The Geology Building, completed in 1989, contains new equipment and laboratories representing an investment of over $1.3 million by the State of Hawaii. The component laboratories, classrooms and support facilities have been designed to house a complete and state-of-the-art geology program. Laboratory facilities include those for rock preparation, mineralogy and petrology, wet chemistry, computer applications and modeling. Students also have access to instruments used for volcano monitoring through the Center for the Study of Active Volcanoes (CSAV). Such instruments include Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers, total field station and EDM instruments, precise levelling instruments, portable seismometers and gas geochemical instruments.
One of the outstanding features of the UH Hilo Geology program is that the classes are always small, with a maximum of 28 students in undergraduate courses, and less than ten for most upper-level classes.
There are usually about 25 to 30 Geology majors at UH Hilo each year, and four professors. The resulting faculty-to-student ratio allows for close interaction between the students and professors, both in the classroom and on field trips.