2007 Alum

Miriam Garcia

Miriam Garcia

Years participated in RESESS:
2006 →
2008 →

An Overview

Field methods in volcanology: USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO), Center for the Study of Active Volcanoes (CSAV)

Academic Affiliation: Senior, University of Texas at El Paso, Geophysics
Science Research Mentor: Tim Orr - USGS
Writing and Communication Mentor: Susan Eriksson - UNAVCO


The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) of the United States Geological Survey is used as a laboratory and classroom for future volcanologists. The Center for the Study of Active Volcanoes (CSAV) of the University of Hawaii at Hilo also hosts a field methods course in volcanology. As a volunteer at HVO and a CSAV student, one experiences firsthand the many physical and chemical aspects of volcano monitoring. On 17 June 2007, a magmatic intrusion, originating in Kilauea Caldera, traveled down the East Rift Zone. To see the effects of this intrusion, crack stations, Very Low Frequency (VLF) receivers, and geodetic leveling techniques were used to monitor the intrusion area. Other essential methods were applied. Gas geochemistry samples were taken in three separate locations to observe magma depth.

Distinguishing earthquake signals was part of the in-classroom, seismology section of the course. To measure deformation, a series of four GPS stations were set up, and a Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) instrument was introduced. As part of physical volcanology, scientists and students hiked out to the summit of Pu’u O’o and onto the fissure eruptions that started on 21 July 2007. A case study for the eruption of Eldfell Volcano in Iceland culminated the field class using previously learned tools and techniques. The effectiveness of volcano monitoring in the Eldfell situation was described, as well as recommendations for how scientists could have and can improve their techniques to reduce the impact of hazards in the area. Note: M. Garcia did these two volcano related educational experiences as an ancillary program to her required university summer field camp for 2007.