New Insights into the Groundwater Hydrology of Maunakea and Hawaiʻi Island

Jun 21, 2018 7:00 PM

A Maunakea Speaker Series presentation by Dr. Donald Thomas, Director of the Center for The Study of Active Volcanoes at the University of Hawaii at Hilo.

The next scheduled program in the Maunakea Speaker Series will be held Thursday June 21, 2018 at the ʻImiloa Astronomy Center Moanahoku Hall. This exciting free lecture is open to the public and starts at 7 pm.

Dr. Donald Thomas will be presenting the results of more than two decades of research into Hawaiʻi Island’s groundwater systems. His research has shown that the island contains far more stored groundwater than was originally thought, and that groundwater flow within the island follows complex pathways from the soil to the shoreline. Geophysical surveys and cored research holes have identified buried geologic structures, related to the volcanic history of each of the island’s volcanoes, forming barriers that can hold water for thousands of years and even force water to flow far below sea level in order to escape from the island. He will discuss the implications of his findings for future management of Hawaiʻi’s water supplies.

Dr. Thomas received his Bachelor’s degree in the fields of Physics and Chemistry in 1970 and came to the University of Hawaiʻi to conduct his PhD research on Kīlauea’s volcanic gas chemistry. After completing his PhD in 1977, he was hired by the Hawaii Institute of Geophysics at the University of Hawaiʻi to conduct research on Hawaii’s groundwater and geothermal resources and, in recent years has conducted deep research drilling on the island to better understand the volcanic processes and history of Hawaiʻi’s volcanoes. He is currently the Director of The Center for the Study of Active Volcanoes housed at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo.

Parking at ʻImiloa is available without charge.

About the Maunakea Speaker Series 

The Maunakea Speaker Series is a monthly scholar-focused presentation offered as a partnership among the Office of Maunakea Management, 'Imiloa Astronomy Center, and the University of Hawai'i at Hilo Department of Physics & Astronomy. This collaborative venture gives the community unprecedented access to fascinating research taking place on Maunakea and other topics unique to the Island of Hawai'i. A venue for scholars to share their stories and learn from discussion, the series promotes understanding and collaboration across all sectors of the community, while addressing the goals of the University of Hawai'i at Hilo.

For more information visit or call 808-933-0734.     

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