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Friday, March 03, 2023

Kaʻū News Briefs, Friday, March 3, 2023

New photos from recent lava flows highlight the exhibition at Volcano Art Center Gallery. See more below. Image from VAC

NEW DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH SUBSIDIES TO ENCOURAGE HOMEOWNERS TO CONVERT THEIR CESSPOOLS to systems that protect groundwater and ocean water will not apply to Kaʻū properties in its first round of the pilot program, according to the state DOH guidelines released on Friday. DOH announced that the first cesspools qualifying for assistance in paying for their replacement must be in areas designated Level 1 or 2. For the pilot program, these areas are adjacent to the oceanfront in Kona and Hilo. Kaʻū and Volcano communities are built away from the ocean and are classified as Level 3. Areas that might qualify in the future include Miloli'i near the shoreline.
    Other programs are on the horizon to help subsidize converting from cesspools. Among them are the County of Hawai'i commitments that will pay for changing from old plantation gang cesspools to news systems in Nā'ālehu and Pahala at no cost to property owners. Almost all of the other homes in both towns
are on individual cesspools, with likely government subsidies or incentives in the future.
    The new pilot program from DOH aims to assist qualified property owners with upgrading or converting their cesspools, or connecting to an available sewage system. This grant program was established via Act 153 in 2022. 
    Act 125, which passed the Hawai'i Legislature in 2017, mandates all cesspools in Hawai'i be upgraded by the year 2050 to comply with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency requirements. DOH issued a statement saying it "recognizes that the requirement to upgrade or convert a cesspool imposes a financial burden on low and moderate-income families. The purpose of this grant program is to assist such property owners, including lessees on Hawaiian Home Lands. Each grant recipient can receive up to $20,000 in reimbursements for their cesspool conversion or connection costs."
    To qualify, cesspools must be in a priority level 1 or 2 area, as identified by the University of Hawai‘i’s cesspool hazard assessment and prioritization tool. The tool can be accessed at:
Kathleen Ho, Deputy Director
of state Department of Health
https://seagrant.soest.hawaii.edu/cesspools-tool/. In addition, the applicant’s household income shall not exceed 140 percent of the Area Median Income, as determined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
    DOH Deputy Director for Environmental Health, Kathleen Ho, said, “This is truly an exciting program that will go a long way to help qualified applicants and, in turn, provide a healthier environment for future generations. I strongly recommend eligible households apply.”
    Grant awards will be on a first-come, first-served basis, subject to funding availability.
    For more information about the cesspool grant program, visit https://health.hawaii.gov/wastewater/home/ccpgp/ or call (808) 586-4294. Applications for the grant program will be available on March 15, 2023.

RECENT ERUPTIONS PHOTOGRAPHY EXHIBIT is on display through April 2, daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Volcano Art Center Gallery in Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park. The juried exhibition and contest celebrate the recent volcanic eruptions on Hawaiʻi Island. A VAC statement says, "For the first time in nearly four decades Mauna Loa Volcano began erupting in Moku‘āweoweo Caldera on Nov. 27, 2022. In honor of this very special event, and the reactivation of Kīlauea since January 5th, 2023, VAC requested photographic works of art that captured these recent events."

All images in the exhibition at Volcano Art Center Gallery were
captured since Nov. 27, 2022. Image from VAC
    Over 75 entries were received in the professional, hobbyist and phone photography categories, said Gallery Director Emily C. Weiss. "We are always amazed by the beauty of the eruptions, sharing these dynamic images is such an honor and allows us to connect people, art and our natural environment.”      
    The exhibit was juried by professional photographers G. Brad Lewis and David Jordan. Both photographers have extensive portfolios spanning decades from past volcanic eruptions and have been published in magazines worldwide.
    Brad Lewis is a world-renowned volcano and nature photographer, based in Volcano, Utah and Alaska, said, "“My life’s mission is to connect the viewer to a deep understanding and appreciation of the Earth. This incredible planet of ours is a living, breathing entity. In my LavArt series, I use the movement, light and texture of our most active volcano to open human emotions to the pulse the planet.”
    Volcano artist David Jordan has photographed lava since 2002. He said his goal "is to channel the constantly changing artistic magic of Madam Pele into a visually and emotionally stimulating moment preserved on paper. I have always found inspiration in the colors and patterns that occur in nature, and the lava flows of Kīlauea provide an endless and constantly evolving subject matter. With luck and persistence I have been fortunate enough to be in the right place at the right moment on many occasions and I hope that my photographs do justice to the spirit of Pele.”

POLICE ARRESTED 18 FOR DUI during the week of Feb. 20 through Feb. 26, Hawai'i Island police arrested them for driving under the influence of an intoxicant. One of the drivers was involved in a traffic accident. One of the drivers was under the age of 21.
  So far this year, there have been 164 DUI arrests compared with 182 during the same period last year, an increase of 9.9 percent.
    A review of all updated crashes by Hawai'i Police Department's Traffic Services Section found 147 major traffic crashes so far this year compared with 116 during the same period last year, an increase of 31 percent.
    To date, there have been four fatal crashes, resulting in five fatalities, (Rvsd. 02/07/23: one fatal crash reclassified-manner of death was due to natural causes) and (one fatal crash had multiple deaths); compared with six fatal crashes, resulting in eight fatalities (one of which had multiple deaths) for the same time last year. This represents a decrease of 33.3 percent for fatal crashes, and 37.5 percent for fatalities.
    HPD promises that DUI roadblocks and patrols will continue islandwide.

SEEING INSIDE MAUNA LOA FOR THE FIRST TIME IN ALMOST 40 YEARS is the title of this week's Volcano Watch, written by U.S. Geological Survey Hawaiian Volcano Observatory geologist Kendra Lynn:
    Understanding volcanic eruptions requires learning about where the erupted lavas come from deep within the volcano. But how do scientists get information about magma storage when they can't visit those regions?
    Analyzing lava samples can help us "see" inside a volcano, and results from the 2022 eruption of Mauna Loa gave us a window into the volcano's plumbing system for the first time in almost 40 years.
Dr. Kendra Lynn of Hawaiian Volcano Observatory
  Mauna Loa began erupting at about 11:21 p.m. HST, on November 27, 2022, for the first time since 1984. The eruption began within the summit caldera, Mokuʻāweoweo, and subsequently, a 500 m-long (1640 ft) fissure propagated towards the southwest but remained mostly within the summit.
    By early morning the following day, eruptive activity had migrated from the summit into the Northeast Rift Zone (NERZ) at four fissures between 3755 and 3365 m (12,320 and 11,040 ft) above sea level, localizing to one vent by December 2. A network of lava channels fed 'a'ā flows that extended 19 km (12 mi) down the volcano's north flank before the eruption ended on December 10.
    The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory's network of monitoring instruments recorded data being analyzed in real-time to better understand the eruption. HVO field crews were also making direct observations and measurements that aided in assessing lava flow advance rates and characterizing the hazards. One facet of HVO's monitoring efforts included collecting molten and solidified lava samples almost every day for near-real-time analysis in our laboratories, as was done during Kīlauea's 2018 lower East Rift Zone eruption.
    Since Mauna Loa's eruption in 1984, the fields of petrology (the study of rocks and the conditions under which they form) and geochemistry have made great advances. New instruments and techniques are available now, which meant that we could learn far more about this eruption much faster than in 1984.
    Energy-dispersive X-ray fluorescence (ED-XRF) analyses done in near-real-time with our partners at the University of Hawai'i at Hilo revealed the composition of the erupting magma and where it was coming from. These analyses, done within 24 hours of sample collection, were later followed by secondary electron micro-analysis (SEM) and electron probe micro-analysis (EPMA) which allows us to measure compositions of minerals and glass on very small scales (a few microns or about 0.00004 inches). This type of rapid analysis wasn't possible in 1984 and is one example of how sample chemical information was acquired much faster for the 2022 eruption.
Photograph of eruption with inset photo of lava sample
Lava samples collected near Mauna Loa's fissure 3 vent (shown in this Dec. 7 overflight photo) are glassy and contain bubbles
and some very small (200 microns or 0.008 inches long) minerals like plagioclase and pyroxene, as shown in the grey-scale microscope image inset. USGS photos by Kendra J. Lynn

In the mail and on stands Volcano through Kaʻū.
    We learned that the erupting lavas were similar to other Mauna Loa compositions erupted since 1843. 
The average MgO (magnesium oxide) content of the lava samples was 6.2 wt% (weight percent), slightly lower than any other Mauna Loa eruption over the past 200 years. This data can be used to calculate the temperature at which the lavas erupted and quenched, which was about 1,155 degrees Celsius (2,111 degrees Fahrenheit).
    Samples collected at the vent(s) have no crystals visible to the naked eye, although minerals like plagioclase, clinopyroxene, olivine, and oxides (all common at Mauna Loa) increase in abundance and size with distance from the vent as lava flows cooled and crystallized downslope.
    All of the lava produced over the duration of the nearly two-week long eruption and from all vents spanning 17 km (10.6 miles) across the summit and upper NERZ have the same composition. This tells us the entire eruption was fed by a homogenous magma, and that this nearly crystal-free, low-MgO eruption was not influenced by rift-stored magma left over from 1984.
    This is different from the Kīlauea 2018 eruption, which initially produced lavas mixed with cooler stored magma from the LERZ. Instead, the composition of the 2022 Mauna Loa eruption reflects a new intrusion of magma, consistent with earthquake activity that HVO monitored 2–4 km (1.2–2.5 miles) beneath the summit in the months prior to eruption.
    Each eruption provides clues into the inner workings of our volcanoes here on the Island of Hawai'i. As technology advances, we will improve and expand the ways in which we can study the erupted lavas. We continue to monitor Mauna Loa for future signs of unrest, and future eruptions will yield more insights into Mauna Loa's inner workings.

Traditional weaving is one of the cultural learning experiences
at the public grand opening of Ke Ola Pu'uhonua this Saturday.
Photo by Julia Neal
PUBLIC GRAND OPENING OF KE OLA PU'UHONUA adjacent to Punalu'u Bakeshop in Nā'ālehu is this Saturday, March 4, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The public and 'ohana are invited for a cultural experience featuring a hula performance by Halau Hula O Leionalani at noon, music, hands on teachings by such living treasures as Uncle Chucky Leslie with his fisheries; Kupuna Linda Saffery with her lauhala and makaloa weaving; Kupuna Bully Davies with coconut weaving; and Uncle Waltah Wong with his traditional hale and more. Uhane Pohaku Na Moku O Hawai'i, Inc. will serve free hot dogs and juice from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. for all guests. The organization is headed by Kawehi Ryder and Kumu Hula Debbie Ryder. 

St. Jude's Hot Meals are free to those in need on Saturdays from 9 a.m. until food runs out, no later than noon. Volunteers from the community are welcome to help and can contact Karen at pooch53@gmail.com. Location is 96-8606 Paradise Circle Drive in Ocean View. Those in need can also take hot showers from 9 a.m. to noon and use the computer lab from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Free Meals Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays are served from 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Nā'ālehu Hongwanji. Volunteers prepare the food provided by 'O Ka'ū Kākou with fresh produce from its gardens on the farm of Eva Liu, who supports the project. Other community members also make donations and approximately 150 meals are served each day, according to OKK President Wayne Kawachi.


Volcano Evening Market, Cooper Center, Volcano Village, Thursdays, 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., with live music, artisan crafts, ono grinds, and fresh produce. See facebook.com.

Volcano Swap Meet, fourth Saturday of the month from 8 a.m. to noon. Large variety of vendors with numerous products. Tools, clothes, books, toys, local made healing extract and creams, antiques, jewelry, gemstones, crystals, food, music, plants, fruits, and vegetables. Also offered are cakes, coffee, and shave ice. Live music.                                                                                                                                  Volcano Farmers Market, Cooper Center, Volcano Village on Sundays, 6 a.m. to 10 a.m., with local produce, baked goods, food to go, island beef and Ka'ū Coffee. EBT is used for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly Food Stamps. Call 808-967-7800.

O Ka'ū Kākou Market, Nā'ālehu, Wednesdays, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Contact Nadine Ebert at 808-938-5124 or June Domondon 808-938-4875. See facebook.com/OKauKakouMarket.

Ocean View Community Market, Saturdays and Wednesdays, 6:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., corner Kona Dr. Drive and Hwy 11, near Thai Grindz. Masks mandatory. 100-person limit, social distancing required. Gate unlocked for vendors at 5:30 a.m., $15 dollars, no rez needed. Parking in the upper lot. Vendors must provide their own sanitizer. Food vendor permits required. Carpooling is encouraged.