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Friday, December 22, 2023

Kaʻū News Briefs December 22, 2023

Wisdom, at 73, is known as the oldest egg laying bird in the world. She is back on Midway, courting again.
Photo from Friends of Midway Atoll

WISDOM, THE MŌLĪ, LAYSAN ALBATROSS, often called the eldest egg laying bird in the world, is at least 73-years-old, and has arrived for the mating season on Kuaihilani, Midway Atoll in the northern Hawaiian Islands.
    U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Supervisory Wildlife Biologist Jon Plissner said she was spotted on Midway, doing all the synchronized dance moves with a handsome mōlī! Click here for the most recent video of Wisdom on Friends of Midway Atoll YouTube page at https://friendsofmidway.us6.list-manage.com/track/click?u=b8cabfa570ef39a5d368d3c15&id=648a661c48&e=50f5b9353a.
Midway Atoll. Photo by John Brack

HAWAI'I COUNTY LEADS THE STATE IN BUILDING NEW HOMES. According to data from University of Hawai'i Economic Research Organization, Hawai'i County leads in issuing building permits for new single-family residential homes. In the period from January to April 2023, the county granted 930 permits for new single-family homes, surpassing Honolulu with 303, Maui with 235, and Kaua'i with 185 permits during the same timeframe. From 2019 to April2023, Hawai's County issued a total of 3,884 permits for single-family homes, outpacing Honolulu (3,181), Maui (1,969), and Kauaʻi (873) over the 5-year period."We believe wholeheartedly that every local family deserves a place to call home here on Hawai'i Island," said Mayor Mitch Roth. "Our top priority is simplifying the homebuilding process for residents to meet the growing housing demand. We have diligently worked on enhancing our permitting process, addressing issues with our EPIC system, and amending County ordinances to streamline procedures and reduce government oversight safely. Although we haven't reached our goal yet, the data reflects significant progress."
   Prior to the Roth Administration, the County issued 619 building permits for single-family homes in 2019 and 654 in 2020.
    In 2021, after the launch of the County's Electronic Processing and Permitting System (EPIC), the County issued 838 permits, followed by 857 in 2022.
    This year, the County of Hawaiʻi has issued 1,059 new single-family residential permits and counting.
    While the number of single-family building permits is just one aspect of addressing the State's housing shortage, it serves as an important indicator of potential housing inventory that plays a crucial role in accommodating residents amid population growth, said the statement from the county, issued on Friday.

AGRICULTURE will be taught in a spring 2024 Kāpili ʻOihana internship program marketing internship via Kamehameha Schools' Kāpili ʻOihana Program. This 60-hour remote internship will empower Native Hawaiian students through immersive experiences such as marketing Hawaiʻi-grown crops and contributing to sustainable agriculture. To apply, create an IMUA Xchange (IX) profile at https://ksbe-csm.symplicity.com/students and submit resume and cover letter to kenta@eatbreadfruit.com before January 5, 2024.

USDA FARM TO SCHOOL GRANT PROGRAM REQUESTS APPLICANTS. The USDA Patrick Leahy Farm to School Grant Program is designed to help implement farm to school programming to increase access to local food in eligible schools, connect children with agriculture for improved health, and inspire youth to consider careers in agriculture. For more
U.H. AgConnect program is open
for applications.
information and to apply, visit the program's website at https://www.grants.gov/search-results-detail/350548. Applications are due by Jan. 12.

UNIVERSITY OF HAWAI'I AGCONNECT PROJECT is designed to match interns/apprentices with agricultural producers to help them grow their existing businesses or perhaps even take it over one day. This is a Hawai'i Community College 16-week (maximum) non-credit course that can be completed in as little as eight weeks. Apply to be an intern/apprentice or a host. at https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfvqr9stX3gjVEo3xfz9LCTS6MnHIufMG5S3NWqc7fEvC1Jw/viewform .

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A PUPU PLATTER OF EARTHQUAKES is the title of this week's Volcano Watch, written by scientists and affiliates of Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. The column notes that a pūpū platter is an assortment of appetizers commonly served at social gatherings in Hawai'i. 
Seismic hazard for the State of Hawaii based on past earthquakes an...
Seismic hazard across the State of Hawaii based on past earthquakes and corresponding ground shaking. Areas with high seismic hazards depicted with warm colors (red-orange) and relatively low seismic hazards depicted with cool colors (green). Quantitatively, the different colored-areas are defined by the maximum ground-motion acceleration (in percentage of gravity) over the next 50 years that have a 2% chance of exceedance. The southeast part of the Island of Hawai'i has the highest expected ground acceleration (195 percent of gravity) that has a 2% chance of occurrence during a 50-year time period. For source data description, see Klein et al (2001) plus associated published online data.USGS image

    Thousands of earthquakes occur every year in Hawai'i. These earthquakes are monitored by the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) and fall into three main classes: volcanic, tectonic, and mantle.
Volcanic earthquakes are associated with magma moving within, and erupting from, active volcanoes. Tectonic earthquakes are associated with slippage along faults within the volcanoes, and along the décollement which separates the volcanoes from the underlying oceanic crust. Mantle earthquakes are associated with bending of the Earth's crust and upper mantle due to the weight of the islands above.
    During one week in December 2023, Island of Hawaiʻi residents and visitors were treated to an assortment of earthquakes resulting from a variety of different geologic processes, like a pūpū platter of earthquakes!
    The first earthquake in our pūpū platter was a magnitude-5.1 event that occurred on Monday, December 4, 2023, at 5:54 p.m. HST. It was located 9 miles (14 km) southeast of Volcano at a depth of 1 mile (2 km) below sea level. This was a tectonic earthquake related to shallow movement on the pali system of Kīlauea volcano's south flank.  HVO received 1,180 felt reports from around the Island of Hawaiʻi and a handful from Maui, Oʻahu and even Kauaʻi islands. Fortunately, no damage was reported. A magnitude-3.1 aftershock occurred four minutes later.
    A magnitude-4.4 event then occurred on Wednesday, December 6, at 5:17 p.m. HST. It was located 1 mile (2 km) west-northwest of Volcano at a depth of 14 miles (23 km) below sea level. It was likely a mantle earthquake related to flexing of the oceanic crust buried deep below the island. HVO received 383 felt reports for this event.
    A magnitude-3.6 event then occurred on Thursday, December 7, at 7:13 a.m. HST. It was located east of Pāhala at a depth of 20 miles (33 km). The size, location and mechanism indicate that it likely was a mantle earthquake associated with the ongoing Pāhala seismic swarm. This event got 69 felt reports.
    Two days later, two different earthquakes occurred within one minute of each other. A magnitude-3.6 event occurred on Friday, December 8 at 9:21 p.m. HST. It was located 2 miles (3 km) west-southwest of Hōlualoa at a depth of 8 miles (13 km) below sea level. This was likely a tectonic earthquake associated with slippage on a fault within Hualālai volcano. HVO received 464 felt reports, primarily from the Kona side of the Island of Hawaiʻi.
    One minute later, a magnitude-3.4 event occurred 12 miles (19 km) north of Pāhala at a depth of 4 miles (7 km) below sea level. This earthquake was likely a tectonic earthquake associated with slippage on the Ka'ōiki fault system between Kīlauea and Mauna Loa volcanoes on the Island of Hawaiʻi. There were 44 felt reports for this event.
    A magnitude-3.1 event occurred on Monday, December 11 at 3:08 p.m. HST. It was located 13 miles (21 km) southwest of Laupāhoehoe at a depth of 19 miles (31 km) below sea level. It was likely a mantle earthquake related to flexing of the oceanic crust deep below Mauna Kea. This event had 29 felt reports.
Remnants of Volcanic Display
"While Kīlauea volcano is taking a breather, the aftermath of its last eruption on September 10, 2023, continues to captivate us!" says a posting from Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park. "Even without the fiery views, the remnants of this volcanic display are breathtaking. The vivid hues created by the precipitation of native sulfur crystals and the fascinating oxidization around the steaming vents paint a surreal picture of the volcanic landscape. Nature's artistry at its finest! For a deeper dive into the last eruption's details, head to the official park website: 
    In addition to the widely felt tectonic and mantle earthquakes above, more than 400 volcanic earthquakes occurred beneath the summit of Kīlauea from December 4 through 11, with a peak of more than 200 events on December 7. While numerous, these earthquakes were small and not felt. All were below magnitude-3.0 and most were below magnitude-2.0. These events were associated with the intrusion of magma beneath Kīlauea summit.
    This was a fascinating assortment of earthquakes from all around the Island of Hawaiʻi that, within the span of just one week, demonstrated different ways that earthquakes can be generated in Hawaii. As always, HVO encourages you to submit a "Did You Feel It?" report if you feel an earthquake. Your felt reports contribute to earthquake intensity assessments generated by the USGS Earthquake Hazards Program and help us better understand the many processes that generate earthquakes in Hawai'i.
    Volcano Activity Updates: Kīlauea is not erupting. Its USGS Volcano Alert level is ADVISORY.
The unrest associated with the intrusion that began in early October southwest of Kīlauea's summit continues. Earthquake activity in Kīlauea's summit region over the past week remained relatively low. The Uēkahuna tiltmeter—located northwest of the caldera—showed little net tilt over the past week, as did the Sand Hill tiltmeter—located southwest of the caldera. Unrest may continue to wax and wane with changes to the input of magma into the area and eruptive activity could occur in the near future with little or no warning. The most recent sulfur dioxide (SO2) emission rate for the summit—approximately 70 tonnes per day—was measured on December 5.
    Mauna Loa is not erupting. Its USGS Volcano Alert Level is at NORMAL.
    Webcams show no signs of activity on Mauna Loa. Summit seismicity has remained at low levels over the past month. Ground deformation indicates continuing slow inflation as magma replenishes the reservoir system following the 2022 eruption. SO2 emission rates are at background levels.
    Two earthquakes were reported felt in the Hawaiian Islands during the past week: a M2.7 earthquake 2 km (1 mi) SSW of Pāhala at 31 km (19 mi) depth on Dec. 19 at 6:46 a.m. HST and a M3.0 earthquake 21 km (13 mi) SSE of Pāhala at 33 km (20 mi) depth on Dec. 14 at 5:51 p.m. HST.
    HVO continues to closely monitor Kīlauea and Mauna Loa.
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.

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ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT ANNOUNCES HOLIDAY CLOSURES: County of Hawaiʻi Department of Environmental Management Solid Waste Division announces upcoming annual closures of all facilities on the following holidays: Monday, December 25, Christmas Day and Monday, January 1, New Year's Day. "Please kōkua, plan ahead, and refrain from littering outside the transfer station gates."