School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology
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Large fresh water supply discovered on Hawai‘i Island

In March 2013, researchers from UH Mānoa and UH Hilo began drilling at 6400 feet above sea level in the saddle region between the mountains of Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea. HIGP faculty member Donald Thomas is leading the effort. What they discovered seven months later may radically change conventional wisdom regarding the state’s most valuable resource: fresh water. Click on the image or title to watch the UH video report.

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SOEST in the News

Beach erosion image Coastal erosion predicted to double by 2050s in Hawai‘i

A report in the journal Natural Hazards by scientists at SOEST and the Hawai‘i Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) brings into clearer focus just how dramatically Hawai‘i beaches might change as sea level rises in the future. Chronic erosion dominates the sandy beaches of Hawai‘i, causing beach loss as it damages homes, infrastructure, and critical habitat. “When we modeled future shoreline change with the increased rates of sea level rise (SLR) projected under the IPCC’s ‘business as usual’ scenario, we found that increased SLR contributes to an average 36–40 ft of shoreline retreat by 2050, and an average of nearly 100 ft of retreat by 2100, except at Kailua, O‘ahu, which is projected to begin retreating by mid-century,” said Tiffany Anderson, lead author and post-doctoral researcher.

Read more about it and watch the videos, including interviews with Tiffany Anderson and co-author Chip Fletcher, coastal geologist and SOEST’s Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, at KITV (autoplays) and Hawaii News Now; read about it in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser (subscription required), KHON2 here and here, SFGate, UH System News, and EurekAlert!. Image courtesy of C. Fletcher; click on it to see the full version.

Photo of Halemaumau Vog returns, survey nears completion

When it comes to impacts from the volcanic gases and particles emanating from the active eruption at Kīlauea volcano, the windward side of the island usually gets off easy. The regular trade winds from the northeast typically blow the sulfur dioxide and other particulates from the vent at Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō out to sea or toward Kona. But when those winds die down, the vog can accumulate, creating a thick haze that creates bothersome conditions for many people, and that’s what is happening this week in East Hawai‘i. The Vog Measurement and Prediction Project (VMAP) uses a computer model, paired with weather forecast models, to attempt to predict where vog will go.

Read more about it in the West Hawaii Today. Image courtesy of M. Zinkova.

Graphic of magma reservoirs Kīlauea lava supplied by two sources

Aaron Pietruszka, a U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) geochemist in Denver who earned his PhD from the Department of Geology & Geophysics (G&G), has confirmed that the ongoing eruption at Kīlauea Volcano on Hawai‘i Island gets its supply of lava from two small sources beneath the earth's crust, not one large one. Based on his estimates, the capacity of the magma chambers means there would be a limited supply if magma stops flowing from below. “It’s encouraging that the amount of magma down there is relatively small,” Pietruszka said. “If the supply ceased today, without new replenishment, the most an eruption could last would be five years.”

Read more about in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser (subscription required). Image courtesy of K. Aoki, Honolulu Star-Advertiser; click on it to see the full version.

Please visit SOEST in the News: 2015 for archived news articles, with links to previous years.

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