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Saturday, May 13, 2023

Kaʻū News Briefs, Saturday, May 13, 2023

Photographs of the 1924 explosive eruptions from Halemaʻumaʻu. The photograph on the left is from the Uēkahuna bluff on
May 18, 1924, by Kenichi Maehara. The photograph on the right is from near the present-day site of Volcano House
 on May 22, 1924, by Tai Sing Loo. Photos from USGS

EXPLOSIVE ERUPTIONS OF 1924 IS THE VOLCANO WATCH topic this week; the column written by USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory scientists and affiliates:
    For nearly two decades prior to the explosive eruptions in 1924, Halemaʻumaʻu hosted a large lava lake. In February 1924, this lava lake drained over the course of 2 days, leaving behind an incandescent crater that was around 380 ft deep by 1,700 ft wide (115 m deep by 520 m wide). Halemaʻumaʻu remained an empty crater for the next 2 months.
    April 1924 saw the summit of Kīlauea hit with an earthquake swarm that migrated down the East Rift Zone. Residents of Kapoho in the lower East Rift Zone felt more than 200 earthquakes on April 22–23, which resulted in an approximately 4-mile-long by 1-mile-wide (6.5 by 1.6 km) tract of land cracking and subsiding. This included the area near the eastern point of the Island of Hawaiʻi dropping by about 14 ft (4m) and the ocean covering nearly a half mile (1 km) of previously dry land. Despite the shaking and subsidence in the lower East Rift Zone, associated with lava draining from the summit lava lake, no eruption occurred from the rift zone.

Dust cloud caused by the collapse of the Halemaumau crater
floor at Kīlauea Volcano, May 9, 1924. Photo from USGS
    On April 29, 1924, the floor of Halemaʻumaʻu started to subside and eventually reached around 600 ft (180 m) below the crater rim by the time the first explosions occurred from Halemaʻumaʻu during the nighttime hours of May 10–11. Hot rocks from this explosion were noticed near the rim of Halemaʻumaʻu on the morning of May 11 by a National Park Ranger. This prompted road closures within Hawai'i National Park (as it was named then), as well as a close call when the park superintendent and two observers were pelted by ash during another explosion that sent ash up to 3,000 ft (nearly 1 km) high. In fact, a 100 lbs. (45 kg) boulder had been thrown over the group’s vehicle nearby, prompting the roadblock to be pushed back even farther.
    Explosions of ash, lapilli, and blocks continued to be ejected from the crater. The largest of these explosions occurred on May 18 with lightning-charged ash going up higher than 4 miles (6.5 km), as well as spreading across the crater floor. Several people were near the crater rim when this explosion occurred. Unfortunately, a resident of Pāhala was hit by a block and died that night at the hospital in Hilo. This was the only fatality during these explosive eruptions.

  Explosions continued, although smaller than the one on May 18, and by May 27, when the explosions ended, Halemaʻumaʻu was about twice as wide and eight times as deep than prior to the sequence of explosions. Blocks weighing as much as 8 tons (8,000 kg, equivalent to 10 cows) had been hurled as much as 1,600 ft (500 m) from the crater.
    Scientists originally proposed that the lava lake draining exposed cracks in the crater floor that allowed groundwater to enter the system. This groundwater may have flashed to steam and resulted in the many explosions over the 16 days in May 1924. However, new research being undertaken by the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory could reveal other explanations for these explosive events. This research will help us to better understand these explosive bursts that occurred nearly a century ago and compare them with the more recent explosions from the summit of Kīlauea in 2018.
Thomas Jaggar standing amid ash and blocks of the May 1924 eruption, looking east-northeast toward Kīlauea Iki. Note the
fresh cracks that opened as Halema‘uma‘u was widening during its collapse. Photo from USGS by Loo, Tai Sing
Volcano Activity Updates
    Kīlauea is not erupting. Its USGS Volcano Alert level is ADVISORY. Webcams show no signs of active
 lava in Halemaʻumaʻu crater, at the summit of Kīlauea in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Over the past week, summit tiltmeters showed inflation and seismicity has been variable. The summit sulfur dioxide (SO2) emission rate was most recently measured on May 3, when it totaled 135 tonnes per day.
    Mauna Loa is not erupting. Its USGS Volcano Alert Level is at NORMAL.
Webcams show no signs of activity on Mauna Loa. Seismicity remains low. Summit ground deformation rates show inflation above background levels, but this is not uncommon following eruptions. SO2 emission rates are at background levels.
    There were five earthquakes above magnitude 3 and with 3 or more felt reports in the Hawaiian Islands during the the week ending May 10: a M3.5 earthquake 9 km (6 mi) ESE of Pāhala at 32 km (19 mi) depth on May 10 at 4:56 a.m. HST, a M3.8 earthquake 11 km (6 mi) ENE of Pāhala at 32 km (19 mi) depth on May 7 at 11:58 p.m. HST, a M3.3 earthquake 0 km (0 mi) NE of Pāhala at 39 km (24 mi) depth on May 7 at 7:35 a.m. HST, a M3.0 earthquake 35 km (21 mi) ENE of Waimānalo Beach at 8 km (5 mi) depth on May 5 at 4:26 p.m. HST, and a M3.7 earthquake 12 km (7 mi) SSE of Fern Forest at 5 km (3 mi) depth on May 4 at 1:05 p.m. HST.
    Visit HVO’s website for past Volcano Watch articles, Kīlauea and Mauna Loa updates, volcano photos, maps, recent earthquake information, and more. Email questions to askHVO@usgs.gov.

THE RESIDENT OF PĀHALA WHO DIED IN THE 1924 VOLCANIC ERUPTION of Kīlauea was Truman T. Taylor, bookkeeper for Pāhala Sugar Plantation, according to the Hawaiian language newspaper of the time Ka Nupepa Kuokoa. Two soldiers also died in the blast and were never found, according to a translation of the the May 22, 1924 front page story in Kuokoa:
    Amongst the visitors on this past Sunday was one who met with tragedy, after breaking both his legs and being burned by the hot ash from the lava, that being Truman T. Taylor, the bookkeeper of Pahala Sugar Plantation.
    Two soldiers disappeared on that same day after the lava exploded violently, and their whereabouts are not known; a great number of soldiers were sent under the leadership of Captain Charles H. Perkins to search of them.
   It is said that Truman A. Taylor was around 1,800 feet from the crater, and even at that distance, large rocks were thrown into the sky from the crater and they fell on this side and that side of the pit.
    Someone heard a voice calling saw Mr. Taylor, and when they went to save him, it was seen that he broke both legs, and his body was scorched by the hot ash of the lava that was thrown up above.
    The victim was given medical treatment at the soldier camp at Kilauea and from there was quickly transported to the hospital in Hilo; there he died.

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Wayne Kawachi and Lucy Makuakane were honored Friday
  as  Outstanding Older Americans for Hawai'i County
 for 2021 and 2022. Photo by Myra Sumida

LUCY MAKUAKANE, OUTSTANDING OLDER AMERICAN WOMAN for Hawai'i County for 2022, was honored at a luncheon in Waikoloa on Friday, along with 2023 Outstanding Older American Woman Felicidad Villegas and 2021 Outstanding Older American Man for Hawai'i County Wayne Kawachi. The ceremonies for 2021 and 2022 were postponed until this week, after the end of the pandemic. The two women from Pāhala, and Kawachi from Punalu'u, traveled up the coast for the ceremonies at Hilton Waikoloa Village.
    Makuakane is 73 years young and was nominated by Hawai’i County Nutrition program for the Hawai’i County Office of Aging 2022 Outstanding Older American Award. The awards bio describes her as a Kaʻū girl who grew up in Nā'ālehu. "Lucy is helpful, kind, talented, and is a great example of someone living their senior years to the fullest. Her support of both the Nā'ālehu and Pāhala Senior programs makes her outstanding in the eyes of her friends in both communities. She currently serves on the executive boards of both the Nā'ālehu Senior Club (President) and the Pāhala Senior Club (Advisor). She is a willing
Fely Villegas, 2023 Outstanding Older American for Hawai'i
County, with Mayor Mitch Roth at the Friday ceremony. See 
her bio in upcoming news brief. Photo by Myra Sumida

volunteer as part of the Hawai'i County Nutrition Program (HCNP) van transportation team and helps to run the Nutrition site when the Site manager is away."    
    Being a matriarch to a large family, as a mother of eight, grandma of 20 and great grandma of two, may have given her "super organization skills and can-do attitude. She is the kind of worker that makes life easier for everyone around her, noticing when something needs to be done and 'just doing it!'"
    She said, “I’m not much of a talker; I’m more of a doer!” She is an accomplished tennis athlete playing in the Nationals seven times and placing twice since joining the USTA Senior Tennis League. 
    The bio says, "Lucy is a creative individual who has taken on playing 'ukulele, dancing Hula, Japanese Bon Dance and Line Dancing in her senior years. Lucy is an active volunteer in her church, where she assists with the church’s project of providing meals to mothers and families after they bring a new baby home. We extend our heartfelt congratulations to her as the Hawai'i County’s Office of Aging Outstanding Older American."
    See bios of Outstanding Older Americans, Villegas and Kawachi, and local nominees for the titles in upcoming Kaʻū News Briefs.

KAʻŪ'S REPRESENTATIVE IN U.S. CONGRESS, Jill Tokuda, is advocating for a binding code of ethics for the U.S. Supreme Court and is calling for Speaker of the House to expel Rep. George Santos. On
Kaʻū's Congresswoman Jill Tokuda
Friday, she wrote:
    "The recent indictment of Rep. George Santos and the ethics abuses surrounding Clarence Thomas are exactly why trust in public officials remains at an all time low. Corruption in government is not new, but that doesn't mean we have to turn a blind eye either. It's a betrayal of public trust.
    "I stand with the growing number of Democrats and Republicans calling on The Speaker to expel George Santos. And I support the efforts in Congress to create a binding code of ethics for The Supreme Court.
   "Since being elected I've demanded reforms from the bottom to the top, from rules regulating our elections, to increased transparency in government, and, once elected, holding those in power accountable for their actions. No one is above the law and there shouldn't be double standards!
    "It won't happen overnight, but there are bold steps we can take as elected officials to start to root out corruption."

KA'ALU'ALU ROAD SHOULDERS WILL BE GRADED AND PREPPED for paving from Monday, May 15 through Friday, May 19 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. County Department of Public Works notes that there will be potential for lane closure, flaggers directing traffic; large trucks and personnel on the roadway.

KAMA'OA ROAD TREES AND GRASS WILL BE TRIMMED AND MULCHED from Monday, May 15 through Friday May 19 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. County Department of Public Works notes that there will be potential for lane closure, flaggers directing traffic; large trucks and personnel on the roadway.

WAI'OHINU RECYCLING & TRANSFER STATION WILL TEMPORARILY CLOSE from Thursday, May 18, and is expected to reopen on Monday, May 29 (Memorial Day). Work to complete construction
of the upper portion of the facility requires the closure of the entire transfer station.
    During the closure, County of Hawai'i encourages residents to use the nearest available recycling and transfer stations at Ocean View (92-9017 Māmalahoa Highway) and Pāhala (96-1250 Old Māmalahoa Highway). Both transfer stations are open Sundays, Tuesdays, and Fridays from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.
    For more information, please contact the Solid Waste Administration office at 808-961-8270 or swd@hawaiicounty.gov. Visit www.hawaiizerowaste.org website and register for Solid Waste Notifications (via email or text)

William Jenks will play a handmade
guitar built by Woodley White in a
concert in Nā'ālehu on June 25.

Photo from U.S. Classic Guitar
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INTERNATIONALLY ACCLAIMED CLASSICAL GUITARIST William Jenks will perform at Nā'ālehu United Methodist Church on Sunday, June 25 at 4 p.m. The venue is located at 95-5664 HWY 11. 
    The concert features music of Luis Milan, Johann Sebastian Bach, Heitor Villa-Lobos, Francisco Tarrega, and more. Suggested donation is $25 but all are welcome. 
     Jenks will play a concert guitar built by luthier Woodley White, who also is the pastor of Nā'ālehu United Methodist Church. 
    Jenks has performed solo concerts and duets throughout the United States, Europe, and Latin America. He is President of U.S. Classic Guitar.
     U.S. Classic Guitar's website describes the handmade guitars by Woodley White:
       "Pu'uwai is the Hawaiian word for heart and heart is what it is all about. Not only does the rhythm of the guitar and the 'ukulele replicate the heartbeat but when pursued with passion music can find its way into the soul. Handmade instruments have that extra depth of character and quality of sound that can touch the deepest place in our being."