- © 2001. AAPG/DEG
Seven natural phenomena have been identified as posing significant threats to coastal areas of the Hawaiian Islands. These “hazards” include: coastal erosion, sea-level rise, major storms, volcanic and seismic activity, tsunami inundation, coastal stream flooding, and extreme seasonal high wave events. In addition to these phenomena, coastal slope and local geologic setting are important factors for accurately determining the hazard potential for specific areas. To quantify the effects of individual hazards, their past magnitudes and occurrence have been evaluated from historical records and a semiquantitative ranking scheme applied. The intensity of each hazard has been ranked low, moderately low, moderately high, or high using definitions based on their historical occurrence and magnitude. Comparison and statistical ranking and weighting of all hazard rankings for a given segment of coast, combined with geologic character and morphologic slope, are used to define the Overall Hazard Assessment which provides a guideline for management decisions regarding coastal land use and planning.
Bruce Richmond is a research geologist with the U.S. Geological Survey Coastal and Marine Geology Program in Santa Cruz, California. He has spent the last twenty years with the USGS working on coastal geology of mid- and low-latitude sedimentary environments. He received his M.Sc. degree from Waikato University in Hamilton, New Zealand, and his Ph.D. from the University of California, Santa Cruz. His current research involves examining the coastal impacts of the 1997–98 El Niño along the U.S. West Coast, and coastal hazards and beach loss in the Hawaiian Islands.
Chip Fletcher is Professor of Geology and Geophysics at the University of Hawaii. He specializes in studies of sea-level history, Quaternary coastal geology, beach processes, and reef accretion history. He received his doctorate from the University of Delaware, and currently he lives with his wife and three children near Kailua Beach, where he enjoys the treadewinds and surf on the windward side of Oahu.
Ann Gibbs is a geologist with the Coastal and Marine Geology Program of the U.S. Geological Survey in Santa Cruz, California. She received a B.S. in Earth Sciences from the University of California at Santa Cruz and a M.S. in Geology from the University of South Florida in Tampa. Ms. Gibbs’ current research focuses on recent morphological changes in coastal and nearshore environments.
Eric is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Hawaii in the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST). He has been working on reconstructing the Holocene sea-level history in Hawaii and its impact on coastal environments and resources.