Geology on an active hot spot!
Big Island, Hawaii
30 July - 8 August 2010
This eight-day field course (excluding two travel days) on the
Big Island of Hawaii will serve to introduce participants to plate tectonics, hot spot volcanism, and the geologic features and hazards associated with living on an active volcano. We will discuss volcanic edifices, eruption styles, magma evolution, and see features such as various types of lava flows, lava lakes, fault scarps, rifts, craters and
calderas and active lava flows.
A majority of the learning sites are located on the Big Island of Hawaii
primarily within the boundaries of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Sites to visit include, but are not limited to: Kilauea Caldera, Thurston Lava Tubes, Crater Rim Drive, Halema'uma'u Trail, Chain of Craters Road, Steaming Bluffs and Sulphur Banks, Devastation Trail, Kilauea Iki Trail, Mauna Ulu and the Pu'u Huluhulu Trail, Pu'u Loa
Petroglyphs…we will also hike to the active lava flows (assuming that eruptive activity at Pu'u O'o is still occurring). A snorkeling adventure is also included with a biology lecture.
The trip is designed for college-level students and/or those wishing for a continuing education experience who have had at least an introductory geology course or who may interested in pursuing a degree in geology. The primary learning goals for are: (1) to familiarize students with basic, introductory-level concepts and processes in geology and, in particular, volcanology; (2) for students to learn to make and record observations in the field and to understand the connectivity between geology and humans living on an active volcano.
Tentative Daily Itinerary: Breakfast and dinner at KMC unless otherwise noted.
- Friday, July 30 – Participants arrive in Hilo, Hawaii
for transfer via van to Kilauea Military Camp. No meals provided.
- Saturday, July 31 – Overview/logistics, Kilauea Visitor Center, Steaming Bluffs,
Sulphur Banks, Kilauea Overlook, Halema'uma' history, HVO, Jaggar Museum,
SW Rift, Halema'uma'u Overlook (if open), Keanakako'I overlook, Devastation
Trail, Pu'u Pua'i Overlook. About 4 miles of hiking on easy trails. BLD/KMC.
- Sunday, August 1 – Chain of Craters Road including stops at Lua Manu Crater
(hike), Pauahi Crater and others, Mauna Ulu trail to Pu'u Huluhulu, Kealakomo
Overlook, Alanui Kahiko, P'u Loa Petroglyphs, Holei Sea Arch, end of Chain of
Craters Road. 6 – 7 miles of hiking on easy trails. BLD/KMC.
- Monday, August 2 – Drive north to Waipi'o Valley Overlook. Hike very steep
road into valley and beach. Lapahoehoe Point Park. BLD/KMC.
- Tuesday, August 3 – Drive to the Puna District to Lava Tree State Monument,
Kumukahi Lighthouse, Ahalanui Hot Spring (lunch, swim), Kalapana, Kaimu black
sand beach. Possible lava viewing. BLD/KMC.
- Wednesday, August 4 – Drive to South Point along the Hawaii Belt Road.
Discussion at South Point. Hike to the Papakolea/Mahana Bay green sand
beach (lunch, swim). Time permitting, a visit to the Hawaiian Oceanview Estates
adjacent to Mauna Loa's SW Rift Zone. BLD/KMC.
- Thursday, August 5 – Group breakfast buffet at Volcano House. Hike the
Kilauea Iki Trial from Kilauea Iki Overlook, Thurston Lava Tube, Mauna Loa Strip
Road. About 4 miles of easy to moderate trails. LD/KMC.
- Friday, August 6 – Snorkeling adventure at Ho'okena Beach Park (near
Honounau) Bay. Lunch and marine biology lecture. Tide pool hike to see
anchialine ponds, etc. If time permits, Pu'uhonua o Honaunau National Historic
Park B/KMC, D en route back from Kona (not included), Return late to KMC.
- Saturday, August 7 – Kaumana Cave, Boiling Pots, Rainbow, ?Akaka, and
Kahuna falls, lunch on Hilo Bay. Afternoon open for helicopter tours or Hilo
exploration. The costs of these options are not included in the trip package.
- Sunday, August 8 – Transfer via van from KMC to Hilo airport for student
Please note that this itinerary may change to accommodate changes in weather, eruption status and other factors.
Dr. Jennifer A. Thomson, Dept. of Geology, Eastern Washington University, Cheney, WA.
Dr. Thomson is a Professor of Geology at Eastern Washington University. Dr. Thomson's specialties are in mineralogy, petrology (both igneous and metamorphic) and geochemistry. Her research has involved study of partial melting at granulite facies conditions in New England and in the contact metamorphic aureole of the Stillwater Complex as well as studies on rare tourmaline in the granulite facies terrane of southcentral Massachusetts. She has co-taught numerous summer field courses in the Pacific Northwest including the geology of the North Cascades, the natural history of the Lewis and Clark trail, the Oregon coast and Klamath Mountains, Mt. Rainier and Mt. St. Helens, the Olympic Peninsula of Washington, the Snake River Plain, Craters of the Moon and Yellowstone National Park. By training she is a metamorphic petrologist, but has an intense interest in igneous petrology as well. She teaches courses in introductory geology (for majors and non-majors), mineralogy, igneous and metamorphic petrology, rocks and minerals and volcanology.
Dr. Bart S. Martin, Dept. of Geology & Geography, Ohio Wesleyan University, Delaware, OH.
Dr. Martin is a Professor of Geology at Ohio Wesleyan University. Dr. Martin's specialties are in igneous petrology and geochemistry with an emphasis on the evolution of large volcanic provinces. His research interests focus on the geochemical and volcanological evolution of voluminous lava flows in the Columbia River flood basalt province of Oregon, Washington, and Idaho, as well as the effects of large-scale volcanism on the Earth's environment. He has participated in international field conferences on large igneous provinces, has co-led several field trips on the Columbia River basalts, and has published on the geochemistry of the 1300 km3 Roza flows of the Columbia River basalts. Dr. Martin is also interested in the petrology and mineralogy of ultramafic rocks in the Blue Ridge of western North Carolina. He teaches courses in physical and environmental geology, mineralogy, igneous and metamorphic petrology, economic geology, volcanology, and the geology of national parks and scenic areas.
(Price does not include flights to and from Hilo, Hawaii)
GSA Student Members - $985
Thanks go to Subaru of America, Inc. for their generous support of this program.
Non-GSA students - $1245
To hold a position on this trip a deposit of $200 must be paid at time of reservation.
Full payment has to be made before 30 June 2010.
To reserve a position on this exciting trip, please contact Gary Lewis, Director, GSA Education & Outreach at
. For further information about the trip itinerary and learning outcomes, contact the trip leader Dr. Jennifer Thomson at