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Friday, February 09, 2024

Kaʻū News Briefs Feb. 9, 2024

USGS reports little damage but very strong shaking during the Magnitude 5.7 earthquake Friday morning.
USGS image
A MAGNITUDE 5.7 EARTHQUAKE on Friday broke through the ongoing flurry of small quakes between Volcano and Punalu‘u that are attributed to many theories, from lava flowing under the ground between the volcanoes Mauna Loa, Kīlauea and the Lo‘ihi Seamount to a potential eruption of Kīlauea in the Kaʻū Desert. This bigger quake, at 10:07 a.m. on Friday, jolted this island and was felt all the way to Kaua'i.
    It is being described by USGS as different than the smaller, shallower ones, but a common quake associated with the big volcanoes, sinking under their own weight. In this case, the quake came from Mauna Loa, according to USGS.
    USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory issued a statement saying, "The earthquake had no apparent impact on either Mauna Loa or Kīlauea volcanoes. Numerous aftershocks have been felt and are expected to continue. This earthquake is likely associated with lithospheric flexure caused by the weight of the Hawaiian Islands on the oceanic lithosphere. The USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory continues to monitor Hawaiian volcanoes for any changes."
     The epicenter was 1.5 miles southwest of Pāhala and 22.9 miles deep. It shook things off shelves and walls
Bill Hanson, of Hawai‘i County Civil Defense, points to the USGS map showing
the epicenter of the M5.7 quake near Pāhala. Photo by Kaʻū High alumnus Tim Wright

in Pāhala, Nā‘ālehu and beyond, inside stores, homes, clinics, the hospital and coffee and macadamia mills and bakeshop. Broken glasses, cups, vases and picture frames were among the losses. The old wooden sugar cane houses in Pāhala and Nā‘ālehu shook loudly.
    Power outages were reported from Nā‘ālehu to Honu‘apo.
    A statement from the County of Hawai‘i called it "a significant earthquake" and noted that there was no tsunami threat to the region. The County also noted that the quake was initially reported as an M6.3, but downgraded to 5.7 on the Richter scale. Its epicenter was also originally placed in the ocean southeast of Nā‘ālehu.
    The County reported minor landslides, resulting in debris on various roadways, saying, "Prompt action has been taken by the Hawaiʻi County Department of Public Works and State Highways teams to clear most of the debris, ensuring the safety and accessibility of affected areas. These teams remain vigilant and proactive, addressing any potential obstructions on roadways as needed."

USGS map of the many quakes in the area.
The County invited residents who experienced damages from the earthquake to declare them via the County of Hawaiʻi Civil Defense website. "The County remains committed to providing regular updates to residents in the event of any significant changes to the current situation."
    Visit https://hawaii-county-civil-defense-agency-hawaiicountygis.hub.arcgis.com/.
    Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park posted a USGS map showing the big quake among many others. The Park reported no damage and that the park remained open. There was a lot of shaking at its Kahuku Unit.

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Mele Mural at Nāālehu Elementary is called Kaʻū Mākaha and was recently completed by students and their partners at the school. Photo from Nāālehu Elementary Principal Wilma Roddy

A MELE MURAL IS THE NEW BIG ART AT NĀ‘ĀLEHU ELEMENTARY SCHOOL The large-scale artwork is named Kaʻū Mākaha and is one in a "mural series that deepens connection to place through Hawaiian culture, mele, mindfulness meditation, and big art!" according to the project's Instagram. It was painted by the Nā‘ālehu Mele Murals Core Hui, Nainoa Rosehill, Angela Natrasevschi, and her students Pualilia Duboit and the organization Estria.
    Estria Foundation creates art in public with assistance from artists, youth, educators, and activists. "Our goal is to raise awareness and inspire action in the movement to resolve human and environmental issues while educating and developing youth," says its website at melemurals.org. The Estria Foundation was founded in 2010 by mural artist Todd “Estria” Johnson and technologist Jeremy LaTrasse. Their aim is to "raise the social consciousness on human and environmental issues through public art projects, education, and community events across the globe." Another local mural project at Estria is at Mountain View.
During the Nā‘ālehu Elementary production, family and friends of the students were invited to help with the painting, pai‘ena pena, including outlining the mural images.
     The signage for the mural gives mahalo to Ke Akua, Nā Akua, Nā Aumākua, Nā Kupuna, Principal Wilma Roddy, Cas Stacey Bello, ‘Iwalani Harris, Ulu Makuakane, Corina Adams, Jessica Lorenzo, ‘Aliohilani Housman, staff of Nā‘ālehu Elementary School, Estria and Nā Kia‘i O Kaʻū.
Students, sponsors and leaders of the Mele Mural project revealed their finished work at
Nāʻālehu Elementary School. Photo from Nāʻālehu Elementary Principal Wilma Roddy

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