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WT - Hawaii 03:7-Day Tour of Hilo - Volcanoes National Park Day - Kona - Mauna Kea Summit - Green Sand Beach - Kona Coast
  • Day
    Entry Hilo

    Upon arrival, you will be picked up at airport and transferred to hotel.

  • Day
    Volcanoes National Park

    All day field trip to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Major features to be examined include Kilaueas summit crater (Halema`uma`u) plus associated features along the Crater Rim Drive and the East Rift Zone along the Chain of Craters Road. A lunch time lecture by Don Swanson, Scientist-in-Charge of the U.S. Geological Survey Hawaii Volcanoes Observatory will cover the Character and Origin of Hawaii Island Volcanoes. An evening hike (5-8 pm) provides an opportunity to view active lava tubes and lava delta formation where 2000 degree hot molten lava flows provide a spectacular explosive show as they enter the ocean.

  • Day
    Hilo - Kona

    The morning begins with presentations on the Geologic Origin of the Hawaiian Volcanic Mountain-Island Chain (Chuck Blay, seminar leader) and Tsunamis in Hawaii (Walter Dudley, Chairman, Dept. Marine Science, UH-Hilo). The road trip proceeds north along the Hamakua Coast and then west to the Kona Coast. Geological discussions emphasize island climatology and stream headward erosion at Akaka Falls, tsunamis at Laupahoehoe Peninsula, volcanic island deformation (prodigious faults) at Waipio Valley, and lava flow mapping and soil formation in the Waimea and North Kona Coast areas.

  • Day
    Mauna Kea Summit

    Field excursion to the summit of Mauna Kea to view the volcanos late stage cinder cones and its glacially-modified Pleistocene sediments. One or more of the mountains famous astronomy observatories will also be visited. Early Polynesian settlers climbed the mountain to quarry dense basaltic lavas that had chilled to just the right texture when they erupted under the glacial ice cap. They used the rock to shape adzes and other tools and weapons. Plant and animal species found no other place in the world live in this unique, clear, calm and dry environment. A visit to the summit of Mauna Kea is a memorable journey.

  • Day
    Green Sand Beach

    The morning presentation, Overview of High Energy Coastal Environments (The Zone of Interaction) on a Mid-Ocean Volcanic Island (Chuck Blay, seminar leader) is followed by a drive to the southernmost tip of the island and hike to examine coastal environments and Hawaiis famous Green Sand Beach at Makana Bay. The dramatic fault scarp at South Point is the southernmost subaerial expression of the large arcuate fault that produced the gigantic Alika Submarine Landslide which occupies much of the submarine southwest flank of Mauna Loa. Papakolea Beach at the head of the crescent shaped Makana Bay represents the worlds most famous concentration of green, olivine sand, a result of weathering and erosion of a littoral (i.e., coastal) cinder cone.

  • Day
    Kona Coast

    Field excursion to examine the black and white sand beaches, and associated marine reef structures, of the Kona Coast. These highly variable shore deposits reflect the islands volcanic origin, geologic youthfulness and interaction with its surrounding marine environment. The coastal hike will allow for examination and discussion of beaches that range in composition from black, glassy volcanic sand to white, coral and algal rich carbonate sand. Snorkeling in the warm shallow waters along the coast will allow viewing of the reefal environment that contributes the skeletal materials that comprise the carbonate sand beaches.

  • Day
    Exit Kona

    Transport to Kona Airport and end the tour there.