Typically, there are around 25 students majoring in Geology at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo. Some were born and raised in the islands; others are on the National Student Exchange program; still others are from foreign countries. But they all share common interests: a love for the outdoors, for geology, and for volcanoes. What sets the UH Hilo Geology Department apart from all others is the extraordinary opportunities students enjoy here.

Opportunities for Geology Majors to Assist HVO

UH Hilo Geology Majors often have opportunities to work on projects with the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.

Liliana Desmither collecting data in the field.Liliana Desmither, UH Hilo Geology major, and Ingrid Johanson of USGS HVO collect data near the ocean entry lava flow.

Roger & Brendan in the fieldRoger Medina Hernandez and Brendan McQuillan dig through older volcanic deposits in search of charcoal samples (from trees destroyed by lava flows); the charcoal can provide information that dates the lava.

Opportunities for Public Outreach

UH Hilo Geology Majors enjoy teaching school children about earthquakes and volcanoes, at events such as Onizuka Day, or with the CSAV school visit program.

School children watch a seismic drum.Fred LaChance explains to 4th-grade school children the details of how a seismometer works.

A professor holds a bottle of soda in front of an audienceProfessor Steve Lundblad explains to school children how gas escapes from a bottle of Coke in a similar manner to gas escaping from magma.

Opportunities for Working with CSAV International

Each summer, the Center for the Study of Active Volcanoes needs a few UH Hilo Geology majors to assist with our International Training Program in Volcano Hazards Monitoring. It's a great way to gain experience and work with scientists from HVO, CVO, and AVO, and from volcano observatories in developing countries.

Two men work with a leveling instrument.On the lawn in front of the UH Hilo Geology Building, David Phillips and Nurnusanto set up precise leveling guns, for the CSAV International course.

A group of scientists pose near a leveling instrument.David Phillips and Francine Coloma pose with a group of participants enrolled in the CSAV International course, with a GPS instrument in the foreground.

Opportunities for Real-world Experience

At UH Hilo, Geology majors learn skills needed for professional careers, by collecting data in the field and working at job sites.

A student inserts a thermocouple into a lava flow.Bryan Patterson, UH Hilo Geology major, uses a thermocouple to measure lava temperature in a class research project.

A student uses a saw to cut rock.Lima Paleafei uses a rock saw to slice through a core sample from a CSAV drilling project of Don Thomas.