Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Berenise Rangel L&S Math & Physical Sciences

Magma Storage Depths Beneath the Largest Volcano on Earth

Volcanic eruptions present a major hazard to society, both in terms of infrastructure destruction through lava flows, and their influence on the Earth’s atmosphere and climate. Mauna Loa, HI, has the largest volume of any volcano on Earth, and is currently in its fastest growing ‘shield phase’ (meaning numerous lava flows have erupted over the last millenia, and many more are expected).Given the rapid growth and clear hazards presented by this volcano, it is absolutely vital to understand the magmatic plumbing system supplying lava to the surface. I will determine magma storage depths using a new technique based on Raman spectroscopy measurements of small pockets of CO2-rich fluid trapped within growing crystals. Determining the depth at which magma is stored will allow interpretation of signals of unrest (e.g., earthquakes) in the lead up to the next eruption. In turn, this may aid efficient evacuation from high risk areas (e.g., Kona, which lava flows can reach in just 3 hrs).

Message To Sponsor

It is a great honor to have been selected as a SURF scholar, I am extremely greatful to my sposor/s for the opportunity to conduct research this summer. Having funded my research, you have granted me access to many more future opportunities in my field of study and the opportunity to conduct independent research as an undergraduate. Through this program and the support of my mentor I will be able to acquire a variety of useful skills that I will apply in future projects. I look forward to strengthening my skills and all that this program has to offer.
Major: Geology
Mentor: Penny Wieser
Sponsor: Wang & Wang Fund
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