Geoffrey Cook

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Scripps Institution of Oceanography
University of California-San Diego

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VEPP: Using the VEPP website in an introductory geology course: an investigation of the July 21, 2007 eruption of Pu'u O'o part of NAGT:Teaching Resources:Volcano Exploration Project: Pu`u `O`o:Examples
This is an exercise that is in development and has not yet been fully tested in the classroom. Please check back regularly for updates and changes. Introductory geology students will use geologic data obtained from the VEPP website (tilt and seismic)to identify and interpret changes during the July 21st, 2007 eruption of Pu'u 'O'o. Full length description: This exercise is designed primarily for an introductory physical geology course (suitable for both majors and non-majors) and is best accomplished over the course of a single laboratory section (2-3 hours). In this exercise, students will examine the July 21, 2007 eruption of Pu'u O'o using information from the VEPP website. Two sources of data will be utilized: tilt and seismic. The overall goal is to provide students from a wide variety of backgrounds with an opportunity to work with real geologic data. Additionally, students will have the opportunity to sharpen their observational skills and learn more about the scientific method. During the first third of the session, the students will be introduced to basic volcano monitoring techniques, focusing mainly on tilt and seismic data collection. In addition they will be provided with general background information about the geology of Hawai'i and the July 21st eruption. A concise narrative of the eruption is conveniently found in the history tab on the VEPP website, and also on the HVO website ( Students may be encouraged to visit the VEPP and HVO websites prior to lab in order to provide a pre-lab introduction. In the second third of the exercise, the students will be introduced to the VEPP website and will work with the VALVE interface to acquire the necessary data. This is best accomplished as a group, with the instructor (who has previously made themselves proficient with the VEPP website and VALVE interface) leading students through the program step by step to generate usable data and plots. The July 21st, 2007 eruption at Pu'u 'O'o is suggested for use. The students will examine the time period between July 17-24 so they are able to analyze changes occurring on the volcano before, during, and after the eruption. However, instructors are free to delineate any time series that they may desire or feel is valuable. In this exercise, several types of data and plots will be useful. Tilt is a measure of deformation on the volcano, which is typically correlated with moving magmas. As the magma chamber beneath the volcano fills, the edifice (structure) expands or inflates causing instruments to record changes in the morphology of the volcano. Likewise, as magmas move (or erupt!) the volcanic edifice may deflate or deform causing new changes in morphology. For the tilt data, three stations (POO, POC, and POS) are available at Pu'u 'O'o. At each station, there is an option to view either a time-series graph of deformation or a map showing a deformation vector. An example of each type of plot is shown below: Seismic data is an indicator of activity in the volcano due to events such as earthquakes or magma movement. Rather than track specific seismic events, RSAM plots indicate more general, overall seismic activity. By itself, it may not be useful for "diagnosing" activity at the volcano. However, it is very useful when used in conjunction with other types of data (such as tilt). For the seismic (RSAM) data, a time series graph is the preferred option for data presentation. An example of this is shown below: In the final portion of the exercise, students will break into small groups of 3-4 to examine the derived graphs and times series data. The main objective is for students to identify and analyze any trends in both data sets before, during, and after the eruption. Students will be asked to compare and contrast both data sets. In order to facilitate the process, the instructor should direct the students to not only look for trends or patterns, but also to think creatively about what the trends might mean for activity on the volcano (inflation, deflation, extrusion of magma, etc.). In the final portion of the session, the individual groups will reconvene as a class to discuss and share findings. The instructor(s) should keep the conversation on topic, as it is envisioned that an introductory class may have a tendency to stray off topic. The assessment will take the form of a single homework assignment in which students will individually summarize their observations through a series of guided questions (more details in the assessment section below). This short but concise write-up will serve as a report of observations but will also provide students with the opportunity to make interpretations about physical processes that may or may not be associated with the July 21st episode.


Introduction to Earth and Environmental Science (SIO 50) part of Cutting Edge:Introductory Courses:Virtual Workshop 2014:Course Descriptions
The course is an introduction to how our planet works, focusing on the formation and evolution of the solid earth, the dynamic nature of earth systems, and the environmental issues pertinent to society. Students are encouraged to think about the interconnectedness of the Earth as a system, and the interdisciplinary nature of geoscience is emphasized throughout the course. Laboratories and field components complement and extend the lecture material.


A growing major in Earth Science at UCSD part of Integrate:Workshops:Geoscience and the 21st Century Workforce:Essays
Geoffrey Cook, University of California-San Diego We have a relatively new (since 2007) undergraduate program in Earth Science at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). The program is unique in that it is ...

Other Contribution

The Earth Science degree program at UC, San Diego part of Integrate:Workshops:Geoscience and the 21st Century Workforce:Programs
Information for this profile was provided by Geoffrey Cook, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California-San Diego. Information is also available on the program website. Students in this program ...

Events and Communities

Hazards Webinar February 2012

Using on-line volcano monitoring data in college and university courses: The Volcano Exploration Project, Pu`u `O`o Participants

Early Career Workshop 2011 Participants

Career Development Feb 2013 webinar (Intro Geo Labs)

ITG Geoscience and the 21st Century Workforce

Getting the Most out of Your Intro Courses 2014