Sample Geography Paper on Hawaiian Islands

Q1. Who was the first geologist to recognize that the ages of the Hawaiian Islands become younger towards the southeast? What evidence did he present for his argument?

Tuzo Wilson was the first geologist to recognize that the Hawaiian Islands towards the southeast of Hawaii are younger than others. Wilson made the mentioned conclusion based on the volcanism that occurred during the evolution of the islands. The Hawaiian Islands, as pointed out by Wilson, are a result of plate tectonic movements over a stationary mantle. The islands were formed after the mantles exposure to the surface and the cementing that followed. The plate tectonics moved towards the southeast of Hawaii, causing the ages of the forming islands to vary in size and age towards the southeast.

Q2. What are tumuli?

Tumuli are a mound of earth and stones that are raised over a grave or a ground level. The Hawaiian Islands look like the tumuli since their shape and composition is the same as that of the Tumuli graves. The tumuli are also known as barrows or kurgans, and may be transformed with time to form a cairn, which is a mound of stones.  During magma melting, some alkali basalt rocks melt along with the tumuli.


Q3. Explain what is meant by the “alkalic cap stage” in the evolution of a Hawaiian volcano, and how does this development affect volcanic activity?

The alkaline basalt concentration hastens the eruption of magma, resulting in a fractionation of rocks with low viscosity. When the low viscous alkaline basalt rocks solidify, they form a caldera-like alkali cap. The alkali cap stage prevents further erosion of the magma and lowers the volcanic activity by the solidification of the top magma.

Q4. When and what was the magnitude of the most severe earthquake that occurred on Hawai’i in historic time?  Describe the damage.

In 1868, Hawaii experienced the highest earthquake. Its had a magnitude of about 7.9 on the richer scale. The earthquake was described to be extremely intense as revealed by the Mercalli scale. The earthquake caused a lot of destruction, especially to property. Some of the impacts of the earthquake were a landslide and a tsunami. The tsunami led to the deaths of 77 people. It also caused injuries and damaged buildings. The earthquake led to the governor declaring the issue a national disaster.

Q5. What is a phreatomagmatic explosion?  What is the difference between a phreatomagmatic explosion and a phreatic explosion?

Phreatomagmatic explosions are volcanic eruptions that result from water interacting with magma. The difference between the phreatomagmatic and phreatic eruption is that the former contains juvenile clasts while the latter does not.


Q6. Who or what is “GLORIA,” and what does she/it do?  What did GLORIA discover about Hawai’i?

Gloria is a side-scan sonar device that is used to detect the level of landslides that occur in an area. Using the device, giant deposits of landslides were discovered in the 8 main Hawaiian Islands. These deposits were hard to notice and debates conducted to address them after they were discovered. The device purpose was later designed to monitor the least landslide that occurs in the area.

Q7. Go to the National Parks website: and summarize the present state of volcanic activity on Hawai’i.

The Hawaii volcanic update by the National Parks website indicates the current state of Kilauea Volcano. The present state of the volcano is noticeable from a distance. It emits gases, shows evidence of deformation and seismicity. The presence of the Kilauea condition indicates the reactivation of its volcanic nature. The volcano is characterized by low earthquakes and seismic shocks at the summit. It is evident that the volcanic reactivation of Kilauea volcano can lead to other volcanos in the area adapting its nature. This might lead to an extensive magma eruption and its widespread in the area. The volcanic reactivation of Kilauea might also result in the damage of properties and the loss of human lives and injuries. As such, the Hawaii Volcano Observatory team regularly visits the volcano and provides updates of its eruptive nature to prevent dangers associated with it.