HPU scientist shares innovative research of Kīlauea Volcano lava

August 23, 2012

Andrew R. Greene, Ph.D.

Andrew R. Greene, Ph.D.

HONOLULU – A Hawai‘i Pacific University environmental scientist is on the Big Island, sharing insights gleaned from studying lava from one of the most active volcanoes in the world.

Assistant Professor of Environmental Science Andrew R. Greene, Ph.D., is one of the participants at the American Geophysical Union (AGU) Chapman Conference on Hawaiian Volcanoes: From Source to Surface, which runs until Aug. 24. His collaborative research deals with temporal geochemical variations in lavas from Kīlauea’s Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō eruption over the last 30 years.

“The long duration and vigorous activity of Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō provide a rare opportunity to look beyond the shallow-level crustal processes associated with the short eruptions — days to weeks — typifying many active basaltic volcanoes,” said Greene, a volcanology and geochemistry specialist.

“Our ongoing research looks at the temporal geochemical and isotopic variation of Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō lavas,” he said. Greene added that monitoring the eruption allows researchers to capture dynamic changes in shallow crustal and deeper mantle processes during a single, long-lasting magmatic event, which “gives us a clearer understanding of how active volcanoes in Hawai‘i work and how they may affect the future.”

Greene collaborated with Michael Garcia of the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa, Dominique Weis of the University of British Columbia, Aaron Pietruszka of the U.S. Geological Survey, and Jared Marske of the Carnegie Institution of Washington, D.C.

The AGU Chapman conferences are small, topical meetings designed for in-depth discussion of specialized subjects. Conferences were recently held in Cyprus, Cambodia, England, India, Canada and Chile. The Big Island conference is of particular significance as the U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory marks the centennial of its founding in 2012. This week’s meeting centered around cutting edge Hawaiian volcano research.

In December, the AGU Fall Meeting in San Francisco will be one of the largest worldwide conferences in the geophysical sciences. HPU is planning a presence there to showcase its innovative scientific programs and researchers.