Geology Classes

Introductory Geology classes are always well attended. One of the most popular is Geology of the Hawaiian Islands, which is participated in by students from a variety of disciplines. Additionally, upper-level Geology courses are especially enjoyable because they involve a lot of hands-on work, both in the field and in the lab.

photo of students in Geology 111
Students in an introductory Geology class.
photo of students in mineralogy lab
Students in a Geology lab analyze rock specimens.
photo of students looking at a hydrology experiment
In the Hydrology course, students get to work with models that demonstrate the flow of groundwater.

In Physical & Optical Mineralogy, students analyze petrographic thin sections under the microscope. The UH Hilo Geology Department has a rock preparation lab, and students are allowed to make their own thin sections if they wish, assisted by a friendly staff technician.

photo of students with a petrographic microscope
Geology students analyze a thin section under crossed polars.
photo of Charley polishing a thin section
A student polishes a slice of rock before mounting it to a glass slide.
photo of Dave Phillips with a Brunton compass
A student determines the strike and dip of ash flows.
photo of a thin section under crossed polars
Plagioclase and olivine dominate this sample of Waipio Valley basalt.

Structural Geology and Field Methods are favorite upper-division classes. Students have the opportunity to learn how to read a Brunton compass, make field observations, interpret data, and create their own maps.

photo of Leigh and Michelle measuring strike
Field Methods students practice using the Brunton compass on Mauna Kea.
photo of students making a map
Back in the lab, students prepare maps from field measurements.