Tom Mullikin led a delegation to explore the volcano Kilauea. Five volcanoes form the island of Hawaii, but Kilauea is the most active and is 300,000 to 600,000 years old. Kīlauea has a large, fairly recently formed caldera at its summit and two active rift zones, one extending 78 miles east and the other 22 mi west.  Mullikin and his team have explored the active volcano from air and the sea.  Today, at least 20 volcanoes are erupting at any one time, while in the 1990s roughly 60 volcanoes erupted each year. Scientists believe that more than 1500 have erupted in the past 10,000 years; and some estimate of young seafloor volcanoes exceeds a million.  Kilauea by itself discharges between 8,000 and 30,000 metric tons of CO2 into the atmosphere each day.

In addition to his study of naturally occurring greenhouse gases, Mullikin took time to study the local reefs and marine life.