The triangular aspect of Rapa Nui is the result of volcanic eruptions from the three main volcanic centers and around 70 secondary volcanic cones. These along with the natural process of marine erosion formed the islands present form of about 173 km2.
Poike was the first volcano to erupt and is the oldest volcano on the island which erupted around 3 million years ago, giving rise to a peninsula. It is 370 m high and has a dry crater called Pua Katiki which is about 150 m in diameter and 10 to 15 m deep.
Rano Kau was the second volcano to erupt, about 2.5 million years ago. It is 300 m high and is made up of a huge crater 1.6 km in diameter, the bottom of which is a lake of fresh water with a depth of 11 m.
Terevaka is the youngest of the three volcanoes; it has an estimated age of 300,000 years. Rano Aroi is its main crater and is 200 m in diameter and sports an inner lagoon. Terevaka is the highest point of Rapa Nui as it is 511 m above sea level.
Despite its volcanic origin the islands landscapes consists of rolling hills which is a stark contrast with its rocky and rugged shores which distinguishes it from other High Polynesian Islands. The only two existing beaches are on the north coast, Anakena and Ovahe, both of them have sand beaches with coral and volcanic origin.
In 1999, according to the official census, the population was made up of 3460 inhabitants; in 2010 it had about 4800 inhabitants
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Rapa Nui is located at the eastern tip of the Polynesian triangle vertex, 4,050 kms from Tahiti and 3,700 kms from Chile.
The climate on the island is subtropical with sudden showers. The temperature fluctuates between 9 ° C in winter and 28 ° C in summer with an annual average humidity of 77%. The summer and winter months are identified as two seasons, each one with its own inter season: spring and autumn. The coldest month is August with a temperature between 14 ° C to 17 ° C during the day. February is the hottest month with temperatures between 24ºC 28ºC during the daytime. May is the wettest month of the year. The temperature of the sea water varies between 18 ° C to 25 ° C.
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