Volcanic eruption and hurricane affect rainfall over Hawai‘i Island

Diamond Tachera sampling a rain collector near the Puʻu Lāʻau cabin on Mauna Kea. Credit: Kiana Frank.

A UH news release features our PhD student Diamond Tachera’s research:

To better understand how and where groundwater is recharged on Hawaiʻi Island, a team of earth and atmospheric scientists from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa looked to the source—rainfall. In a recently published study, the team reported a time-series of rainfall data which highlights that extreme events, such as volcanic eruptions and hurricanes, can affect the chemistry of precipitation.

The researchers measured hydrogen and oxygen isotopes and the chemical composition of rainfall from central to leeward Hawaiʻi Island at 20 stations. Rain water isotopes help scientists identify the origin of groundwater and understand the recharge processes in a region.

Hawai‘i Island is characterized by the interactions of Pacific trade wind flow with two 13,000-feet high mountains, as well as one of the largest natural emitters of sulfur dioxide on the planet—Kilauea Volcano.

Fortuitously, the study period included an extreme weather event, Hurricane Lane, a major volcanic eruption at Kīlauea in 2018 and the nearly-complete cessation of long-term volcanic emissions after that historic event.

“These events allowed us the rare opportunity to investigate the impact of volcanic emissions such as sulfate (also known as vog) and a hurricane on precipitation chemistry,” said Diamond Tachera, lead author of the study and graduate researcher in the SOEST Department of Earth Sciences.

Diamond Tachera Profile Picture Ike Wai
Our PhD student Diamond Tachera

Consistent with previous research, the recent study revealed long-term variability in rainfall chemistry due to changes in atmospheric and climate processes in this region. Additionally, the team found significantly more sulfate in the rain samples collected during the Kīlauea eruption and substantially less after the volcanic activity ceased.

“Interestingly, we documented a decrease in the amount of rainfall, which may have been due to increased aerosols from the Kīlauea eruption, as well as isotopic changes in precipitation coinciding with Hurricane Lane,” said Tachera.

The results from this study can be used to better quantify and characterize precipitation—the ultimate source of Hawai‘i’s groundwater.

“In order to better serve communities in Hawaiʻi, specifically in access to fresh water and ensuring better water management, we need to understand where the groundwater is recharging and how it flows in the different aquifer systems,” said Tachera. “This is critical to future water security.”

This research was funded by National Science Foundation EPSCoR ʻIke Wai project, whose goal is to investigate groundwater recharge, storage, and flow within an ocean island volcanic environment.

“Volcanic eruption and hurricane affect rainfall over Hawai‘i Island”
May 3, 2021, by Marcie Grabowski

This news release does not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation (NSF). ‘Ike Wai is an NSF Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) funded project (award #1557349).

Nicole Lautze Elected to Geothermal Rising Board of Directors

Nicole Lautze profile picture
Dr. Nicole Lautze

Congrats to our director Dr. Nicole Lautze for her election to the Geothermal Rising Board of Directors (academic seat)! When running for the board, Nicole said,

“As a board member, I will ensure that GRC is meeting the needs of its members, will promote outreach that emphasizes the unique benefits of geothermal to governmental agencies and communities, and will encourage environmental stewardship, public acceptance, and developing the next generation of geothermal leaders.”

News Release:

Geothermal Rising (formerly Geothermal Resources Council), the world’s largest direct-membership geothermal professional and industry association, is pleased to announce the appointment of five new members to its Board of Directors. All five appointees have been selected based on their wealth of experience, industry knowledge, and commitment to advancing Geothermal Rising’s mission.

“Congratulations to all our new Directors who start on the Board in January. We have a busy program in the New Year with our webinar series starting, the launch of our new website, and preparations for San Diego 2021 getting into full swing, amongst many others,” said Will Pettitt, Geothermal Rising Executive Director. “I’d like to thank all the Directors that have been with us the past two years through some amazing changes to the organization and through the difficulties this year with COVID-19. I’d also like to thank all our candidates for the Board this year; it was a very strong and talented group. As we transition into the New Year we will have a much reduced and efficient Board size and will be needing many volunteers to help advise and guide the organization and our program. Anybody interested to help should reach out to us. Looking forward to a bright New Year for geothermal.”Nicole Lautze Geothermal Rising Geothermal Resource Council

The five newly elected Geothermal Rising Board Members include:

Nicole Lautze, Academic Seat
Mark Gran, Utility Seat
Jericho Reyes, Developer Seat
Laure Mora, At Large Seat
Doug Hollett, At Large Seat

Photos of the new Board of Directors can be seen on the Geothermal Rising website HERE.

As Geothermal Rising enters 2021, we will focus on our core purpose of helping to elevate and build our geothermal community and expanding the public’s awareness, understanding, and perception of geothermal energy. If you are a professional, student, or company in the geothermal industry, please consider joining our association to help make this possible.

About the Geothermal Rising
Founded in 1972, Geothermal Rising (formerly Geothermal Resources Council), is the oldest geothermal association on Earth, serving as the main professional and educational association for the geothermal community and public. As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, we empower the advancement of human understanding and practical use of geothermal energy through collaboration and communication of robust research, knowledge, and guidance. For more information, please visit http://www.geothermal.org.

“Geothermal Rising Announces 2021 Board of Directors Election Winners: Five New Directors Have Been Appointed for the 2021 Election”
Jan. 5, 2021, News Release by Geothermal Rising

Nicole Lautze Geothermal Rising Geothermal Resouce Council

Geothermal Geology Technician, Daniel Dores: A Day in the GeoLife Series

Daniel DoresNAME: Daniel Dores
CURRENT TITLE: Geothermal Geology Technician
AREA OF EXPERTISE: Environmental geochemistry, hydrology, renewable energy
EDUCATION: Bachelor of Science in Geology at the College of William and Mary, with Environmental Science and Policy Minor.
Masters of Science in Geology and Geophysics at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa.
TWITTER NAME: @RootsandRocks

What’s your job like?
I work for the Hawai‘i Groundwater and Geothermal Resources Center. We’re a research group nested within the Hawai‘i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. Our projects – both big and small – support the exploration and monitoring of Hawai‘i’s groundwater and geothermal resources. The research we do involves a mix of fieldwork, laboratory analysis, and a good deal of data analysis back in the office. We also get to partner with a wide variety of groups around the state with interests or research goals similar to our own.

Daniel DoresWhat’s a typical day like?
A typical day in the office usually involves some sort of technical writing, data analysis, and group meetings on collaborative projects. While each team member has their own project or series of projects on which they’re working, we like to work together as much as possible and get multiple researchers involved in a project. Between grant proposals, technical reports, and journal papers, we’re usually always in the midst of writing up some of our most recent results. During field campaigns, our days look very different. Most of our fieldwork is here in the state, although we do travel to the different islands. Our work includes geophysical surveys, groundwater sampling, rainfall collection, and even deep groundwater well drilling.

What’s fun?
The fun part of this job is getting to work on real projects that will have a lasting impact on Hawai‘i’s environment. We’re working to answer some of the biggest environmental questions the state is facing today related to its freshwater resources and energy production. Being a part of these solutions for Hawai‘i allows us to meet a lot of interesting people and have some really important discussions. And, when it comes to doing fieldwork, it’s hard to find a better location than Hawai‘i!

Daniel Dores collecting data out in the field

What’s challenging?
The most challenging part of this job is balancing our project workload, although time management is hardly a challenge unique to the earth sciences. What makes work in a research-based organization so tricky is balancing your current projects with the pursuit of new and innovative topics for the next phase of work for the team.

What’s your advice to students?
My advice to students is to be open to new opportunities, and don’t be afraid to take charge of the direction in which you want your career to move. There are so many programs out there that students and young professionals can use to their advantage. Undergraduate and graduate studies present a great window of time for you to learn new things, try different positions, and learn what excites you the most. Once you find the direction that interests you, make the most of exploring those avenues and pursuing that opportunity.

“Geothermal Geology Technician, Daniel Dores @RootsandRocks: A Day in the GeoLife Series”
September 5, 2020, Sandie Will, Rock-Head Sciences

2018: Lava Eruption Disrupts the Puna Geothermal Venture

Our Director Dr. Nicole Lautze provided her expert insight in the 2018 eruption of Kilauea and Puna Geothermal Venture:

Dr. Nicole Lautze … hopes that people will appreciate the success of Ormat’s mitigation measures: “This eruption has shown that infrastructure on topographically high locations along Kilauea’s East Rift Zone can survive eruptions along the rift, and [that] the mitigation measures initiated by PGV/Ormat worked. More broadly, the eruption demonstrates that there will be value in finding geothermal across the state, including in locations less prone to natural hazards.”

… In order to meet [Hawaii’s 100% renewable standard goal] by the 2045 deadline, Dr. Lautze believes that more test wells are needed on other Hawaiian islands to determine viable locations for development: “Geothermal is the only viable baseload renewable energy source. There is a lot of talk about solar and storage here, but the fact is that issues with long-term storage remain. To me, geothermal is key.”

Click on the images below to enlarge the pages.





“Lava Eruption Disrupts the Puna Geothermal Venture”
July/August 2018 issue, Geothermal Resources Council Bulletin, Vol. 47, No. 4
By the GRC Student Committee (Michael Mathioudakis, Molly Johnson, Katie Huang, Jon Golla, and Theo Renaud)

PhD Student Diamond Tachera Presents at Goldschmidt Conference

Diamond Tachera Profile Picture Ike Wai
Our PhD student Diamond Tachera

Our PhD student Diamond Tachera presented at the Goldschmidt 2020 conference:

Research on Hawaiʻi’s freshwater resources by University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa graduate students was featured at a recent international conference. The students and research assistants with HawaiʻiEPSCoR‘s ʻIke Wai project presented their work at this year’s Goldschmidt 2020 conference.

ʻIke Wai from the Hawaiian words for “knowledge” and “water,” respectively, is a $20-million project to ensure Hawaiʻi’s future water security through an integrated program of research, education, community engagement and decision support.

The annual international scientific conference organized by the Geochemical Society and the European Association of Geochemistry was held virtually in June and covered several themes in geochemistry to include scientific observations in Hawaiʻi and Oceania related to climate change, coral reefs and water resources.

Diamond Tachera presentation Ike Wai GoldschmidtThree PhD candidates from the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology’s Department of Earth Sciences discussed their work through the ʻIke Wai project, funded by the National Science Foundation to conduct research to understand Hawaiʻi’s aquifers.

Trista McKenzie, a Hawaiʻi Data Science Institute Data Science Fellow alumni, presented a deep learning model that accurately predicts submarine groundwater discharge off of Hawaiʻi Island’s Kona coast and discussed the benefits of pairing field-based measurements with big-data-driven approaches.

Goldschmidt 2020 Conference LogoBrytne Okuhata discussed a multitracer approach using radiocarbon and chlorofluorocarbons to determine fresh groundwater ages on the west side of Hawaiʻi Island. The data will be used to understand the aquifer system and to enhance their water model’s predictive capabilities allowing for better management of groundwater resources.

Diamond Tachera discussed groundwater geochemistry results from the Hualālai aquifer, located on the western side of Hawaiʻi Island. Tachera discussed how a data-driven method for a better understanding of subsurface properties is needed.

Data is currently available from the ʻIke Wai project with more data added regularly.

(NSF Award OIA #1557349)

Ike Wai Logo

The Abstract for Diamond’s Presentation

Hawai‘i’s water security focus of UH student research
July 17, 2020, University of Hawaii News

UH grad student earns Department of Defense fellowship

Ted Brennis checks a rain collector.

A University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa graduate student and Hawaiʻi EPSCoR ʻIke Wai research assistant has been awarded the Department of Defense (DoDScience Mathematics and Research for Transformation (SMART) Scholarship-for-ServiceTed Brennis is pursuing his master’s degree in Earth and planetary science.

“It’s a really cool fellowship and I’m really excited about it,” said Brennis.

The SMART program supports scholars in leading STEM fields that are in high demand by the U.S. government. SMART Scholars work within DoD labs and agencies that include Army, Navy and Air Force sponsor facilities, which impact national security and support the warfighter. Scholarship winners receive full tuition, monthly stipends, health insurance, book allowances and summer internships.

Ted Brennis, left works with Jeff Hesmbree of Koʻolau Mountain Watershed Partnership.

Brennis, who is also a U.S. Army veteran, began his research with Hawaiʻi Institute of Geophysics and Planetology Associate Specialist Nicole Lautze. Lautze, who leads the ʻIke Wai geochemistry team, recruited Brennis to work on analyzing precipitation and spring samples on Oʻahu.

“I love [fieldwork]. I lucked out,” said Brennis. “Now I get to go out and collect data that is relevant and needed for a lot of water managers.”

Brennis manages 17 rain collectors across Oʻahu, including remote locations such as Kaʻala, the highest peak on the island. Collecting samples can involve 10-hour days with an 11-mile hike out and back from where precipitation collectors are located. Brennis who describes those kinds of days in the field as grueling, also admits that seeing the data that results from the collection is satisfying.

Incorporating data science

Ted Brennis travels by helicopter with KMWP to a remote area of Koʻolau mountains to service collector.

Hailing from Fayetteville, N.C., Brennis completed undergraduate studies at UH Mānoa following his military service. Brennis says data science is one of his favorite parts of research. He names School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology Professor Neil Frazier as a mentor and attributes some of the knowledge he gained in scientific programming as a factor in being a competitive candidate for the scholarship.

“I use it in every class and every lab…it helps to visualize data and understand trends,” said Brennis.

The SMART Scholarship supports Brennis throughout the remainder of his graduate program. In addition, Brennis will complete a summer internship as a part of the SMART program, as well as serve as a federal employee upon completion of his degree.

As a husband and father, Brennis is focused on taking care of his family, completing his degree and is looking forward to learning more as an environmental scientist. He also looks forward to supporting the U.S. military’s mission and being a good custodian of the environment.

“UH grad student earns Department of Defense fellowship”
By Maria Dumanlang, University of Hawaii News

GRC Bulletin: HGP-A: Hawaii’s First Successful Geothermal Well

Geothermal Resources Council GRC Council Magazine coverThe Geothermal Resources Council Bulletin featured HGGRC’s article: “Geothermal Well HGP-A: Hawaii’s First Successful Geothermal Well.” HGGRC got the photographs from The Geothermal Collection and HGGRC’s photo collection. To read the article, click on the images below or click on the pdf link below and go to pages 56-59.

Many thanks to Ian Crawford and the Geothermal Resources Council for publishing our article!

Geothermal Well HGP-A: Hawaii’s First Successful Geothermal Well
Geothermal Resources Council Bulletin, July/August 2019, P. 56-59



The Women in Geothermal Campaign Featured Nicole Lautze

Nicole Lautze Women in GeothermalOur Director Nicole Lautze was featured in the Women in Geothermal campaign by the Geo Energy Marketing Services:

We continue our celebration of Women in Geothermal with a spotlight on Dr. Nicole Lautze, Director and Faculty Researcher / Hawaii Groundwater and Geothermal Resources Center, Hawaii Institute of Geophysics and Planetology, University of Hawaii at Manoa.

Dr. Lautze’s full quote is both inspiring and frustrating to know gender inequality is still so prevalent. We applaud and support Dr. Lautze in all that she’s doing for geothermal and women in geothermal / STEM.

“My passion for geothermal is derived from my fundamental concern for the planet. It has been an honor to lead the 5-yr-long Hawaii Play Fairway project, a statewide geothermal resource assessment, which includes a team of 5 male co-investigators and a number of both male and female students and employees. I enjoy working amongst bright and excited colleagues at all levels. Without intentionally setting out to be a champion of gender equality in geothermal and/or STEM, the gender-oriented roadblocks I have (and continue to) face(d) in my academic career are substantial. I am pulling for a sustainable planet and significant progress on gender equity into the future…”

Thank you for participating in our Women in Geothermal campaign Dr. Lautze. Your work is very important for our industry.

If you would like to participate in this campaign or know of someone who should be highlighted in this effort, then contact us in the comments below or DM us with questions.

Many thanks to Patrick Hanson and the Geo Energy Marketing Services for featuring Nicole!

Diamond Named UCAR Diversity and Inclusion Fellow

Diamond Tachera

Congrats to our PhD student Diamond for becoming a UCAR Diversity and Inclusion Fellow!

The University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) has announced the winners of the 2019 Next Generation FellowshipsDiamond Tachera, graduate student in the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa School of Ocean and Earth Sciences (SOEST) has been named Diversity and Inclusion Fellow.

Tachera is a kanaka ʻōiwi (Native Hawaiian) student who is pursuing a doctoral degree in hydrogeology at the SOEST Department of Earth Sciences. Her research focuses on precipitation and groundwater connectivity between Hawaiian aquifers, and her scientific goals focus on the intersection of indigenous knowledge and the scientific process to create sustainable water resource management within the State of Hawaiʻi.

Tachera earned her bachelor’s degree in geology and geophysics, also at UH Mānoa. Since she was an undergraduate student, she has participated in the Maile Mentoring Program, a campaign to support native Hawaiian students pursuing STEM degrees through mentorship. Tachera is also on the newly formed School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council at UH Mānoa.

“As a kanaka Earth scientist, I think the intersection of indigenous knowledge and Western science could play a key role in water resource management,” says Tachera. “I see myself as a science-community mediator in the future in a position that allows me to continue to work in a science field but placing importance on meeting and understanding community issues and goals.

The UCAR Fellowship program, which is in its third year, supports graduate students from underrepresented communities in their professional careers as Earth system scientists. The fellows will receive financial support for two years of graduate school and participate in two summer internships with UCAR and the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), which is managed by UCAR on behalf of the National Science Foundation.

“The Next Generation Fellowships were created to recognize that individuals with diverse backgrounds and experiences are an asset to the scientific community,” said UCAR President Antonio Busalacchi. “This year’s cohort continues to raise the standard set by past fellows in scientific rigor, problem-solving, and community engagement and inclusion in Earth system science.”

Read more on the UCAR announcement.

“Earth Sciences student named UCAR Diversity and Inclusion Fellow”
September 9, 2019, by Marcie Grabowski, News, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology, University of Hawaii at Manoa

Mauna Kea Hydrology Presented By Dr. Don Thomas

The hydrology of Mauna Kea was the subject of a presentation by Dr. Don Thomas in Hilo on Friday.

Thomas, a geochemist and noted groundwater expert on Hawaiʻi Island, shared his work studying the aquifer with the Mauna Kea Management Board.

Thomas explained how a complicated dike complex beneath the summit intercepts infiltrating rainfall recharge and greatly slows its transport toward sea level.

Thomas talked about the high level water in the flanks of Mauna Kea that was confirmed by two recent research holes drilled in the Humuʻula Saddle.

The Mauna Kea Management Board spent a portion of Friday meeting talking about the decommissioning of the Caltech Submillimeter Observatory, and how a hydraulic spill back in 2009 was complicating the environmental due diligence of the process.

Thomas downplayed concerns of aquifer contamination, as he explained how the rainfall recharge can take over 2,000 years to filter down to the aquifer.

“If water is taking that length of time, essentially, the likelihood of contaminants surviving that trip is pretty close to zero,” said Thomas. “There is an active, biological community within the geologic formation that even looks at diesel fuel and hydraulic oil as a food source and will break that material down.”

Mauna Kea Hydrology Presented By Dr. Don Thomas
September 30, 2019, by Big Island Video News

VIDEO: Mauna Kea Hydrology Presented By Dr. Don Thomas

HGGRC Featured in 2019 Hawaii Energy Facts and Figures

The Hawaii State Energy Office featured HGGRC and the Hawaii Play Fairway project in the 2019 Hawaii Energy Facts and Figures:

The Hawaii Groundwater and Geothermal Resources Center (HGGRC) catalogs much of the completed and ongoing geothermal-related explorations in Hawaii. Visit HGGRC at https://www.higp.hawaii.edu/hggrc/.

The ongoing Hawaii Play Fairway Project, managed by HGGRC and funded up to $1.5M by the U.S. Department of Energy Geothermal Technologies Office, will provide the first statewide geothermal resource assessment conducted since the late 1970s. Phase I, completed in 2015, involved the identification, compilation, and ranking of existing geologic, groundwater, and geophysical datasets relevant to subsurface heat, fluid, and permeability in Hawaii. Phase II, completed in 2017, involved the collection [of] new groundwater data in 10 locations across the state and new geophysical data on Lanai, Maui, and central Hawaii island, modeling the typography of the areas of interest to better characterize subsurface permeability, and the development of an updated geothermal resource probability map. Phase III involves the collection and analysis of scientific data from existing well sites and may include drilling of a geothermal test well (“slim hole”) at one of the high probability locations determined through Phases I and II. Results from the Hawaii Play Fairway Project will also indicate areas warranting additional geothermal resource exploration.







2019 Hawaii Energy Facts and Figures
https://energy.hawaii.gov/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/2019-FF_Final.pdf  (pg 21)

Unexplored Geothermal Potential May Offer Solution to Renewables’ Reliability Problem

Hawaii is largely relying on solar panels and battery storage to achieve its 100 percent renewable electricity goal. But geothermal power offers the possibility of carbon-free energy without the inconsistency of solar and wind.

Hawaii is largely relying on solar panels and battery storage to achieve its 100 percent renewable electricity goal. But geothermal power offers the possibility of carbon-free energy without the inconsistency of solar and wind.

Currently, geothermal is not generating any electricity in Hawaii. Puna Geothermal Venture, the state’s only geothermal power plant, closed in 2018 after a near miss with a lava flow from nearby Kilauea Volcano.

Prior to its closing, PGV supplied 31 percent of Hawaii Island’s electricity demand. The plant’s operator says it plans to reopen by the end of 2019.

Geothermal energy has only modest representation in for Hawaii’s energy portfolio. In 2018, prior to PGV’s closure, it supplied less than 4 percent of Hawaii’s total electricity production. Plans for the future include a modest increase in geothermal, but solar remains the dominant source.

But researchers at the University of Hawaii point out that most of the state has not been explored for geothermal potential, a process not unlike surveying for oil deposits.

Research recently presented by graduate student Ted Brennis with the Hawaii Groundwater and Geothermal Resources Center indicates that where resources are available, geothermal is competitive with wind and solar on both cost and land use.

He told HPR that Puna Geothermal Venture produces around 1 megawatt of power per acre of land it occupies, far more efficient than its renewable competitors.

“Solar resources generally occupy 5 to 10 acres per installed megawatt. Wind resources fluctuate between 30 and 100 acres per megawatt.”

Geothermal other main advantage is that it can provide what is called baseload capacity, the minimum amount of power needed to be on the grid at any given time.

While solar and wind output fluctuates seasonally and throughout the day, generation from geothermal can be adjusted in the same way a fossil fuel plant can increase or decrease output.

However, there are drawbacks. Surveying for geothermal resources can be costly and time consuming, with no guarantee suitable conditions will be found. Generating power from naturally hot water requires invasive drilling, and sometimes the use of hazardous chemicals.

Blowouts are also a possibility, in which hydrothermal fluids like sulfur dioxide and hydrogen sulfide are unexpectedly released into the atmosphere. Puna Geothermal venture experienced such an incident in 1991.

But Brennis cautions that “no renewable resource is perfect.” He points out that solar panels require the industrial scale mining of quartz, often sourced from open pit mines, and the use of hazardous industrial chemicals in the manufacturing process. Each 2 megawatt wind turbine needs around 700 tons of concrete, a major source of carbon emissions.

So can geothermal be a viable competitor to solar and wind father away from the active Kilauea Volcano? Brennis says that scientists believe the rest of Hawaii Island and Maui have strong potential for geothermal, but no one is really sure.

“That’s the key. We need to better characterize the potential across the rest of the state so we can plan effectively.”

Unexplored Geothermal Potential May Offer Solution to Renewables’ Reliability Problem
July 25, 2019, by Ryan Finnerty, Hawaii Public Radio

Voice of the Sea

Drs. Nicole Lautze and Donald Thomas shared their water research on the television show Voice of the Sea. In the episode “Water Resources Research,” Don talked about discovering new groundwater sources 10,000 feet below sea level on the Big Island:

[This discovery] helps us better maintain the resource and sort of change our thinking about how to regulate the resource, how to manage the resource, and maybe even ways we can better develop the resource with fewer impacts.

Nicole discussed looking at samples from deep underground and learning how various rock forms affect the flow and storage of freshwater underground:

More and more, we need to focus our work on very practical applications like what’s going to happen to our groundwater supply as the climate changes as population continues to grow. Well, we’ll need to understand where our water is coming from, where it’s stored, how it flows, because as populations grow, contamination issues arise.

For the Telly Awards, this episode won a bronze award in the education category, as announced in a UH news release:

In the education category, Voice of the Sea won a bronze award for “Water Resources Research.” It featured the Water Resources Research Center and how its research furthers understanding of the unique water and wastewater management issues in Hawaiʻi and the Pacific.

Water Resource Research
Voice of the Sea, UH Seagrant

Voice of the Sea wins five Telly Awards
May 24, 2019, by Cindy Knapman, UH Manoa news release

Earth scientists share expertise in international volcanology training course

The students proudly show off geologic maps they created with remote-sensing data. The students and instructor Scott Rowland spent this day ground-truthing their maps.

Every year since 1990, technicians and scientists from developing countries with active volcanoes have come to Hawai‘i for a 6-week course to learn the latest volcano-monitoring techniques. The course is run by the Center for the Study of Active Volcanoes (CSAV), based out of the University of Hawai‘i (UH) at Hilo, and led by Don Thomas, faculty member at the UH Mānoa Hawai‘i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP).

This year, Nicole Lautze (HIGP) and Scott Rowland (Department of Earth Sciences), researchers in the UH Mānoa School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology, shared their expertise in physical volcanology and remote sensing with participants from Guatemala, El Salvador, Argentina, Ecuador, Peru, and The Philippines.

The CSAV International Training Program is designed to assist developing nations in attaining self-sufficiency in monitoring volcanoes. The field training emphasizes volcano monitoring methods, both data collection and interpretation, in use by the U.S. Geological Survey and participants are taught how to use and maintain volcano monitoring instruments.

Hawaiian volcanoes are among the most active in the world, but unlike violently explosive volcanoes they can be approached and studied without significant risk. As a result, CSAV provides the ideal environment for practicing volcano monitoring techniques.

In addition to learning to assess volcanic hazards, participants learn the interrelationship of scientists, governing officials, and the news media during volcanic crises.

The course is not geared towards academics, but rather, addresses working in a crisis response mode, focusing on forecasting and rapid response to save lives and property. Since 1990, the program has trained over 250 scientists and technicians, from 30 countries.

CSAV was established by the Hawai’i State Legislature in 1989 and is a collaborative program among HIGP, the UH Hilo Department of Geology, the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory and the UH Mānoa Department of Earth Sciences.

Earth scientists share expertise in international volcanology training course
July 2, 2019 by Marcie Grabowski

Earth scientists share expertise in international volcanology training course

Geothermal Energy in Hawaii (Research In Manoa)

As Hawaii strives toward 100% renewable energy, geothermal represents the cheapest and most reliable baseload energy source. This week on Research in Manoa, Dr. Nicole Lautze joins Pete Mouginis-Marrk to discuss why geothermal energy is a viable energy resource for Hawaii, what is the relative cost, and where could we look?

Geothermal Energy in Hawaii (Research In Manoa)
Apr 30, 2018, ThinkTech Hawaii

Keynote Speaker Nicole Lautze Inspires Girls at STEM Conference

As the keynote speaker, our Director Nicole Lautze encouraged girls in grades 6 to 9 to pursue STEM fields at AAUW Honolulu’s Tech Savvy Conference (STEM = Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). A successful female scientist, Nicole shared her STEM journey and gave words of wisdom to the 80+ girls at the conference.

The Tech Savvy conference was a day-long conference to encourage young ladies to pursue STEM fields. This year’s conference took place at the Hawaii Loa Campus of Hawaii Pacific University in Kaneohe on April 21, 2018.

You need to add a widget, row, or prebuilt layout before you’ll see anything here. 🙂

Don Thomas Won the 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award

Congratulations to Dr. Donald Thomas — he won the 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Western States Seismic Policy Council!

The WSSPC Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes leaders in earthquake risk reduction. Throughout their careers, the recipients demonstrated an extraordinary commitment, level of service, and application of earthquake risk reduction to public policy.

His biography by WSSPC:

Donald Thomas, Ph.D., is the Director of the University of Hawaii (UH) at Hilo’s Center for the Study of Active Volcanoes (CSAV) as well as a long-standing member of the Hawaii Earthquake and Tsunami Advisory Committee (HETAC). For many years, Dr. Thomas has been doing the work necessary to keep people and the government fully educated and engaged – from scientific inquiry and research, to training and outreach, to undergraduate education – in hazards, mitigation, and monitoring of seismic activity. His dedication to the work has changed the way responders, builders, scientists, policy makers and the general public view, prepare for and respond to earthquakes.

A noteworthy example of his tireless efforts to promote hazard mitigation and awareness in Hawaii is making home earthquake retrofits accessible to homeowners. Don and his students took the detailed and complex designs for retrofitting post-and-pier foundations of homes damaged in the Kiholo Bay earthquake in 2006 and developed an online expert system that walked the homeowner step-by-step through the retrofit selection process. Based on identifying key elements of construction types, the expert system would determine the appropriate retrofit system, output construction drawings that homeowners or contractors could use to implement the retrofit, and provide a shopping list of hardware required to install the retrofit.

The WSSPC featured Don in its February 2018 newsletter (bottom image — click to enlarge).

The Western States Seismic Policy Council is the primary regional organization representing the western states, Pacific provinces, and territories supporting policies of the earthquake and tsunami programs that will reduce losses from earthquakes and their effects.

Director Nicole Lautze Wins Clean Energy Award

November 2017

Secretary of Energy Rick Perry Congratulates 2017 Clean Energy Education & Empowerment (C3E) Awardees
U.S. Department of Energy | news release
“Education – Nicole Lautze, an associate faculty member at the University of Hawaii Manoa, where she founded the Hawaii Groundwater and Geothermal Resources Center. She leads a team of senior scientists in the development of an updated geothermal resource assessment for the state of Hawaii.”

Morning Shakas: UH Researcher Honored
KITV | video
KITV’s morning segment congratulates Dr. Nicole Lautze for winning the 2017 Clean Energy Education & Empowerment (C3E) Award.

UH Manoa Researcher Honored for Clean Energy Education and Empowerment
Kaunana | research publication of the University of Hawaii at Manoa

Nicole Lautze: 2017 Award Winner
Clean Energy Education & Empowerment Awards | profile

USA, Hawaii: Geothermalist Nicole Lautze Wins Clean Energy Education & Empowerment Award
Global Geothermal News | blog

UH Manoa Research Honored for Clean Energy Education and Empowerment

University of Hawaii | news release

December 7, 2017

A Bipartisan Message of Clean Energy Progress
MIT Energy News | University magazine

Army taps consortium to find water for training area high up Hawaiian volcano

April 7, 2017
Army taps consortium to find water for training area high up Hawaiian volcano
Public Works Digest via Defense Video Imagery Distribution System | news article
“Dr. Donald Thomas has been a frequent visitor to the high plateau saddle between Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea. The geochemist … likes to drill holes into the mountain. … [The research] documented for the first time two significant aquifers amid a generally porous geologic zone. One was a perched groundwater pocket … The team also found a second aquifer, deeper down, that was huge and hot — 280 degrees F. … Thomas is now looking for ways, through CESU, to help the installation document the extent, quality and availability of the perched aquifer as a potable water source.”