Research Divisions

Volcanology, Geochemistry, and Petrology (VGP)


Our group studies active volcanoes and all major aspects of volcanic systems everywhere they occur on Earth. The University of Hawaii is uniquely situated at the center of the Pacific "Ring of Fire".

VGP researchers use active Hawaiian volcanoes as natural laboratories of intraplate volcanism and fossil volcanic systems on the older islands to provide windows into deeper volcanic structures.

The group studies submarine volcanoes around the world using the UH and other research vessel, as well as human occupied and remote operated vehicles.

Group members even remotely monitor volcanoes on Earth and other planets with ground-based and space-borne observatories.

VGP has a wide range of modern, well-equipped analytical laboratories that provide data on the chemical composition and physical properties of igneous materials (see below).

The Hawaii Center for Volcanology is housed at SOEST; it includes scientists from the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory and the Center for the Study of Active Volcanoes at UH Hilo, facilitating collaborative projects to monitor active volcanoes.

Current Research Programs

Submarine Volcano Processes: Petrologic, volcanologic, geochemical and isotopic variations along and across mid-ocean ridges and backarc basin spreading centers, arc and hot spot volcanoes; melt generation and magma chamber processes; active submarine volcanism and effects on marine environments; petrology of the deep lithosphere; hot spot-spreading center interactions; magmatic systems at propagating rifts; geochronology of submarine volcanism, geometry and dynamics of mantle flow

Physical Volcanology: Eruption and emplacement of lava flows, flood basalt volcanism; physical properties of melts and lavas; explosive volcanism from silicic and intermediate volcanic centers, calderas and related ignimbrites; volcanic processes on extra-terrestrial bodies; volatile degassing and retention in magma chambers, environmental impact of eruptions; origin of dike complexes and rift zones.

Ocean Island and other Subaerial Volcanism: Volcano Monitoring, Petrologic, geochemical, isotopic, and geologic evolution of Hawaiian and other oceanic islands; Petrologic, seismic, and geodetic monitoring of active Hawaiian magmatic systems; satellite monitoring of volcanic hazards and eruption clouds; remote-sensing observation of extra-terrestrial volcanoes. Relationship of hot spots to flood basalt and oceanic plateau formation

VGP Shore-Based Analytical and Experimental Laboratories

Radiogenic Isotope Facilty (the "SOEST Isotope lab"), including:

Other major Facilities

Experimental Petrology Laboratory:

Research Divisions

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VGP Faculty