Honors Projects for Geology and Geophysics

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    In the Wake of Fukushima: Cesium Inventories of selected North Pacific Fish
    (University of Hawaii at Manoa, 2016-08) Azouz, Hannah ; Dulai, Henrietta ; Geology and Geophysics
    To this day there are global efforts in evaluating the effects in wake of the 2011 Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant disaster. The estimated 500 tons of contaminated wastewater that entered the nearby marine ecosystem (Watabe 2013) was dispersed into the Pacific Ocean and due to biological uptake in migratory fish species (Madigan 2012) was detected in the water as well as in fish as far as the West coast of US. The FDA accepted intervention limit for cesium isotope intake is 300 Bq/kg annually for fish. The question we are left with is how much cesium is in the fish we consume, a thought the community of Hawai’i should consider since our fish products are caught in the Pacific Ocean. Thirteen most commonly consumed types of locally bought fish samples were analyzed using gamma spectroscopy to measure Fukushima-derived 134 Cs and 137Cs isotopes. All fish samples had detectable 137Cs and nine out of the thirteen samples had detectable 134 Cs, an isotope indicative of Fukushima releases. The highest 134 Cs and 137Cs concentration in the examined species was the Ahi tuna carrying 0.098 Bq/kg and 0.62 Bq/kg respectively. The highest concentrations occurred in high trophic level species with migratory patterns from Japan to Hawai’i or residing in the most northern Pacific Ocean. Nine out of the thirteen samples showed traces of 134 Cs, with only five of those activities outside the range of uncertainty. All activities are significantly below intervention limits but are informative to the community on what is being consumed. Results should also provide a basis for future work on cesium bioaccumulation in fish.
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    Map Location and Dimensional Definition of Subsurface Caverns
    (University of Hawaii at Manoa, 2014-09-26) Wolfe, James ; Geology and Geophysics
    This study attempts to locate and define a small-scale, shallow subsurface cavern by the use of a gravity micro-survey in which station spacings of about 10 feet are used. The results show that two caverns exist underneath Kuilei Lane. They are filled with water and strike in a N. 15° E. direction. One cavern is 12 feet high, 38 feet wide in cross section, and has 4 feet of rock separating the roof from the ground surface. The second cavern is separated 9 feet laterally from the first cavern and is 8 feet high, 14 feet wide in cross section, and has 5 feet of rock between the roof and the ground surface. Lack of time and operational knowledge prevented direct verification of the results by drilling.
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    Fluorescent Microspheres as Proxies for Microorganism in a Deep Subseafloor Tracer Transport Experiment
    (University of Hawaii at Manoa, 2014-09-26) Teh, Soo ; Cowen, James ; Geology and Geophysics
    There is growing evidence that the subseafloor biosphere extends throughout the immense volume of aging basement underlying the global system of mid-ocean ridge flanks and ocean basins. The umbrella Tracer Transport experiment will be conducted by injecting fluorescent microspheres into a borehole on the flank of Juan de Fuca Ridge and monitoring their arrival at all of the observation boreholes. Microsphere transport rates obtained from this experiment will provide a basis for evaluating the origin of microbes observed in 3.5 million year old sediment-buried basement. In this experiment, the fluorescent microspheres are used as proxies for microorganism. Colloid tracers such as fluorescent microspheres are used to characterize flow rates and preferred flow paths of groundwater, and to gain information about the subsurface transport of microbial pathogens, or other colloidal contaminants. The objective of my thesis is to study the compatibility of these microspheres to the ocean basement environment for the tracer transport experiment, by defining their detection limits within the context of deep basement environment by the detection methods available, studying the characteristics of the microspheres and studying the behavior of colloid tracers through a basalt core. From the detection limit experiment, the minimum concentration detected for the fluorescence microscopy method is 10 microspheres/ filter and for the flow cytometry method is 40 microspheres/ ml. The two methods yield very similar results. Microspheres also clump significantly at high concentrations. The size and fluorescence of the microspheres remain unaffected by light, salinity, temperature (4 to 60 °C) or pressure (up to 80 bars).
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    Comparative Analysis of Terrestrial and Martian Volcanic Features Using Multispectral Thermal Infrared Images, Aerial Photographs and Viking Images
    (University of Hawaii at Manoa, 2014-09-26) Stice, Paraluman ; Mouginis-Mark, Peter ; Geology and Geophysics
    The process of collecting information about an object without physically being in contact with it is often referred to as remote sensing. The utility of remote sensing in fields such as geology, geography, engineering and environmental studies is rapidly increasing with technology. Thirty years ago, being able to study the Earth and other planets through remote sensing was merely a dream. We were already realizing the benefits of utilizing air photography in solving scientific problems. We began obtaining information from images beyond the visible portion of the electromagnetic spectrum. Today, we are able to sense data from space and conduct global, uniform studies on planetary bodies. For the geologist, the field of remote sensing opens up a whole new level of interpretation. Inaccessible areas of the Earth and other planetary bodies can now be studied uniformly with increasing detail. In studying planetary bodies, remote sensing is currently the best option. The field of "planetary geology", geology applied to other planets and bodies, is growing rapidly as technology increases our ability to obtain information about other planets. We have built up our knowledge of the solar system, beginning with the early telescopes of Galileo and on to advanced radiotelescopes. Optical telescopes are still very useful for obtaining data from the Moon, which is relatively close to the Earth. However, in some applications, earth-based observations in geology have been nearly exhausted or planets further away or those obscured in any way, we must rely spacecraft images, which offer up to 1000 times better resolution (Siegal and Gillespie, 1980) in the case for Mars.
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    The Arid Lowland Vegetation of the Hawaiian Islands (1778-1825) as Recorded by the Early European Voyagers
    (University of Hawaii at Manoa, 2014-09-26) Singh, Jagjit ; Street, John ; Geology and Geophysics
    In this paper an attempt will be made to demonstrate principally on the basis of selected historical evidence, that such natural vegetation as might have existed in the arid lowlands of Kona, Lahaina, Honolulu and Waimea on Kauai, had been extensively modified by the native Hawaiians prior to the arrival of the first Europeans in 1778. Reliance will be placed on historical sources to show that at the time of first foreign contact with the Hawaiian islands that extensive areas within the arid lowlands had been cultivated with such food crops as breadfruit, bananas, taro and yams. It would further be argued that these various forms of vegetation, around which a large part of traditional Hawaiian subsistence agriculture revolved, were in turn gradually destroyed, by introduced animals and plants, by erosion resulting from log hauling, by lava flows, by substitution of higher revenue crops, by the movement of population from rural areas to urban areas and last but not least by the demise of the native Hawaiian population. Both from library sources and from observational field work done for this paper some description will also be offered of the nature of the vegetation which presently characterizes the areas under discussion. The ‘arid lowland' for the purpose of this research may be described in the words of William Hillebrand as the open country which is rainless during the greater part of the year; and today has a few native species but great quantities of introduced plants such as algaroba and haole koa. This is a dry and dusty region and generally lies on the leeward sides of the islands from sea level to about 2,000 feet.