spirit. Tomorrow, we will explore the spiritual story and learn about Hawaii’s primal connection to this small body of water, sitting atop a mountain in the middle of an ocean.

Published by Ric d. Stark

New to a post-retirement commitment to literary non-fiction, Ric d. Stark will focus memories on gay life, Hawaiʻi life and Hawaiian quilting.

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