+++ ICDP: Call for Proposals - Next Chance January 15, 2018 +++ Highlights and Updates Moved to the new ICDP Web Site +++

Hawai'i Scientific Drilling Project



Big Island of Hawai'iThe Hawai'i Scientific Drilling Project (HSDP) has completed its first phase of core drilling into the Mauna Kea Volcano at a depth of 3,109 m in September 1999. These are the deepest core samples obtained from any Hawai'ian volcano and the suite of rock samples recovered may be the longest continuous stratigraphic record from any ocean island volcano.

(Photo ©: NASA)

The primary scientific objective of the HSDP is to gain a better understanding of the geochemical and geophysical processes within mantle plumes forming "midplate" volcanoes such as Hawai'i, the Galapagos, and the Yellowstone volcanic system. To achieve this objective, the project has developed a drilling program aimed to examine a maximum of the active life cycle of a chosen Hawai'ian volcano by recovering a continuous, stratigraphic sequence of samples.

The core recovered will be analyzed for a broad suite of chemical characteristics - whole rock compositions, trace and rare earth element concentrations, isotopic ratios of light and heavy isotopes - by a team of collaborating scientists and the results will be interpreted in the context of their implications for the mantle plume processes that have produced these compositions. The project is a cooperative effort among the University of California at Berkeley, California Institute of Technology, and the University of Hawai'i along with a team of more than twenty collaborating researchers from more than a dozen universities and research institutes world-wide. Funding for the drilling and the follow-on research program has been provided by the National Science Foundation and the ICDP.

In order to reach the projected depth of 4.5 km or more, the planned drilling program consisted of first coring to the planned depth of a casing string, then rotary drilling to open the core hole to the required casing diameter, setting and cementing the casing, followed by another episode of coring to the next casing depth. The casing intervals for the hole were 120 m (13,375"), 600 m (9,625"), 1,830 m (7") and 3,100 m (5"). The depth and hole design required that a new coring system be fabricated with the load capacity to support 4.5 km of drill string and the ability to facilitate coring and rotary drilling from the same platform. Details of the coring system can be found at: www.dosecc.org.



Pacific, U.S.A., United States of America, Hawai'i, Big Island, Hilo



19° 42' 52.41'' N, 155° 3' 15.03'' W (Please scroll down to end of page for more information.)


Project Start and End
  • Phase HSDP-2a
    • Begin of drilling March 13, 1999
    • End of drilling September 27, 1999
  • Phase HSDP-2b
    • Begin of drilling April 27, 2003


Programs and Funding


Principal Investigators
  • Donald J. DePaolo, University of California at Berkeley, Earth Science Division, Department of Geophysics and Geodynamics
  • Edward M. Stolper, California Institute of Technology, Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences
  • Donald M. Thomas, University of Hawai'i at Manoa, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology, Hawaii Institute of Geophysics and Planetology


Cooperating Principal Investigators

No Co-PIs found for this project


Partners and Contractors



Alteration, Ar, Basalts, Calcium, Clay Minerals, Cooling History, Deep Biosphere, DOSECC, Drilling, Geochemistry, Geophysics, Glass, Hawaii, Hf Isotopes, High Resolution, HSDP, ICDP-1996/18, Isotopes, Major Elements, Mantle Plume, Mauna Kea, Metamorphism, Microorganism, Microprobe, Ne, Neodymium, Noble Gases, Oxygen Isotope Analyses, Palagonites, Palagonitization, Paleointensity, Pb-isotopes, Periodicity, Petrology, Plate Tectonics, Recycling, Smectite, Strontium, Submarine Basaltic Glass, Sulphur, Thermal Regimes, U.S.A., Vitrophyres, Volcanic Systems, Volcanics, Volcano, Volcanology, Zeolites


Current State





Google Earth/Maps