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Project Descriptions

RAPID: Filming the Erupting Mauna Loa Volcano to Extend the Impact of Geoscience Research to Large Diverse Audiences

January 15 - December 31, 2023 | Media and Technology

The eruption of Mauna Loa, Earth's largest volcano, is an opportunity to greatly increase new information about natural hazards, and how scientists and students learn about volcanoes. By acquiring new footage of the eruption and surroundings, interviews with Native Hawaiian scientists, students, and others, this project hopes to extend the impact of geoscience research, outreach, and education by providing timely and effective media products that are distributed to a wide audience via public television and the internet. The goal is to provide a better understanding geological phenomena and their impact on diverse communities as well as the scientific research and indigenous knowledge of Native Hawaiian scientists.

The goal of the project is to work on updating earth science's fundamental theory of plate tectonics by studying the eruption of the Mauna Loa volcano. By showing the lessons learned and the indigenous knowledge of Native Hawaiian scientists, the knowledge base in the geosciences becomes better informed regarding geological hazards like volcanos, earthquakes, landslides, and floods. Additionally, this project can address the need for diversity in the field by inspiring youth from underrepresented communities to pursue careers in geoscience. The activities and products include filming new footage in Hawaii, incorporating new content into a one-hour documentary film (Planet of the Plates), creating a website that contains a series of short videos and learning materials, and conducting formative and summative evaluation to determine the effectiveness of the products. The video footage and educational content will be formatively evaluated using focus groups and surveys of diverse scientists, educators, and community members. An overall assessment, summative evaluation, of whether the project goals are being achieved will be determined by analyzing viewer data from PBS, the companion website, and the Internet (YouTube channel).


Funding Program: Advancing Informal STEM Learning (AISL)
Award Number: 2310326


  • DPInformal
    Principal Investigator
    Earth Images Foundation
  • Resource Type: Projects
    Discipline: Geoscience and geography
    Audience: General Public | Scientists | Youth/Teen (up to 17)
    Environment Type: Media and Technology | Broadcast Media
    Access and Inclusion: Indigenous and Tribal Communities | Pacific Islander Communities

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