Mauna Kea is a dormant volcano on the island of Hawaiʻi. Its peak is 4,207.3 m above sea level, making it the highest point in the state of Hawaiʻi and second-highest peak of an island on Earth. It is about a million years old, and has thus passed the most active shield stage of life hundreds of thousands of years ago. In its current post-shield state, its lava is more viscous, resulting in a steeper profile. Late volcanism has also given it a much rougher appearance than its neighboring volcanoes due to construction of cinder cones, decentralization of its rift zones, glaciation on its peak, and weathering by the prevailing trade winds. Mauna Kea last erupted 6,000 to 4,000 years ago and is now considered dormant. The peak is about 38 m higher than Mauna Loa, its more massive neighbor.
In Hawaiian religion, the peaks of the island of Hawaiʻi are sacred. An ancient law allowed only high-ranking aliʻi to visit its peak. Ancient Hawaiians living on the slopes of Mauna Kea relied on its extensive forests for food, and quarried the dense volcano-glacial basalts on its flanks for tool production.