About The Kaʻū Calendar

Ka`u, Hawai`i, United States
A locally owned and run community newspaper (www.kaucalendar.com) distributed in print to all Ka`u District residents of Ocean View, Na`alehu, Pahala, Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park, Volcano Village and Miloli`i on the Big Island of Hawai`i. This blog is where you can catch up on what's happening daily with our news briefs. This blog is provided by The Ka`u Calendar Newspaper (kaucalendar.com), Pahala Plantation Cottages (pahalaplantationcottages.com), Local Productions, Inc. and the Edmund C. Olson Trust.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Ka`u News Briefs Friday, June 23, 2017

A color-shaded bathymetry map of Lō‘ihi, a submarine volcano 24 miles southeast of Pahala. 
The summit is marked by pit craters formed in connection with an eruption and earthquake 
swarm in July–August 1996.  Right: Earthquakes in the vicinity of Lō‘ihi (same area as 
bathymetry map) located by USGS during a 30-day period ending June 22. Locations shown 
with dots; size indicates magnitude. The blue dot east of Lō‘ihi was a magnitude-2.3 
earthquake that on June 22. See story below. Images from USGS

COMMERCIAL LAVA TOUR BOAT RIDES FROM PUNALU`U BOAT RAMP would require written permission from owners of the ramp, and possibly government permits for using the shoreline area, according to state and county zoning and boating regulations. Punalu`u Boat Ramp is is shown on the state Department of Land & Natural Resources harbor and boat ramp map as the only private boat ramp on the island. It is owned by the hui associated with Roberts of Hawai`i, which also owns land zoned Open adjacent to the boat ramp, nearby land zoned for resort and also the Punalu`u Golf Course.
With no more permits allowed at the goverment controlled boat ramp at
Po`oiki, some tour boat operators are eyeing the privately owned
ramp at Punalu`u for launching lava boat tours.
Photo from Kohala Tours 
     At state and county boat ramps, government agencies manage the number of permits for commercial boaters using them and requires permits to operate in navigable waters. However, the state boating division has no control boaters' use of private ramps except to record that boaters have permission from the owners. 
     The question of tour boats launching from Punalu`u to run along the shore of Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park to the lava flowing into the ocean, has come up among fishermen and users of Punalu`u Beach. They said they have seen preparations at the Punalu`u Boat Ramp and adjacent land and have met people who talk about starting lava boat tours there.
Punalu`u Boat Ramp is the only private ramp listed
by the state on its map of harbors and ramps on the
Big Island. Map from DLNR. Red dots are county,
blue are state and yellow is private.
Map from DLNR
      Since the land adjacent to the boat ramp is zoned Open, not commercial, and is within the Special Management Area along the coast, any commercial operation or repairs or construction would require additional permitting. Permits for repairing and enlarging the ramp would also be required.
     Community concerns include a commercial boat using Punalu`u Bay where families swim, dive, fish and surf, and the amount of tour boating traffic that could be generated in the small Punalu`u Bay, with the only family friendly swimming area and beach park within Ka`u.
     The number of tour boat permits is capped at Poho`iki ramp in Puna for taking people 25 minutes on the water to the lava entry to the ocean. The time it would take to conduct a lava tour by boat from Punalu`u could be an hour and a half one way on an unusually calm day, according to local boaters who make the run while fishing.

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RENEWED SEISMIC ACTIVITY at Lō‘ihi seamount, the underwater volcano 24 miles southeast of Pahala and northeast of Kalae, is registering on Hawaiian Volcano Observatory equipment. The island chain's youngest and still submarine volcano has registered more than 50 quakes in June.
     Lō‘ihi is a new feature on Hawaiian Volcano Observatory's new website. The website change was part of an overall update to how the U.S. Geological Survey’s Volcano Hazards Program (https://volcanoes.usgs.gov) provides information to both the scientific community and the general public. The new HVO website (https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/hvo/) provides a portal to a wide range of information about the two ongoing Kīlauea eruptions and current unrest on Mauna Loa and Lō‘ihi, reports this week's Volcano Watch, written by HVO scientists:
      Somewhat coincident with the debut of HVO’s updated website, eagle-eyed web surfers have noticed recent increases in earthquake activity at Lō‘ihi. Although there are no seismic stations near Lō‘ihi,  HVO has been tracking earthquake activity there from land-based seismic stations for over 50 years.
     Since the end of February, HVO seismic analysts have noted a slight uptick in the numbers of earthquakes near Lō‘ihi. From January 2015 through February 2017, there was, on average, one located Lō‘ihi earthquake per month. Since then, the rate of earthquakes has gradually increased. As of June 22 there were 51 located earthquakes in the Lō‘ihi region in this month alone.
      Without permanent seismic stations at Lō‘ihi—because the highest point of the volcano is still a kilometer (0.6 mi) under water—it is not possible to locate earthquakes there as accurately as at Kīlauea or Mauna Loa. However, HVO can state that the June 2017 earthquakes appear to be clustered roughly 10–12 km (6–7 mi) below sea level and extend from beneath the summit region of Lō‘ihi to the south.
      Interestingly, the roughly 170 earthquakes located in the area of Lō‘ihi between 2010 and 2016 occurred away from the summit region. They were primarily beneath the northern flanks of Lō‘ihi, and extended to significantly greater depths below the volcano. The significance of this difference is unclear.
      As early as 1952, HVO scientists interpreted occasional earthquake swarms in the Lō‘ihi region as reflecting active volcanism there. In fact, the earthquakes were key to recognizing that the seamount is actually an active volcano. 
      Earthquake activity alone does not conclusively indicate that Lō‘ihi is erupting. But the locations of recent earthquakes directly beneath the volcano’s summit region plausibly suggest magmatic or volcanic origin, such as adjustments within the magma reservoir or volcanic edifice. We would, however, expect to see many more earthquakes associated with an eruption.
     The most recent confirmed eruption of Lō‘ihi occurred in 1996. That year, an energetic earthquake swarm began in July and quickly intensified, motivating a scientific expedition to Lō‘ihi to seize an unprecedented opportunity to possibly observe a submarine eruption. Thousands of earthquakes, including over a dozen with magnitudes greater than 4.5, were recorded from beneath the summit and south flank of the volcano between July and September 1996.
Pillow lava from an eruption at Lo`ihi. Photo from University of Hawai`i
      Subsequent viewing and mapping of the Lō‘ihi summit region showed that, consistent with magma movement from beneath the summit area, a significant portion of it had collapsed. Fresh pillow lavas and glassy fragments collected during submersible dives also confirmed the occurrence of an eruption.
     Because Lō‘ihi is still so deep beneath the ocean’s surface, the USGS regards Lō‘ihi as a low- to very low-threat volcano. There are no immediate plans for additional monitoring instruments and our views of Lō‘ihi for the foreseeable future will be strictly seismological.

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AN EXTREME HIGH TIDE MESSAGE has been issued for the weekend by Hawai`i County Civil Defense Agency. The National Weather Service reports unusually high tides, also known as King Tides, may cause dangerous flooding conditions along all shores of Hawai`i Island through Sunday before gradually subsiding next week.
     "Due to the King Tides, be aware that coastal areas, beaches, low-lying roads, boat ramps, and harbors may be dangerously impacted during the afternoon and evening hours. A below advisory level south swell will enhance impacts to exposed shores. These high tides and swell will cause higher beach run up, flooding and erosion."
King Tides are expected to send seawater running up onto the shores
through this weekend. Image from University of Hawai`i
     Because of these dangerous conditions, the following precautions should be taken, warns Civil Defense:  "Ocean front residents, beach-goers, and boat owners are advised to be on the alert for high surf, strong currents, and coastal flooding. As a precaution, consider postponing ocean activities until these hazards are over.  As always, precautionary measures should be taken before night fall.
Special caution to the coastal areas in and around Kapoho during the high tide periods.
     There are no closures of roads or beaches. "However, be aware closures may occur without notice.
Radio stations and this public notification will be updated and you will be informed of any conditions that may affect your safety," reports Civil Defense.

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MONEY FOR HEAT ABATEMENT IN PUBLIC SCHOOL CLASSROOMS will be borrowed, interest free, now that Gov. David Ige has signed state House Bill 957 (Act 57) – The Department of Education will borrow money from the Hawai‘i Green Infrastructure Loan Program, the Gov. said when signing the legislation on Thursday.
     The effort is to expedite cooling of classrooms across the state while decreasing energy usage and electricity costs.
    “I ordered the cooling of 1,000 public school classrooms about a year and a half ago. The state and the DOE have worked very hard to achieve this goal. Although the process hasn’t always been easy and it has taken more time than we would have liked, I am happy to say that we expect to have 1,000 classrooms cooled off by the end of August,” said Ige.
Ka`u High & Elementary has high ceilings and large windows but may
qualify in the future for air conditioning through new funding
from the state. Photo by Julia Neal
   The governor's statement says that the DOE is expecting significant decreases in energy use and electricity costs. The use of LED indoor lighting in public school classrooms is expected to result in a $4 million drop in energy costs annually. Such reductions in energy consumption and the lowering of the kilowatt load may enable the installation of AC units in classrooms without expensive and time consuming electrical upgrades.
    The governor’s Cool the Schools initiative and the DOE’s Heat Abatement program have resulted in: The installation of 456 classroom air conditioning units and201 photovoltaic AC units; distribution of 402 portable AC units to the hottest classrooms across the state and the ordering of 1,062 AC units
   In addition, 461 portable classrooms have been covered with heat reflective material; trees have been planted to shade buildings and minimize heat; awnings have been installed on at least four buildings; ceiling fans have been installed in 139 classrooms; and large diameter fans are being installed in cafeteria dining rooms.
    “A big mahalo to our state legislators for their support of our efforts to cool the schools. Thank you also to the DOE for its hard work and for helping us to achieve our goal of creating a learning environment in which our students and teachers can thrive,” Ige said.

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Stained Glass II: Panel Lamp, Sat – Sun, June 24 – July 8, 9 a.m. – 12 p.m., Volcano Art Center in Volcano Village. Claudia McCall teaches students how to create their own stained glass table lamp. $150/$135 VAC members; $15 supply fee. 967-8222

Nature & Culture: An Unseverable Relationship (He Pilina Wehena ‘Ole), Sat, June 24, 9:30 – 11:30 a.m., Kahuku Unit of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Palm Trail hikers visit a place where catastrophic change & subsequent restoration can be observed. Free. nps.gov/havo