CSAV Facilities

The Center for the Study of Active Volcanoes offers unique educational and research opportunities in a beautiful and diverse natural setting. CSAV is located in the same building as the University of Hawaii at Hilo Geology Department, but with side buildings scattered across campus.

The UH Hilo/Geology building, completed in 1989, contains new equipment and laboratories representing an investment of over 1.3 million dollars 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 department, and CSAV's volcano monitoring program complements the department well.


Outside of the Geology buildingThe UH Hilo Geology Building was renovated and completed in 1989.

Room with small machines for polishing rocksThe Rock Preparation Room is used for creating thin sections, and samples for the EDXRF.

David tals to a group of studentsThe main teaching classroom is 110; here, David Carvalho talks with International scientists.

Children teach Hawaiian language to students of InternationalIn Room 110, students from Na Pua Noeau teach a chant to CSAV International scientists.

Room filled with old videotapesIn Room 109, video and slides are digitized and archived.

A set of lab tables is covered in zip loc bags of rock samplesIn Room 121, students and Coop staff work with HVO scientists, analyzing tephra from eruptions.

Students look through microscopesIn PB14 across campus, students log core samples from Don Thomas's drilling projects.

A student uses a saw to cut a rock core in halfAt the Old Armory warehouse, Lil cuts core sample in half for logging and storage.

Volcano Monitoring Systems

CSAV's volcano monitoring systems include:

Global Positioning System (GPS)

GPS is one of the fastest growing technologies in use today and is finding increasingly widespread applications in both scientific and industrial fields. CSAV owns four Leica SR-520 GPS Survey Systems, which are capable of delivering sub-centimeter level position fixing. GPS surveys are conducted to collect geographical data and to measure surface deformation.

Photo of GPS receiver on a lava fieldOne of CSAV's GPS receivers
collects data near Mauna Ulu.

Total Field Station/EDM

Another state-of-the-art method used by CSAV scientists and students to monitor surface deformation is electronic distance measurement (EDM) technology. EDM employs an infrared laser system to achieve altitude and azimuth positioning to millimeter-level tolerances. A Wild DI-3000 Distomat (total field station), one of the most precise surveying stations currently available, is owned and operated by CSAV.

photo of  Total Field Station equipmentThe Total Field Station is used
in a survey near Sand Hill on Kilauea.

Line Leveling

One of the most tried and true methods of measuring changes in elevation over time and space is line leveling. CSAV owns two complete leveling systems, the heart of which are the Wild NAK-2 spirit levels. When used with our Wild calibrated leveling rods, elevation profiles may be determined to millimeter-level precision over distances of several kilometers. Generally, leveling is the simplest and most robust means of deformation monitoring.

CSAV shares these resources with the UH Hilo Geology Department whose facilities include a well-equipped rock and mineral preparation laboratory. Visit the UH Hilo Geology site for details.

photo of CSAV students using a levelCSAV students level along the
East Rift Zone of Kilauea.