About Mike Poland

Mike Poland, Research Geophysicist

Mike Poland

Research Geophysicist
Hawaiian Volcano Observatory
PO Box 51
Hawaii National Park, HI 96718-0051
Hawaiian Volcano Observatory Homepage


Mike is a geophysicist at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) specializing in volcano geodesy. He started his education in geology at the University of California, Davis, in 1993, and moved to graduate school at Arizona State University in 1997 to work with Jonathan Fink. After receiving his doctorate in 2001, Mike started work as a postdoctoral researcher in volcano geodesy at the Cascades Volcano Observatory under the supervision of Daniel Dzurisin. After three eventful years at CVO (which included the onset of eruptive activity at Mount St. Helens in 2004), Mike moved to HVO in 2005 to work with the deformation group as a research scientist.

Research Interests

Mike's current focus is on magma movement beneath Hawaiian volcanoes, particularly Kilauea, through the use of InSAR, gravity, GPS, tilt, leveling, and other methods. InSAR in particular has proven critical in researching deformation at Kilauea due to its high spatial resolution and frequent data acquisitions (at least in Hawaii). Specific projects include investigation of magma storage and transport at Pu`u `O`o (a long-lived eruptive vent at Kilauea that has been intermittently active since 1983), dynamics of magma supply to Kilauea, and the mechanics of dike intrusion.

Mike is also active in other regions, including: the Lake Kivu Basin in the Congo, where deformation is associated with tectonic rifting near, and eruptions of, Nyiragongo and Nyamulagira volcanoes; Mount Baker, Washington, where unrest in 1975 may have been associated with a stalled intrusion; Medicine Lake and Lassen Peak, California, which are both subsiding at low (~1 cm/yr), but apparently steady (over decadal timescales) rates; volcanoes of the western Galapagos archipelago, which experience eruptions a few times per decade and deform rapidly during intereruptive periods; and Mount St. Helens, Washington, the most active volcano in the Cascade Range.