Jim Kauahikaua is a geophysicist with the U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. He received his Bachelor of Science from Pomona College in 1973, his Masters degree from University of Hawai`i in 1976 and his Ph.D. from the same institution in 1982. Jim has worked for the U.S. Geological Survey since 1976, first for the Branch of geophysics in Denver, then at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park . He began working at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory in 1988. Jim is busy studying the current eruption of Kilauea Volcano. He also enjoys detailing the connection between Hawaiian mythology/stories/history and geological events. He is a wonderful roll model for native Hawaiian children and devotes a great deal of time to teaching kids about volcanology through Hawaii’s Na Pua No`eau program.
(Image Caption: Geophysicist Jim Kauahikaua waiting for a helicopter to take him out to work on Kilauea Volcano. Photo courtesy of the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.)
How did you get started in volcanology? What was it about studying volcanoes that drew you to the field?
What would you rate as the best experience you’ve had while working on a volcano?
What was the funniest thing that happened to you while working on a volcano?
What was the strangest experience you ever had on a volcano? Has anything weird ever happen to you?
Have you every been scared or really worried while working on a volcano?
Photograph by J. Kauahikaua on October 2, 1997.
Pu`u `O`o crater and the remnants of the once 255 m-high cinder and spattercone.
What was the worst thing that you’ve experienced on the job. Did it make you wonder if you should change professions?
What do you like best about your chosen profession?
What’s the most difficult thing about being a volcanologist?