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Lab Title Physical Geography of the Big

island of Hawai’i What is this lab all about? Lab Worth

You explore the volcanoes, landforms, climate, and vegetation of Hawai’i in a geovisualization, as well as view a traditional lecture on the concepts of geography that influence the Big Island of Hawai’i The points you accumulate for correct answers count towards your grade. Incorrect answers do not hurt your grade.

Computer program used in this lab

You will be given instructions later on how to download the geovisualization of the Big Island in a page in Canvas in the Welcome module. In this program, you are a virtual character able to wander around the Big Island.

Introductory video

The canvas page where you downloaded this file also has a link to an introductory video. The material in that video is a brief synopsis of what is in this PDF document.

SQ general studies criteria

Students analyze geographical data using the scientific method, keeping in mind scientific uncertainty. Students also use mathematics in analyzing rates to change in the landscape.

Table of Contents for this PDF File 1. Preface: What makes the Big Island so special in physical geography? Page 2 2. Overview of lab activities

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Lab Stage A. Helpful background material related to the lab

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Lab Stage B Exploration: Making some basic observations related to the physical geography of the Big Island

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Lab Stage C Investigation: more detailed analysis of the physical geography of the Big Island

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Lab Stage D synthesis: A short essay whose goal rests in you bringing together your thoughts on the physical geography of the Big Island of Hawai’i.

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1. Preface: Physical Geography of the Big island of Hawai’i The Big Island of Hawai’i is a special place for physical geographers to study. There exists such a wide range of climates, all while the geology of basalt lava rock type remains pretty constant. For example, warm desert conditions exist on the western sides of the Hualalai, Mauna Kea, and Kohala shield volcanoes, and cold desert conditions on top of Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa volcanoes. Physical geographers have studied everything from coastal erosion to incision of stream valleys using the variety of conditions on the Big Island. Since physical geographers typically love field work, a plus is the lack of poisonous snakes. Unlike other sciences that task you with analyzing one focused field such as cellular biology, inorganic chemistry, or physics – physical geography concentrates on six general areas of science to try to understand better the great variety of environmental conditions that exist at Earth’s surface. Physical Geography was the world’s first environmental science field, well before everything split off, and it remains focused on interconnections as displayed in the following diagram.

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Components of the science of Physical Geography

The designers of this laboratory hope that you will be able to explore the physical geography of the Big Island in person in the near future. However, in the meantime, this lab transports you to a virtual simulation to analyze three questions that we hope will enhance your in person exploration. In the meantime, the geovisualization of the Big Island is a great way to study its physical geography. The geovisualization looks and plays like a videogame, but one where you explore connections between topography, landforms, climate, and vegetation There is a caveat about the lab: There is no doubt that an online lab about the Big Island is missing out on our five traditional sense of sight (and the changes in lighting), smell and feel the trade winds on your face, the taste of trail and camping food, the smell of plants, and touching of different volcanic rock textures. In the end, you will just have to experience these in Hawai’i for yourself.

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2. Overview of lab activities The purpose of this section is to provide you an overview of the activities you will complete. Before you dig into the lab, you are also welcome to learn extra background information about the Big Island of Hawai’i in the next section. You certainly do not have to read the third section in detail to do this lab, but you will probably find that this enrichment material will help you get more out of the other lab activities. 2.1 Parts of this lab: Begin (Stage 0), Basics (stage A), Exploration (stage B), detailed analysis (stage C), and essay synthesis (stage D) If you have not completed Stage 0, you should stop and do that first. Stage 0 is intended as an orientation to playing the geovisualization ‘game’ and an orientation to doing this lab. Stage 0 is a separate PDF file with separate videos to help you. In the basics stage (stage A) of this lab, you will watch a video or read the text of basic geography concepts that take place on the Big Island. You will then take a short quiz to test your understanding of these concepts. In the exploration of this lab (Stage B), you will get a chance to enhance your grade by learning a bit about the Big Island and the sorts of activities you will engage in if you decide to move onto Stage C. In the detailed analysis part of the lab (Stage C), you will use the video game geovisualization to explore in greater detail the connection between the topography, landforms, climate, and also vegetation of the Big Island. Then, Stage D of the lab encourages you to synthesize what you have learned in writing a short four-paragraph essay on the physical geography of the Big Island. Most of this essay tasks you with covering what you learned in lab activities, but you are also encouraged to explain your own personal perspective on the lab question. 2.2. The study area and the scale of study

The entirety of the Big Island is too much to analyze at a scale where you can see the sorts of features that would be of interest to you on the ground. It just is not possible to include everything in a video game at a large scale of even 1:100 (1 length on the ground to 100 lengths on the map). There is just too much detail. Besides, sometimes it’s possible to lose sight of the forest if you are too buried in the roots of the trees. The big- area (small scale) patterns in physical geography would get lost. Thus, all of the laboratory activities will be at a scale where you can only zoom in just so close. High spatial resolution is not what this laboratory covers, but rather bigger-sized features and processes. The two graphics below show a wonderful map designed and produced by the National Park Service and a famous Landsat 7 mosaic produced by NOAA. Both of them show the study area of this lab.

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Stage A: Basics of the Big Island of Hawai’i The material in this section is also presented in an audiovisual lecture: https://youtu.be/pYr1n4iScVs The content of this section and the lecture are the same and both prepare you for the quiz for Stage A. Background on Volcanoes on the Big Island The Big Island has five major shield volcanoes, where this map is courtesy of the National Park Service. This map also shows the historic lava flows with a red color.

Most of the volcanic eruptions on the Big Island emit from rift zones, where the volcano is splitting apart. There are many cracks where magma makes its way to the surface. The rift zones are ridges on the flanks of the volcanoes, and the magma emerges from the rifts. Rift zones are where most of the lava flows start. They are easiest to see on Mauna Loa and Kilauea. You can also see them on Hualalai pretty clearly. They are harder to see on Kohala because of the vegetation cover.

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