CLEANUP AND REPAIR OF PUNALU'U INFRASTRUCTURE is a top priority and underway, according to Black Sand Beach, LLC and its principal Eva Liu, which made a recent request for a Special Management Area Minor Permit from Hawai'i County Planning Department. the 434 acres includes the undeveloped lands and abandoned facilities as well as the 18-hole golf course at Punalu'u. Project manager is Norman Quon and consulting planner is Daryn Arai, a former Deputy Planning Department
See the entire project proposal at http://kaucalendar.com/news/SMAABlack_Sands_10_2021.pdf.
The proposal says, "Immediate steps are being taken by the landowner, and in some instances with the assistance of community manpower, to repair and maintain long-neglected infrastructure, facilities and landscapes. The landowner is aware that these lands are situated within the County’s Special Management Area. The proposal says that some of the cleanup and repairs "are not considered 'development' under Planning Commission Rule No. 9 regarding the Special Management Area due to its focus on
maintenance, repair and demolition activities."
Repairing the wastewater treatment system, which serves all of the Punalu'u condominiums, the county park, old golf course and tennis facilities and more, is on the list. The SMA permit application calls for "Engineering assessment and if functionally possible, attempt to repair abandoned wastewater pump station located near Black Sand Beach in vicinity of the former Punaluʻu Restaurant complex."
It also calls for repairs and on-going maintenance of existing Ninole wastewater pump station located near Colony I condominiums: "repair and some upgrades to existing private wastewater treatment facility (WWTP). Upgrades primarily limited to internal components, like increasing internal pump capacity" and repairs to, and on-going maintenance of 14 existing fire hydrants located throughout project site.
|Cleaning invasive plants in 2017 at Punalu'u Black Sand Beach pond were volunteers from Southside Volleyball|
team, Pacific Quest and `O Ka`u Kakou. Photo by Katherine Okamura
throughout project site.
Regarding the area in the vicinity of the former Punaluʻu Restaurant complex, "destroyed by the 1975 tsunami that impacted Halape and Punaluʻu," the permit call for "primarily hand-clearing of undergrowth
|The permit request mentions the 1975 tsunami that destroyed|
this Punalu'u house and impacted the Punalu'u Restaurant
complex. The permit asks to demolish "building components
at the restaurant site deemed unsafe." USGS photo
of invasive plant species beneath existing tree canopy. Use of machines limited to grind down of undergrowth into chips when necessary for larger undergrowth. No land grading or grubbing of area will occur."
As magma migrates to shallow depths, it causes the volcano to grow and expand, resulting in upward and outward ground displacements that can be seen on local ground deformation instruments. The increased pressure below the surface—due to moving magma—can cause the surrounding rocks to break, resulting in small earthquakes. But do volcanoes always show such clear indicators that they may erupt?
Alaska is home to fifty-four active volcanoes and accounts for 80 percent of active volcanism in the United States. Before many recent eruptions in Alaska, increases in the number of earthquakes, the appearance of volcanic tremor, and/or rapid ground displacements were observed. These changes are called precursors and instrumental monitoring of them can help forecast volcanic eruptions. They are particularly important in Alaska, where weather can prevent other visible precursors, such as steam, volcanic gas, and thermal anomalies, from being detected by satellites and cameras.
Different types of precursory behavior can occur on scales of months, weeks, days, or even hours before an eruption. However, such indications of impending eruption are not always observable at all Alaskan volcanoes. Pavlof Volcano, an approximately 2440-meter (8000 ft) high stratovolcano located within the Aleutian volcanic arc, has remained elusive in yielding clues to impending eruption.
Ash plume produced during the August 2007 Pavlof eruption in Alaska. Ash plume was approximately 5.2-5.5 km (about 17,000-18000 feet) high. Photo by Chris Waythomas, USGS Alaska Volcano Observatory
Studies of lavas from past eruptions at Pavlof show that the magma feeding these eruptions is stored deep (greater than 20 km, or 12 miles, beneath its surface). When Pavlof isn't erupting, magma likely remains at depth as gases accumulate within this deep magma storage system.
The gas-entrained magma is thought to ascend rapidly to the surface just prior to eruption at Pavlof. Deep storage followed by rapid ascent of magma from depth immediately preceding eruption complicates our ability to observe longer-term eruption precursors such as shallow earthquake activity and ground deformation.
The gas-rich nature of magma at Pavlof commonly results in explosive eruptions, creating ash plumes that reach high altitudes. For example, ash plumes between 10 and 17 km (about 33,000 and 56,000 feet) high were generated during eruptions at Pavlof in 1986, 2014, and 2016.
Scientists at the Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO) carefully monitor the Aleutian arc due to the hazards posed to aviation by Pavlof and other active volcanoes there.
Currently, AVO is completing a project to upgrade existing ground-based equipment used to monitor these volcanoes to improve their ability to forecast volcanic eruptions. Following recent upgrades, in July 2021, AVO scientists noticed the onset of volcanic tremor on Pavlof's network of seismic instruments indicating the movement of gas, magma, and other fluids in the subsurface. The volcano aviation color code for Pavlof was raised from GREEN to YELLOW, indicating the volcano was showing signs of volcanic unrest. A month later, Pavlof entered a period of eruption that is ongoing and the color code was raised to ORANGE, indicating an eruption with minor ash emissions.
The success in forecasting Pavlof's current eruption suggests that improvements in the ground-based monitoring equipment near the volcano may have allowed AVO scientists to identify tremor that possibly went undetected in previous eruptions.
Time will tell whether pre-eruptive volcanic tremor is a tell-tale sign of impending eruption at Pavlof. However, improvements made to ground-based monitoring instruments at this and other volcanoes give AVO scientists a stronger set of tools to potentially forecast eruptions.