About The Kaʻū Calendar

Thursday, February 08, 2024

Kaʻū News Briefs Feb. 8, 2024

Hawai‘i Supreme Court Building Ali‘iolani Hale, where Justices on Wednesday ruled unanimously to push back on recent
federal interpretations loosening gun laws. Hawai‘i Justices ruled to protect state gun licensing. Photo from HPR

HAWAI‘I SUPREME COURT UPHELD GUN LAWS THAT BAN FIREARMS IN PUBLIC WITHOUT A LICENSE. The five -zero ruling on Wednesday also took issue with the U.S. Supreme Court's recent interpretations that make it easier to carry weapons across the country.
    Hawai‘i Attorney General Anne Lopez praised the Hawaiʻi Supreme Court for its decision to uphold the constitutionality of state “place to keep” firearms laws, which generally prohibit carrying a firearm in public without a license. The case focused on the Hawai‘i Constitution's wording that says, "A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." The Hawai‘i judges ruled that keeping and bearing arms does not prohibit the
The statue of King Kamehameha stands outside the
Hawai‘i Supreme Court building. Photo from Wikipedia
state from requiring licensing.
    Their unanimous opinion, in State v. Wilson, reaffirmed that under the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, “States retain the authority to require that individuals have a license before carrying firearms in public.” The opinion noted that the Hawai‘i Constitution nearly mirrors the U.S. Constitution, but took issue with the U.S. Supreme Court's 2022 decision to loosen gun laws. In that decision, the U.S. Supreme Court wrote that restrictions must be "consistent with this nation's historical tradition of firearm regulation," pointing to a time of active militias defending communities, a time before automatic and other more lethal weapons were developed.
    Justice Todd Eddins, who wrote the decision for the Hawai‘i Supreme Court, said that "Time-traveling to 1791 or 1868 to collar how a state regulates lethal weapons – per the Constitution's democratic design - is a dangerous way to look at the federal constitution. The Constitution is not a 'suicide pact.'"
    He also pointed out that since the defendant in this litigation “made no attempt to get a license, he cannot claim the law’s application procedures are unconstitutional as applied to him.”
    Hawaiʻi Supreme Court also rejected the notion that the Hawaiʻi Constitution independently bars the state of Hawaiʻi from enacting and enforcing gun safety legislation. The ruling states that “the Hawaiʻi Constitution does not afford a right to carry firearms in public places for self defense.” The court noted that the words of the Hawaiʻi Constitution confer a right to “keep and bear arms” in the context of a “well-regulated militia.” This language—read in light of Hawaiʻi’s long history of protective firearms laws—excludes an individual right to carry deadly weapons in public under the Hawaiʻi Constitution.
    “This is a landmark decision that affirms the constitutionality of crucial gun-safety legislation,” said the Hawai‘i Attorney General. “Gun violence is a serious problem, and commonsense tools like licensing and registration have an important role to play in addressing that problem. More broadly, Justice Eddins’ thoughtful and scholarly opinion for the court provides an important reminder about the crucial role that state courts play in our federal system.”
    “We congratulate our friends and partners at the Department of the Prosecuting Attorney for the County of Maui for their work on this important case,” said the Hawai‘i AG.
    The case is State of Hawaiʻi v. Wilson, SCAP-22-0000561. A copy of the Hawaiʻi Supreme Court opinion can be found at https://www.courts.state.hi.us/wp-content/uploads/2024/02/SCAP-22-0000561.pdf

USGS reports that some new cracks in the Ka‘ū Desert are over 100 feet (30 meters) long. Note the person for scale
 in the right upper portion of the photo. USGS photo by N. Deligne

CRACKS OVER 100 FEET LONG HAVE OPENED UP IN THE KAʻŪ DESERT, according to USGS scientists who visited the area along the Maunaiki Trail last Saturday, Feb. 3. This week's Volcano Watch column reports that a team of Hawaiian Volcano Observatory scientists "documented new ground cracks in three areas of the Maunaiki Trail in the Ka‘ū Desert, caused by the intrusion southwest of Kīlauea's summit caldera." They said the cracks cut through loose Keanakāko‘i tephra which blanketed the region in 1790 CE during an eruption 234 years ago. Maunaiki also erupted in 1919, lasting into early 1920. Another nearby eruption in the Southwest Rift Zone occurred in 1974.
    The weekly article by HVO scientists and affiliates continues:
    Last week, USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory scientists were closely monitoring earthquakes and ground deformation in the region southwest of Kīlauea’s summit. The increased unrest prompted HVO to raise the Alert Level/Aviation Color Code for Kīlauea to WATCH/ORANGE on January 31 as another intrusive event began beneath the surface.
This map shows recent unrest at Kīlauea volcano. Yellow circles mark earthquake locations from January 31, 2024, through February 3, 2024, as recorded by HVO seismometers. Colored fringes denote areas of ground deformation over a one-day timeframe from 6 p.m. HST on January 31 through 6 p.m. HST on February 1, 2024. More fringes indicate more deformation. The complex patterns indicate overall deflation of the summit area as magma moved underground to the southwest, where the patterns show uplift and spreading (along with subsidence) due to intrusion of a dike (a vertical sheet of magma). USGS map

    Intrusions are when magma breaks rock to create new pathways within the ground. As magma moves beneath the surface into its new space, the ground above it deforms to accommodate the new material. HVO detects intrusions through earthquake locations (which occur where rocks break) and changes in the ground surface, known as deformation (which can be recorded using tiltmeters, GPS, and satellite-based methods).
    Earthquake swarms south of Kīlauea caldera began over the weekend, on January 27. This activity was not surprising, as intermittent earthquake swarms have been occurring in the south caldera since October 2023, and there is a known body of magma in this area.
Hand-colored image of the Maunaiki Eruption taken on May 17, 1920in the 
Ka‘ū DesertPhoto by Ihei Morihiro, gifted to USGS by Roger Meyers 
  On January 31, however, earthquake activity significantly increased, with over 700 earthquakes detected throughout the day. The number of actual earthquakes was likely much greater, as many of the smallest earthquakes went undetected in the intense swarm of activity.
    Coincident with the increased earthquake activity, tiltmeters at Uēkahuna bluff (the summit of Kīlauea) and Sand Hill (southwest of the caldera) began to show changes to the ground surface. Starting just before 4:30 a.m. HST in the morning, the tiltmeters began to show highly variable directions and rates, indicative of crack growth that can precede either an eruption or intrusion. The increased earthquake activity and complex tilt patterns prompted HVO to raise the Alert Level/Aviation Color Code for Kīlauea to WATCH/ORANGE at 4:41 a.m. HST.
    HVO seismologists were analyzing earthquake locations in real-time. Earthquakes beneath Halema‘uma‘u might signal the potential for an eruption there (as occurred in the hours before recent
Upper small flow from the Maunaiki eruption, looking up the crack line on Dec. 22, 1919 in the Ka‘ū Desert between
 Pāhala and Volcano. Photo by R. Finch/USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.

eruptions in Halema‘uma‘u). HVO geologists and volcanic gas specialists poised themselves on the rim of Kīlauea caldera, ready to collect data in the event of a new eruption.
    However, earthquake locations instead migrated farther to the southwest, along the Koa‘e fault system. By the evening, the tiltmeters showed a more consistent deflationary signal. Together, the two monitoring datasets indicated that magma had opened a new pathway and was moving from the storage system below Kīlauea summit to the southwest.    
Two driblet spires during Maunaiki eruption in the Ka‘ū Desert, showing one
 that is split, on Dec. 22, 1919. USGS photo by R. Flinch
    These observations were confirmed later with satellite-based InSAR data, which showed that between 6 p.m. HST on January 31 through 6 p.m. HST on February 1, 2024, Kīlauea’s summit area deflated as the region southwest uplifted (up to about 50 centimeters, or 20 inches) and spread apart. In the center of the uplifted area, a narrow band of subsidence marks where the dike (a vertical sheet of magma) intruded, with a small section of ground dropping to accommodate lateral spreading.
    On February 2, the number of earthquakes began to decrease, along with ground deformation rates. On the morning of February 3, HVO lowered the Alert Level/Aviation Color Code for Kīlauea back down to ADVISORY/WATCH.
    While there have been several intrusions in the south caldera region of Kīlauea recently—in December and October 2023, 2021, and 2015—the recent intrusion extended farther southwest, towards Pu‘ukoa‘e and the Kamakai‘a Hills on the Southwest Rift Zone of Kīlauea. As a result of the intrusion, surface cracks, extending tens of meters in length and centimeters (inches) in width, formed in loose Keanakāko‘i
tephra along the Maunaiki trail near Twin Pit Craters in the Kaʻū Desert of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park.
Crack shows through the veneer of sand during Maunaiki eruption,
below upper small flow on Dec. 22, 1919 in the Ka‘ū Desert
USGS photo by R. Finch
    The south caldera area and Koa‘e fault system are informal names for specific geographic areas that we see on the surface of Kīlauea, but they extend into the subsurface. There is a well-known magma body beneath the south caldera region (the largest magma storage region of Kīlauea) and the Koa‘e faults are structural features related to Kīlauea’s south flank. How these features are connected beneath the surface, to each other, and to the Southwest Rift Zone of Kīlauea is not well understood.
    Intrusions are a common process that volcanoes around the world experience, akin to a pressure-release valve for the magma reservoir. Although there hasn’t been an eruption at Kīlauea since September 2023, the recent intrusion shows us that the volcano has been very busy beneath the surface.
Maunaiki Eruption, December 22, 2019, in the Ka‘ū Desert:  Upper
slag heap beginning, taken from the east. USGS photo by R. Finch

Volcano Activity Updates: Kīlauea is not erupting. Its USGS Volcano Alert level is ADVISORY.
Seismicity at Kīlauea's summit and along the Koa‘e fault system southwest of the caldera continues to decrease following an intrusion of magma into the area that occurred January 31-February 1, 2024. Tiltmeters near Sand Hill and Uēkahuna bluff have recorded little change over the past week, both show mild deflationary trends. Periods of increased earthquake activity and rates of ground deformation can be expected to continue in this region. No unusual activity has been noted along the rift zones.
    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.
    One earthquake was reported felt in the Hawaiian Islands during the past week: a M3.6 earthquake 11 km (6 mi) E of Pāhala at 1 km (1 mi) depth on Feb. 2 at 8:33 p.m. HST.

Maunaiki Eruption, Jan. 1, 1920: Paheohoe torrent pouring southwest toward distant Kamakaiʻa Hills, showing terrace formation and downslumping of escarpments along the rift. A cascade is pouring over one of the terraces. The ejection of this long lava flow caused an amphitheater circular in plan to slump in the crest of the low dome already formed in the Ka‘ū Desert.
USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory photo by Thomas Jaggar

WITH SUPER BOWL LVIII TAKING PLACE THIS SUNDAY, Feb. 11, the Hawai‘i Police Department has teamed up with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to remind Big Island football fans that Fans Don’t Let Fans Drive Drunk.
    HPD advises, "Whether you’re hosting a Super Bowl viewing party or attending one, everyone has an important job to do: help keep drunk drivers off the road so everyone can make it home safely on game day.
  “We take care of each other and our ohana on the Big Island, so if you’re planning on having a Superbowl party, please make a game plan to help your guests get home safely,” says Torey Keltner, HPD’s Traffic Services Section Program Manager.
    “Sadly, five people have died in just the past six weeks in traffic crashes across the island and 98 motorists have been arrested for DUI,” said Keltner. Nationally, one person is killed every 39 minutes in a drunk-driving crash on our nation’s roads. The rate of alcohol impairment among drivers involved in fatal crashes is nearly twice as high at night than during the day.
    He recommends, "Have a Game Plan. This year get ahead of the game and create your game plan now. If you’re going to a Super Bowl party and you plan to drink alcohol, make sure you plan for a designated driver to get you home safely.
    "If you’re hosting a party, prepare plenty of non-alcoholic drink options and food for your guests.
If you’re a designated driver, be the night’s MVP and keep that commitment front and center. Another important reminder: Never serve alcohol to minors. If an underage person drinks and drives, the person who provided the alcohol can be held liable for any damage, injury, or death caused by the underage driver."
   HPD states that Hawai‘i Island police will be out in force throughout Superbowl weekend.
    “HPD Officers are already preparing for additional DUI roadblocks and DUI patrols this weekend,” said Keltner. “The bottom line is that we want everyone to be safe. For Super Bowl LVIII, be a team player and remember: Fans Don’t Let Fans Drive Drunk.”

The Kaʻū Calendar newspaper, 5,000 in the mail. 2,500 on the streets.

See https://apply.mykaleidoscope.com/scholarships/CUHawaiiMorePossibilities2024