Lizzette Rodriguez


University of Puerto Rico - Mayaguez Campus

Materials Contributed through SERC-hosted Projects


VEPP: Volcanic activity and monitoring of Pu`u `O`o, Kilauea volcano, Hawaii part of NAGT:Teaching Resources:Volcano Exploration Project: Pu`u `O`o:Examples
This is an exercise that is in development and will not be tested until Fall 2010 or Spring 2011. Please check regularly for updates and changes. Brief three-line description of the activity or assignment and its strengths: This is a 10-week group project for a Volcanic Hazards elective course, for undergraduate geology students. Students will access and analyze data from the current eruption of Pu`u `O`o, Kilauea volcano, Hawaii, and make interpretations of the activity. They will use data (mostly near-real-time) from a number of monitoring techniques, including seismic, deformation, observational, gas, and thermal. The activity will culminate with a written report and an oral presentation. Full length description: The students in this course are advanced undergraduate students, who have had an introduction to Volcanology in their Introductory Earth Sciences class and other courses, such as Geomorphology and Mineralogy. The general objectives of the activity will be to learn about volcanic activity (from the example of Kilauea volcano), volcano monitoring, and about the different techniques used. With this they will access and analyze data from different techniques and make interpretations of the activity. The image below shows a geologist from the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory sampling a lava flow ( The bottom frame is a thermal image, which is a tool used to determine the high temperatures of the flows (~1000 oC). The students will form groups of ~2-4 students (based on maximum of ~15 students in class), and each group will be assigned a monitoring technique or method, among the following: 1. Seismic: Real-time Seismic Amplitude (RSAM) data from the Pu`u` O`o (STC) and Kupainaha (KUP) stations. Both will have short period and broadband components. An example of data is included below. 2. Deformation: using continuous Global Positioning System (GPS) data. This group will also use data from kinematic GPS campaigns, which are not conducted in real time or near real time. An example of data is included below. 3. Deformation: using tiltmeter data, recorded at 1-minute intervals from 3 stations (POC, POO, POS). An example of data is included below. 4. Observations: using webcam's image displays and movies, as well as maps of lava flows. An example of a lava flow map is included below. 5. Gas/environmental/thermal monitoring: not real time or near real time. Will be used by all groups in order for the students to be able to describe the significance of these monitoring methods. The image below shows a Fourier Transform Infrared spectrometer (FTIR) at the crater of Pu`u `O`o. This instrument is used to measure ratios of a number of gas species, including SO2, HCl, HF, and others. These represent the techniques included in the Volcanoes Exploration Program: Pu`u `O`o (VEPP) website (, plus other techniques, which will be discussed based on the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO, and the United States Geological Survey (USGS, websites. All groups of experts will relate their findings to the recent and current activity of Kilauea volcano, and the importance of their specific type of monitoring. 1st Task*: - The instructor will give a 2-hr introduction and demonstration of the VEPP website ( and the VALVE3 software, specifically related to the different applications that the students will use. A tutorial in the VEPP website will be used during this part of the activity. - The introduction and demonstration should include the following topics: (1) Monitoring techniques: General details on the monitoring techniques used at Kilauea volcano, Hawaii, are found in the Techniques section of the VEPP website (see snapshot of Techniques page, included below). For the volcano deformation techniques (GPS and tilt), details are found in:,, and For the seismic techniques, details are found in: For monitoring using webcams, details specific to Kilauea volcano are found in: For the other monitoring techniques information will be supplied by the instructor in class and also can be found in other websites, such as the USGS Volcano Hazards Program ( and from volcano observatories worldwide, such as the Montserrat Volcano Observatory ( (2) VALVE3 software: Demonstration on how to acquire data from different techniques, using VALVE3 (see figure of initial screen included below). This should include explanation about the different options in each of the VALVE3 screens, using the tutorials available through VEPP and examples from different dates. (3) Webcam and Kinematic GPS data: Demonstration on how to access the webcam ( and Kinematic GPS ( data through the VEPP site. 2nd Task*: -Students will use the VEPP and HVO websites to familiarize themselves with the history of Kilauea volcano, especially its recent eruptive history. -Students will use the VEPP website to describe the volcano monitoring techniques and how to analyze the data from them. For this task the students: (1) will each use the VALVE3 software to access the data from dates assigned to each by the instructor. They will download graphs, maps, or images, print them and write a short description of what they see in the data. This is in order to assure that each student is ready to work in the groups and contribute. (2) will be presented with data from a specific event during the Kilauea eruption, for which data are available and have been interpreted. The event will be the June 17, 2007 eruption, better known as the Father's Day eruption, when an intrusion and a small eruption during the night of June 18/19 ocurred just north of Makaopuhi Crater, uprift of Pu'u 'O'o ( An example of the tilt data obtained in the period from June 16-22, 2007 is included below. The students will analyze the data from different techniques and make interpretations in their groups of experts. Following this, they will be presented with the actual interpretations, with the objective of being able to use it as an example for their own interpretations in the following weeks. 3rd Task**: -At least weekly, depending on the group: —Acquire data, in the form of time series, maps, videos, and images —Identify trends in the data, based on data from past events that have been significant in the recent years of eruption (i.e. Father's Day event - June 17, 2007) —Summarize what happened in the week. This summary is not to be turned in to the instructor. It is part of the group's reports (Tasks 4 - 6). 4th Task: -Biweekly: —Meet in computer laboratory or in the classroom (if there is an available laptop in each group and if there is internet in the room) to work together in the analysis and interpretation of the data, with the support of the instructor. —The instructor will bring data from other erupting volcanoes, which are monitored with the same techniques as Kilauea. This will give them access to other examples and possible interpretations of the data. 5th Task: -Biweekly (not same week as 4th task): —Report on the progress of the exercise. Each report should include examples and interpretations and last for about 5 minutes. The members of each group will need to present the progress report at least once. —These presentations will be group discussions and they will get feedback from the other students in class and the instructor. The other groups will use the reported data to compare and contrast with the results their own techniques. These opportunities to discuss the project, either in the computer lab or in the classroom, have also the objective of making sure that the students are actually doing something and not waiting to the end of the semester to work on the activity. 6th Task: -At the end of the semester the groups will compile their findings and turn in a written report. The written report should specify the responsibilities each group member had in it. They will also give a final oral presentation, where all members of the group will participate. 7th Task: -Wrap-up volcano monitoring exercise: Compiling the results and interpretations from different monitoring techniques (based on the oral presentations from each of the expert groups), the students will participate in a 1-hr discussion and will report on what they think will happen at Kilauea in the near future. There is no written report for this part of the exercise. *There is no specific timing for the first two tasks. They could be done in a week or two weeks, depending on the class time. If the course has a laboratory session, these tasks could be done in one week. **In the event that the Pu`u `O`o eruption ended, the activity can be modified to be based on any 10-week period in the eruption, for which data can be accessed through the VEPP web site.

On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Collection This activity is part of the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Activities collection.
Learn more about this review process.

Events and Communities

University of Puerto Rico Visiting Workshop