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Hawaii Trip

"Volcano Studies in Hawaii"

Check out some pictures from previous trips!!

Information on the 2007 trip


Periodically, Dr. Beth Rinard, from the Department of Physical and Environmental Sciences at Tarleton State University will lead a two-week trip to the island of Hawaii. Dr. Rinard is a geologist whose interests center on the study of active volcanoes. She was an intern at the United States Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory during the summer of 1993, and a great deal of her time at the observatory was spent observing and studying the current eruption of Kilauea. This course is available for credit or for participation as an interested observer. Cost in 2007 was $3,000. Items not included are: food, Tarleton tuition and fees (for those taking the trip for class credit), books and maps, souvenirs, any optional activities.

Location and Purpose:

The group will leave from DFW airport and travel to Hilo on the "Big Island" of Hawaii. The island will be the site of the 13-day field trip to study active volcanism and related phenomena on the island. The purpose of this trip is to provide you an opportunity to observe a wide variety of geologic processes in action. The island of Hawaii is one of the most geologically active areas on the earth, and as a result, a great deal of geologic research is conducted on the island. The primary focus of the trip will be the study of the active volcano Kilauea. An active volcano provides an unparalleled laboratory for you to observe the creation of new land and the physical processes that shape the earth’s surface.

The Hawaiian volcanoes are studied intensively by a staff of full-time scientists at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, as well as by a number of geologists, chemists, and physicists from universities around the world. Because of their efforts, more is known about the behavior of these volcanoes than almost any other group of volcanoes on earth. Scientists constantly monitor the active volcano Kilauea and are able to predict its behavior with an amazing degree of accuracy. Due to this intensive monitoring, scientists have advance warning of most unusual activity. Therefore this makes Kilauea one of the safest volcanoes in the world for geologic study.

The island of Hawaii is comprised of five volcanoes, of which three are considered to be active. Only Kilauea is in eruption at this time, but Mauna Loa and Hualalai are expected to erupt at some point in the future. Mauna Kea’s last eruption was about 4,000 years ago and it is not known whether or not the mountain will ever erupt again. Kohala is a much older volcano which has been severely eroded and is considered to be extinct. The variation in age of these volcanoes will allow us to compare old and new volcanic landscapes. A survey of land uses on the island will illustrate the benefits and hazards of living and working in a volcanic region. You will also have a chance to consider the influence the ocean has on an island and its inhabitants. Trips to the ocean will be used to demonstrate the importance of ocean resources to the people of the islands. Snorkeling and/or scuba diving will be encouraged so that the instructors may point out the vast abundance of life in the ocean surrounding the island. The delicate balance of the shoreline and coral reef ecosystems, as well as the impact humans have on them, will be examined.

Ms. Rinard is a scuba diver, and if this is an interest of yours, you are encouraged to become a certified diver before the trip so you may dive as well. ONLY those who are certified to do so will be allowed to dive on this trip, so see your local YMCA or dive shop to inquire about lessons if you’d like to dive with the colorful fish and huge, friendly sea turtles in the beautiful, clear Pacific Ocean!