Today we got to explore in Makawaki Cave described as a “Poor man’s time machine.” Dr. Burney explained how his research in the cave has revealed a lot of information about the past. I think it is great how some scientific stories are able to match up with family stories from different people on the island. The mystery and wonder which comes out of the cave is striking. Caves really are geologic wonders. This cave tells us about the depositional environment of certain layers and also about large events which have occurred in the past.
Our focus on the “Hydrology Team” is the groundwater of Kauai. On our tour of the cave, Dr. Burney mentioned that the fact that the groundwater is highly acidic has resulted in the erosion of these solidified sand dunes from within. This cave is a great resource for us as we research the groundwater because it intersects with the water table. Dr. Becker has taken measurements for the conductivity and temperature there. We have taken a look at the different layers of strata, and it’s clear that we will need to start gathering more data and information.
After dinner tonight, we attended a lecture on the geology of Kauai given by Dr. Charles T. Blay. It was very solid information. He explained more about the phenomena of groundwater sapping. He also talked about different rock densities and other factors which influence erosion. The thing that stood out to me was the talk about how during the summer, the winds tend to hit where our study area is located. I think the weather conditions are giving us examples of certain obstacles that come up when conducting field research. I think that this is a great learning experience because it gives you a opportunity to think on your feet and figure out a way to resolve different issues.
We did gain a new resource to use, a geologic map by Dr. Blay. The goal now is to take the map, scan it, georeference it, and apply it to our field studies. I look forward to an exciting day out in the field tomorrow!