Matt Trenkler Reports on his Fieldwork in Hawaii

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Matt Trenkler and his supervisor Professor Brian Cousens at the 1790 AD lava flow on Haleakala, the younger volcano adjacent to West Maui. Because of this flow Haleakala is still considered to be active.

Matt Trenkler and his supervisor Professor Brian Cousens at the 1790 AD lava flow on Haleakala, the younger volcano adjacent to West Maui. Because of this flow Haleakala is still 
considered to be active. 

 

Graduate student Matt Trenkler is living the good life. He is lucky enough to be studying volcanology inThe Aloha State. Matt and his Supervisor, Professor Brian Cousens, returned from a successful fieldtrip to Maui in May. They brought back a number of volcanic rock samples, primarily postshield stage lavas that were produced late in the volcanoes' eruptive history. 

Matt’s research is on the evolution of the West Maui Volcano, the older of two ocean island volcanoes that make up the island of Maui. The West Maui Volcano is relatively unique within the basalt-dominated Hawaiian Islands in that it experienced a silica-rich stage of highly viscous volcanism towards the end of its eruptive history. “This stage of volcanism produced very thick lava flows and was voluminous enough that it blanketed most of the volcano”, says Matt. 

Through geochemical and petrographic analysis, he will try to define this transition and reinterpret the life cycle of a typical Hawaiian volcano. This project is part of a larger research effort by Professor Cousens' group to understand the generation of felsic volcanism in a variety of geologic settings. 

Matt plans to spend rest of the summer processing rock samples for analysis and interpreting his results. He plans on presenting at the 2016 American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fall Meeting  in San Francisco this December. 


Trachyte flow on West Maui. Because much of West Maui has a tropical climate, dense vegetation covers much of the island. Road-cut outcrops like this one give the best exposures of lava flows.

Trachyte flow on West Maui. Because much of West Maui has a tropical climate, dense vegetation covers much of the island. Road-cut outcrops like this one give 
the best exposures of lava flows.