Michelle Coombs, U.S. Geological Survey

New Insights into Hawaiian Volcanoes: A Submarine Perspective
  • DINNER MEETING - Tuesday, January 14, 2003
  • Location: Stanford University

  • 5:30 PM-Wine Tasting: . . . Mitchell Bldg., first floor
  • 6:15 PM-Dinner: . . . Mitchell Bldg., first floor
  • 7:30 PM-Meeting: . . . Bloch Lecture Hall (TCSEQ Room 201)

    see Map showing Mitchell
    Map showing Bloch

    Anyone wishing to attend the lecture only is welcome at no cost.

    This will be the 351st meeting since 1954.

    computer-generated oblique map of the Hawaiian Islands
    Oblique view of the Hawaiian islands


    Our understanding of the submarine portions of Hawaiian volcanoes has grown exponentially in the past few years, thanks in large part to a cooperative Japanese-U.S. research program funded by the Japanese Marine Science and Technology Center (JAMSTEC). Four cruises since 1998 have provided direct observations and sampling of the sea floor (86 dives, to 5600 m water depth), as well as detailed bathymetry and geophysical surveys of much of the area surrounding the islands. Research by MBARI and others has also led to new observations of the shallower portions of the volcanoes. The recent work confirms earlier studies that suggested that massive flank collapse and volcano spreading play important roles in the development of these ocean islands. We have also gained insight into the formation of submarine rift zones and volcanic fields that lie off the hotspot axis. This talk will touch broadly on several new findings, and will focus on what we have learned about the growth of Kilauea volcano by investigating its tectonically active submarine south flank.

    About the Speaker

    Photo, Michelle standing on deck, small sub in background
    Michelle in front of the Shinkai 6500 submersible

    Michelle Coombs has been a research geologist for the USGS Volcano Hazards Team in Menlo Park since July 2001. Originally from Maine, she received her B.A. from Williams College in 1994. She completed her Ph.D. in geology from the University of Alaska Fairbanks in 2001, where she worked with John Eichelberger and studied shallow magmatic processes beneath the volcanoes of Katmai National Park. Her current work at the USGS focuses on Hawaii volcanism, including the growth of Kilauea and magmatic degassing during submarine eruptions.

    Reservations: The preferred way to make reservations is simply to email Janice Sellers at by Friday, January 10, tell her you will attend, commit to pay, and bring your payment to the meeting. Janice always emails a confirmation; if you don't get one, assume email crashed yet again and email her a second time. A check made to"PGS"is preferred, payable at the meeting.

    If you want to pay in advance:

    Stanford faculty and students: Please make dinner reservations by Friday, January 10. Contact Dr. Juhn Liou via his mailbox (and leave check), Geological and Environmental Sciences Office, Geocorner - Bldg. 320 (Rm. 118). Make checks out to"PGS."

    All others, including faculty and students from other Bay Area universities and colleges and USGS: Please make dinner reservations by Friday, January 10. Contact Janice Sellers, at Seismological Society of America, 201 Plaza Professional Building, El Cerrito, CA 94530, phone (510) 559-1780. Send check made out to"PGS"to Janice.

    Dinner is $30.00. Includes wine (5:30 to 6:15 PM.), dinner (6:15-7:30 PM.), tax, and tip.

    For students from all universities and colleges, the dinner, including the social half-hour, is $5.00 and is partially subsidized thanks to the School of Earth Sciences, Stanford University (Note, no-show reservations owe the full price).

    Dues for Academic Year 2002-2003 ($10.00) should be sent to Janice Sellers, Seismological Society of America, 201 Plaza Professional Building, El Cerrito, CA 94530. Janice's phone: (510) 559-1780.

    Officers: Bob Christiansen, President; Mike Diggles, Vice President; Vicki Langenheim, Secretary; Janice Sellers, Treasurer; Adina Paytan, Field-Trip Czarina

    Campus map

    Click Here for Future Events

    Date created: 03/01/2003
    Last modified: 03/27/2003
    Created by: Mike Diggles, Vice President, PGS.
    c/o U.S. Geological Survey, MS-951, 345 Middlefield Road, Menlo Park, CA 94025. (650) 329-5404. email Mike Diggles at

    Back to PGS Home Page