Welcome to Geology Adventures 2007. Our tour will have five stops showing three different types of geological features. These will include a volcano or volcanic activity, a coastal feature and a ground water feature. At each stop, a brief description will be given on the features regarding how it was formed, the characteristics it has, interesting facts, myths, natural or recreational opportunities and any special precautions that are necessary. The itinerary for this tour will begin in Kilauea, Hawaii; then moves onto Panama City Beach, Florida; and finally ending our tour at Yellowstone National Park’s Old Faithful geyser.
First, before we begin our tour of these sites a brief discussion of the geological events and the importance of geology in our daily lives must be examined. Geology itself is the study of the earth’s natural aspects by using scientific methods (Plummer, 2004). In understanding geology, scientists and geologists can explain how the earth’s surface and interior are constantly changing. The resulting changes create the world’s natural resources, beauty, and at times its natural disasters.
As geologists uncover the scientific answers to some of the mysteries of the earth’s secrets, they can predict future events that may be disastrous to populated areas or predict locations of valuable natural resources. According to Plummer (2004), Geology combines the interaction of “the atmosphere, water and rock, the modern theory of plate tectonics, and geologic time” to form the overall larger big picture of how the earth’s workings occur. Geology, the study of the earth’s natural resources benefits everyone. The natural resources of the earth supply things we need from fuel, water, rocks, sand, and gems. Natural resources are not limitless. Without understanding how these resources came about and how to conserve them, the future quality of civilization is questionable.
Whether searching for new oil deposits or predicting the next volcanic eruption geologists are constantly studying the earth looking for signs of abnormity. Geology and the resulting natural resources of the earth supply things that we as humans need. Because of discovering and extracting these resources, geologists have been given the task of protecting the environment at the same time. However, understanding the geological forces that created the natural resources will assist in minimizing the geological hazards that can result from extracting them.
The earth’s continents and oceans sit atop moving plates. These plates are in constant motion. Movements of these plates are the beginning of some of the earth’s most powerful natural occurrences including earthquakes, volcanoes, and tidal waves. As these plates move, escaping magma moves toward the surface of the opening. As a result steam, vapor, and molten rock attempts to escape. Over a period of time, this repeated process creates additional land mass.
We will begin our first stop of the tour visiting volcanoes and volcanic activity. “Kilauea the world’s most active volcano, on Hawaii’s big island has been erupting continuously since 1983” (Weekly Reader News, 2006). Hawaii, part of the United States, is a popular vacation resort retreat located in the mid-Pacific Ocean as part of an island archipelago chain. These islands were formed from underwater volcanoes. The Hawaiian Islands are a series of layers of basalt from shield volcanoes built upwards from the ocean floor by intermittent eruptions over millions of years.
Kilauea is constantly active. Currently, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), Kilauea itself has not had any new activity since the June 18-19, 2007 eruption. Recent tiltmeter measurements have indicated that Kilauea’s north side, Pu` u` O` o, tilt has increased indicating that the floor of the crater is continuing to collapse. There has been a decrease in seismic activity and very few earthquakes recorded. These indicators point to a return to pre June 17, 2007 levels.