Geology and Natural History of Hawaii


An Education in Paradise

This course allows students to visit four of the Hawaiian islands–Oahu, Kauai, Maui, and Hawai'i over the course of three weeks–in order to study the geological, oceanographic, and environmental aspects of the island formation and evolution. Through a series of independent projects, students examine the similarities and differences in the physical characteristics and environments between the islands, paying particular attention to the influence of geology on human society, as well as to human impacts on the natural environment. This course is both physically and intellectually demanding–participants are in the field each day and can expect to do a lot of hiking, sometimes under muddy conditions, often at high altitude.

At present, this J Term course alternates with the West Texas/Big Bend course and is offered every other January. This course is open to all students who have satisfied the prerequisite requirements or who have the permission of the instructors. Preference will be given to science majors. The syllabus provides details of the student work involved in the course. Click the individual island links at left to see some of the highlights from the standard course itinerary.

For additional highlights from our most recent trip (January 2009), click here.