2005 Salt Lake City Annual Meeting (October 16–19, 2005)

Paper No. 10
Presentation Time: 10:30 AM


DEAL, Richard and WULFF, Andrew H., Geography and Geology, Western Kentucky University, 1906 College Heights Blvd. #31066, Bowling Green, KY 42101-1066, richard.deal@wku.edu

The Geology and Culture of Hawaii is a field-based course run through the Study Abroad Program at Western Kentucky University. It is designed to introduce students to the study of volcanic/geological phenomena, and human and physical geography, as evidenced on the Hawaiian islands of Hawaii and Kauai. This course offers students an opportunity to study various volcanic phenomena including both young and older shield volcanoes, lava flow morphologies, fumaroles, lava tubes, and active flows. The course also examines traditional Hawaiian culture, as well as the more recent changes brought about by European, American, and Asian influences. The islands of Kauai and Hawaii offer the opportunity to study a wide variety of physical geographic phenomena, as well as a wide variety of climate types and environmental problems of isolated areas, and a unique interaction between human and physical influences.

The course is offered primarily for undergraduate majors in geography and geology by two instructors, one who specializes in Pacific island communities and culture, and one a volcanologist. In May 2005, five days were spent on the island of Kauai visiting Waimea Canyon, the South Coast (Menehune Ditch, Waimea, Fort Elizabeth, Koloa), and locales along the Na Pali Coast. Sites visited on the big island included Kilauea Crater and various sites in Volcano National Park, Kula Kai caverns, Lava Tree Park, Puna, Hilo, the North Coast (Akaka Falls, Waipio Valley), the West Coast (Kona, historic parks), and black and green sand beaches.

The course grade was to be determined by a combination of an oral presentation, written paper, and journal. Students were assigned, or chose, a topic before the start of the field component of the class, and each presented the basics on their topic to the entire class in oral sessions prior to the trip. While in Hawaii, students gave oral presentations on their topics, took photos, recorded mileages to sites of interest for a road log, and entertained questions from other participants. Upon return, each student submitted a final version of the paper, with additions based on the field experience. Students also submitted a journal of the field experience for the remaining portion of the final grade. Evaluations confirmed that students gained a broader view of the interaction between physical environment and culture.