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Saturday, May 20, 2023

Kaʻū News Briefs, Saturday, May 20, 2023

Dexsilyn Navarro, who teaches at  Kaʻū High & Pahala Elementary, with her classmate from years ago, Lois-Ann Yamanaka,
author and expert in pidgin dialect widely spoken in Hawai'i. They sit on the stairs of an old Pāhala school teacher cottage where Yamanaka's parents lived. Yamanaka was commencement speaker at Kaʻū High on Friday. Photo by Julia Neal

POET AND NOVELIST LOIS-ANN YAMANAKA shared with graduating seniors at Kaʻū High School her ideas of remaining idealistic, original, one-of-a kind and offbeat throughout her life. She was keynote speaker at graduating ceremonies in the Robert Herkes Kaʻū District Gym on Friday. She said that even though she was not a notable scholar or athlete, not a distinguished graduate, and even considered herself
"a donkey in a flock of sheep," at her own graduation she told herself,  "I will change the world." She said she fought against corruption and was a risk taker. She encouraged graduates to likewise forge their own paths of individuality and passion and to resisted being placed into a box.

    Yamanaka has long been acknowledged for bringing attention and respect to the pidgin spoken throughout Hawai'i, illuminating the texture and complexities of life among immigrant sugar plantation families.
    She grew up in Pāhala, where her dad was vice-principal at the school for many years. She was immersed in the pidgin way of talking. 
    She told the graduating students and their families and friends that she and her sisters know that Pāhala was the best place they ever lived. She told the graduating students about her memories of Kaʻū, of baby turtles, glass floaters, the old windmill at Kalae. She recalled going to Pāhala Theatre and using toilet paper to wipe off the seats covered with soot from the sugar mill.
    While here for the Friday commencement ceremonies, she was able to stay in one of the old teachers cottages where she said she was conceived.
    Yamanaka earned her high school degree in Hilo and bachelors and masters degrees at University of Hawai'i at Manoa and became a teacher and author. Her first book was Saturday Night At The Pahala Theatre.
    Her books delve into pidgin, revealing the "utter complexity, ferocious beauty and sometimes absurdity of our ethnic relationships here in the islands. The way we language about each other and with each other in 'talk story' communities resonates in me with every word I write," she said in a Wikipedia quote.
    Yamanaka has written five novels and one young adult novel. In addition to Saturday Night at the Pahala Theatre, her works include: Wild Meat and the Bully Burger, Blu's Hanging, Heads by Harry, Name Me Nobody, Behold the Many, and Snow Angel, Sand Angel. She has won numerous book awards and writing grants from foundations.
    See more on Kaʻū High's graduation in Monday's Kaʻū News Briefs.

UPS AND DOWNS AT KILAUEA SUMMIT: QUIESCENCE, ERUPTIONS AND CONSTANT CHANGE is the headline for this week's Volcano Watch, written by USGS scientists and affiliates:
     May 3rd, 2023, marked the fifth anniversary of the start of Kīlauea’s historic 2018 eruption that resulted in extensive lava flows from the East Rift Zone and major collapses of the summit caldera floor. Since that 2018 activity, Kīlauea has experienced nearly constant change with distinct episodes of calm, unrest, eruptions, and everything in between.
    When we think about volcanoes, we often first think of eruptions and lava. However, there is more to volcanoes than alluring molten rock appearing at Earth’s surface. Even when a volcano isn’t actively erupting lava, it is often still changing shape and deforming. These movements cause the Earth’s surface to change, which scientists call “ground” or “surface deformation.”
Kīlauea summit tiltmeter data (top) and summit GPS daily vertical position data (bottom) shown for the time period
Jan. 1, 2020, to May 15, 2023. Summit intrusion and eruption onsets are marked with thin vertical lines and labels.
Increased positions and positive slopes in these plots are interpreted as inflation at Kīlauea’s summit. USGS plots.

    Measuring surface deformation is one of the main ways that scientists at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) monitor activity at Hawaiian volcanoes. If the ground surface surrounding a volcano is moving upwards (towards the sky), the volcano is inflating and expanding. If the surface is moving downwards (towards the center of the Earth), it is interpreted that the volcano is deflating.
    Surface deformation on the Island of Hawaiʻi is measured primarily with three techniques: tiltmeters, GPS (Global Positioning System), and satellite InSAR (Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar). These measurements give scientists clues about how ground motion is related to magma movement below the surface of a volcano and what could potentially come next. Rapid changes in the rate of deformation often precede or accompany new eruptive activity.
    At Kīlauea volcano, we are used to constant deformation and change. Following the large lower East Rift Zone eruption from May–August 2018, Kīlauea began a period of calm during which HVO’s deformation instruments measured almost no significant surface movements. Then in March 2019, tiltmeters and GPS instruments started to measure uplift once again, indicating inflation of the summit.
    That inflation continued relatively steadily until December 2, 2020, when there was an abrupt and rapid increase in uplift rates (approximately 15 centimeters or 6 inches of uplift over a couple of days), which were interpreted to be the result of a magma intrusion into the shallow reservoir of magma beneath Halemaʻumaʻu crater.
     On the night of December 20, 2020, Halemaʻumaʻu started erupting lava again and the water lake in the crater boiled away. The onset of this eruption was immediately followed by over 20 centimeters or 8 inches of downward motion at the summit within a day or two of lava appearing at the surface.
HVO scientists conducted a routine Kīlauea summit monitoring overflight during
the morning of May 3, 2023. During the overflight, the helicopter flies around
Halema‘uma‘u several times, and scientists take both regular pictures and infrared
images that tell us about the temperatures on the crater floor. These images are used
to create maps of the crater. USGS image by K. Mulliken
    Only a few weeks after lava returned to Halemaʻumaʻu, Kīlauea began to inflate again, and the ongoing uplift at the summit continued. Though the December 2020 eruption eventually ended in May 2021, the summit maintained steady inflation from Jan. 2020 until Sept. 29, 2021, which marked the onset of the next eruption at Halemaʻumaʻu. As with the December 2020 eruption, significant deflation also followed the start of the September 2021 eruption.
After this initial, drastic deflation at the end of September 2021, the summit of Kīlauea remained steady and didn’t significantly deform—despite an ongoing eruption—until early summer of 2022, when it started to steadily inflate once again. The Sept. 29, 2021, eruption eventually ended on Dec. 9, 2022, even as inflation continued. This inflation ultimately led to the Jan. 5, 2023, eruption, which later ended around March 7, 2023.
     The past five years have been dynamic at Kīlauea’s summit, with inflation, intrusions, eruptions, and deflation. Currently, overall rates of surface deformation show moderate inflation at Kīlauea’s summit and there is no active eruption. Though Kīlauea is quiet on the surface, it can be easy to forget that Kīlauea is still deforming—which means magma is coming into the system—and that activity can change very quickly. Rest assured that a team of scientists at HVO are constantly monitoring all our Hawaiian volcanoes, looking for real-time changes in deformation—or any other signal—that may suggest an impending eruption.