Groundwater hydrology of Maunakea to be discussed

The Maunakea Speaker Series continues today with noted groundwater expert Donald Thomas, who will present “New Insights into the Groundwater Hydrology of Maunakea”

Thomas will discuss his more than two decades of research into Hawaii Island’s groundwater system. His fascinating research shows that the island contains far more stored groundwater than originally thought.


Geophysical surveys and cored research holes identified buried geological structures, related to the volcanic history of each of the island’s volcanoes, forming barriers that can hold water for thousands of years and even force water to flow far below sea level. Thomas also will discuss the implications of his findings for future management of Hawaii’s water supplies.

Thomas conducted his PhD research on Kilauea’s volcanic gas chemistry in the 1970s. He was then hired by the Hawaii Institute of Geophysics at the University of Hawaii to study Hawaii’s groundwater and geothermal resources, and in recent years has conducted deep research drilling on the island to better understand the volcanic processes and history of Hawaii’s volcanoes.

Thomas currently is the director of the Center for the Study of Active Volcanoes housed at UH-Hilo.

This free lecture starts at 7 p.m. at ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center’s Moanahoku Hall. Parking at ‘Imiloa is open and available without charge.


The Maunakea Speaker Series is a monthly scholar-focused presentation offered as a partnership among the Office of Maunakea Management, ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center and the UH-Hilo Department of Physics and Astronomy and gives the community unprecedented access to fascinating research taking place on Maunakea and other topics unique to Hawaii Island.

For more information, visit or call 933-0734.

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