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The coast west of Hualālai in particular had several royal complexes.The volcano is also important ecologically, is home to many rare species and several nature reserves near the summit, and is a popular hiking attraction.Much of the southern slope (above the modern town of Kailua-Kona) consists of lava flows covered by a layer of volcanic ash from 10 to 100 cm (4 to 39 in) thick.a, Hawaiian for "many-furrowed hill", a volcanic cone standing 372 m (1,220 ft) tall and measuring over 1.6 km (1 mi) in diameter.It extends for 9 km (6 mi), and has a prominence of 275 m (902 ft), north of the summit at i.There are over 100 cinder and spatter cones arranged along these rift zones.Hualālai has no summit caldera, although there is a collapse crater about 0.3 mi (0.48 km) across atop a small lava shield.

For comparison, almost all of Kīlauea and Mauna Loa is listed as threat levels 1 through 3.These are summarized in the table below: Vent lava spatter and lava flows, cinders and tuff at Waha Pele.Spatter cone erupted pahoehoe and ʻAʻā basalt lava flows.Although the two larger volcanos have each erupted over 150 times in the last 1,000 years, Hualālai has done so but 3 times.

The recurrence of activity at the volcano seems to be every 200 to 300 years.

Tholeiitic basalt, indicative of the submarine subphase of the volcano's construction, has been found in wells driven into the volcano at a depth of 75 ft (23 m).