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My United States UNESCO collection was growing so slowly, until recently when I added two of New Mexico’s sites, the Great Smoky Mountains, and these four cards from Hawai’i’s two sites.

The first three cards show the Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, on the UNESCO list since 1987. These cards come from tckelekia and bluehobbit via the Postcrossing forum:

UNESCO hawaii volcanoes3

Red-hot lava flows into the ocean, creating new land.

UNESCO hawaiivolcanoes1

The Puu Oo vent spraying lava and catching fire to trees.

UNESCO hawaiivolcanoes2

The Thurston Lava Tube, formed by lava flowing through self-made tunnels. Lava tubes are formed by slow-moving lava. The top layer of the lava cools and hardens, while the interior of the lava continues to flow, creating a tunnel. This tube is named after the Thurston family; Asa Thurston was one of the first Westerners to visit the site and his grandson Lorrin was instrumental in getting the site made into a National Park. “Thurston Lava Tube” is also the name of a band from England, but is otherwise unrelated.

The fourth card is a very special card from bluehobbit, of Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, Hawai’i’s newest UNESCO site. It was added in 2010. It is very special that I have this card because Papahanaumokuakea is very remote, so there are not so many postcards or visitors there.

UNESCO paphanaumokuakea

Papahanaumokuakea is a mixed cultural and natural heritage site. It holds a deep traditional and spiritual significance for the native Hawaiian peoples as well as being home to thousands of unique species. The whole protected area is larger than the country of Greece, which makes it one of the largest marine protected areas in the world. Amazing!