Right now, I am working on finalizing the publication of my results from my USGS Hawaii project in Earth Surface Processes and Landforms! You can read the abstract and check out the paper here. In summary, we found that our study site, which was located on the northwestern edge of the “big island” of Hawaii, had long-term (over hundreds of years) dust deposition. This is because Mauna Kea, which is so tall that it actually pokes above the troposphere (the lower layer of the atmosphere that contains the weather), acts as a massive windbreak. Dust can be picked up by high-speed trade winds on the eastern side of the island and deposited at our field site on the western side where the winds are weaker. Therefore, despite intensive use as a training facility for the US Army, the grasslands on the western flank of Mauna Kea have topsoil partially generated by continuing dust deposition.