The 2017 SOEST Open House was a success! SOEST hosted approximately 6,500 students, teachers, parents and community members during the two-day event. Faculty, students and staff presented a diverse array of entertaining and educational hands-on activities and interactive demonstrations, which highlighted the research conducted at our School.  Attendees learned about volcanoes, tsunamis, El Niño, planetary exploration, hurricanes, coastal erosion, marine ecosystems, and more. They visited state-of-the-art laboratories and heard about cutting-edge research from the scientists who are making the new discoveries!
Credit: NASA
For the first time, scientists have mapped the distribution of water across lunar soil. Scientists calibrated data collected by NASA's Moon Mineralogy Mapper to determine how much water and hydroxyl, a related molecule, is present beneath the lunar surface.
"The signature of water is present nearly everywhere on the lunar surface and is not limited to the polar regions as previously reported," said lead author Shuai Li, post-doctoral researcher in the Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) and former PhD student at Brown University. "The amount of water increases toward the poles and does not show significant difference among distinct compositional terrains."
Credit: Shutterstock
At explosive volcanoes like Stromboli, situated just off the southwestern coast of Italy, "normal" explosive eruptions take place every few minutes to tens of minutes. However, the rainout of hot volcanic bombs, some as large as a meter across, makes it hazardous for scientists and their instruments to get close enough to Stromboli's active vents to collect some forms of essential data. Fortunately, robotic technology can go where humans cannot. Nicolas Turner and Bruce Houghton with the Department of Geology and Geophysics are using unmanned aerial vehicles equipped with lightweight optical sensors for mapping and aerial observations of volcanic activity to gain new insight into one of the world's most active volcanoes.
Credit: NOAA
Tim Li, Atmospheric Sciences professor and researcher at the International Pacific Research Center (IPRC) recently assessed the impact of ocean warming on the size and destructiveness of tropical cyclones.  Li and co-authors concluded that with warmer sea surface temperatures, tropical cyclones become not only stronger, with higher maximum wind speeds, but also larger, with gale-force winds covering a greater area. For every degree Celsius increase of sea surface temperature, the destructive potential of typhoons in the western North Pacific and hurricanes in the North Atlantic can increase by 340% and 150%, respectively.
Credit: National University of Singapore
Thirteen thousand feet down, on the cold, dark desert of the Pacific Ocean seafloor, scientists have discovered new sponges living on rock nodules targeted for deep-sea mining. The tiny sponges, named Plenaster craigi partly for the multitude of stars that make up their "backbones", belong in a genus of their own and are the most abundant organism found to date that live on the nodules. The sponges were collected on two expeditions, in 2013 and 2015, led by Craig Smith, professor of oceanography, to the Clarion-Clipperton Zone, an area of the Pacific Ocean between Hawai'i and Mexico the size of the continental U.S.
Credit: para827, iStockphoto
Tyrannosaurus rex may have had small arms, but it was no pushover.This fierce dinosaur is known for its giant head, powerful jaws and overall fearsome appearance-- except for those small arms. But the roughly meter-long limbs weren't just vestigial reminders of a longer-armed past, paleontologist Steven Stanley of the Department of Geology and Geophysics said at the recent Geological Society of America annual meeting. Instead, the limbs were well-adapted for vicious slashing at close quarters, he argued.  Stanley noted that the arms had robust bones that could sustain the impact of slashing and ended in two sharp claws about 10 centimeters long. Two claws give more slashing power than three, because each one can apply heavier pressure. Those traits support the slasher hypothesis, he concluded.
Kammie-Dominique Tavares, Global Environmental Science Major, received an oral presentation award through the NOAA Educational Partnership Program with Minority Serving Institutions Undergraduate Scholars. To complete their 10-week summer internships, NOAA Scholars presented their research and education-focused projects to an audience of scientists and peers during the annual Science & Education Symposium in Silver Spring, Maryland.
"My favorite part of the internship was meeting amazing people and listening to their journeys," said Tavares. "Hearing their stories has both inspired and motivated me to continue my aspirations of becoming a strong Hawaiian, female, scientist."
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