Study Tour

Volcanoes National Park, Big Island of Hawai'i

This year's geodynamics field trip went to the Big Island of Hawai'i and the Volcanoes National Park to visit several sites of past and present volcanism including Hawaii's tallest volcano, Mauna Kea, the lava flows xenolith nodules beds of Kaupulehu, a primary eruptive vent on the flank of Mauna Loa volcano at South Point near Kealakekua, and the youngest and most active volcano on the Big Island, Kilauea. This allowed the group to see and experience first hand the elements of volcanism and to continue the debate about the nature of mantle hotspots exemplified by this year's very controversial seminar series.


The field trip to the Volcanoes National Park, Big Island of Hawai'i was led by Adam Soule from WHOI. Don Anderson, Scientist-in-Charge (SIC) of the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory escorted the group around the Kilanea Caldera and environs. The complete list of participants is below:


Samuel Soule
Hans Schouten
John Whitehead
Jeffrey McGuire
Andrew Daly


Margaret Boettcher
Lynne Elkins
Trish Gregg
Cory Pettijohn
Shichun Huang
Anna Michel
Jeff Standish
Emily Van Ark
Jessica Warren
Rhea Workman
Clare Williams
Cara Santelli
Matthew Jackson
Pilar Llanes Estrada


May 22: Travel to Kona (group arrives ~2pm). Find
hostel (Pineapple Park). Shopping trip for food and incidentals and
airport pickup.

May 23: Drive to Mauna Kea. Stop at Pu'u Huluhulu. Look at glacial deposits, post-shied volcanism, and inflated flows.

May 24: Pick up keys to Kaupulehu flow property, look at xenolith beds, drive to Pu'u Wa'aWa'a trachyte flow.

May 25: Kealakekua Bay. South Point. Drive to Hilo.

May 26: Tour of Kilauea Caldera and explosive volcanism with Don Swanson. Active flows in the evening.

May 27: Active flows, Pu'u Loa petroglyphs, Kilauea Iki.

May 28: GPS and deformation with Peter Cervelli, more time in Park, Hilo tsunami museum.

May 29: Drive back to Kona, fly home.

In June 2004, MIT/WHOI Joint Program students and staff hiked Mount Kilauea on the Big Island of Hawaii to study the island’s origin and active volcanism. They are standing near an opening in a lava tube, about eight miles from the eruption source. Leading the field trip was Postdoctoral Scholar Adam Soule (sixth from left, hat backwards). Escorting the students were seismologist Jeff McGuire (far left), geophysicist Hans Schouten (right, with gloves) and physical oceanographer Jack Whitehead (right, with backpack). (Photo by Jack Whitehead, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)
Visual Tour
Visual Tour

Student Projects

Joint Program students enrolled in the Geodynamics seminar are required to complete a project for the class. This includes research, an oral presentation during the last two or three seminar meetings, and a written paper due at the end of the semester. For first and second year students, the project must be on a topic related to the theme of the seminar and must be different from their main research interest. For more advanced students, the topic may be closely related to their dissertation research.