Hawaii’s Volcanic Eruption of 2018

Monday, February 25, 2019 - 11:00am to 12:00pm
Event Location: 
Leighton Conference Room (room 101), Natural Resources Building

Dr. Stephen Marshak (Department of Geology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)


Between early May and early August of 2018, a volcanic fissure along the eastern edge of the big island of Hawai'i erupted large quantities of lava, and the summit caldera of the Kilauea volcano erupted clouds of pyroclastic debris.  This eruption, the largest to take place on the island in decades, sadly destroyed over 700 homes and displaced thousands of residents.  It covered housing developments, roads, and a geothermal power plant with meters of new rock, and moved the coastline of the island eastward by up to 500 m.  Due to the efforts of geologists at the USGS and the University of Hawaii, all aspects of the eruption were well documented.  The speaker traveled to Hawai'i during the eruption, and was able to observe the active lava front on the ground (thanks to temporary press credentials supplied by the editor of Champaign News Gazette), as well the flow of lava into the sea (as seen from a boat), and the 200 m-high lava fountain feeding a river of lava that burned its way across the island to the sea (as seen from a helicopter).  This talk summarizes the geologic context of the eruption, the various components of the eruption, the chronology of the event, the eruption's societal consequences, and the response of emergency services.

Download Flyer: http://isgs.illinois.edu/sites/isgs/files/seminar/ISGS_SeminarFlyer_20190225.pdf


About the speaker

Dr. Marshak received his A.B. from Cornell, M.S. from Arizona, and Ph.D. from Columbia, all in geology.  He was on the faculty of the Department of Geology at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, from 1983 to 2018.  During this time, he served as Department Head for eight years and, more recently, as the Director of the School of Earth, Society, & Environment.  Steve's research in structural geology and tectonics has taken him in the field in North America and on other continents.  He has published on fold-thrust belts, Midcontinent tectonics, Precambrian geology, and the development of foliations.  At Illinois, he taught introductory geology, structural geology, geotectonics, and field geology.  These efforts were recognized by undergraduate teaching awards at both college-level and campus-level.  In addition, he received the Neil Miner Award from the National Association of Geoscience Teachers for "exceptional contributions to stimulation of interest in the Earth Sciences."  In addition to research publications, Steve authors undergraduate geology textbooks (Earth--Portrait of a Planet; Essentials of Geology; Earth Science; Earth Structure; Laboratory Manual for Introductory Geology; and Basic Methods of Structural Geology), and he developed aMOOC(massive open online course) called Planet Earth, and You, which has reached thousands of viewers in over 170 countries.  Currently, Steve is continuing his research and book writing, and is teaching a course on energy resources for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in Champaign.