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Wednesday, July 03, 2024

Kaʻū News Briefs July 3, 2024

When USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory HVO geologists recently moved temporary webcams, they revisited the site of the June 3 eruption. This photo looks downrift, with the June 3 pad of lava in the upper right. Extensive cracking uprift of the fissure had weak residual outgassing and vibrant sulfur deposits. USGS Photo by M. Patrick
OPPORTUNITIES IN DIVERSIFYING THE ECONOMY is the subject of a new University of Hawai'i Economic Research Organization study. It points to water transportation, aquaculture, fishing and other water related enterprise as having large potential while being "underperforming" in Hawai'i. It notes that the study "reflects in part what is already known to Kanaka Maoli, given Hawaiʻi’s history of Polynesian ocean-faring and fishponds."
    Suggestions include boat building, finfish farming and hatcheries, seafood preparation and packaging,
Boatbuilding is a suggestion in the new study on diversifying
 the economy from U.H. Economic Research Organization.
This wa'a kalua, double hulled canoe was crafted by Kaʻū 
boatbuilder Kiko Johnston-Kitazawa.
finfish fishing and shellfish fishing. "These all seem logical diversification options given Hawaiʻi’s location in the Pacific Ocean providing the necessary natural resource. Industries are also more likely to remain in the long term if they rely on local resources."
    The report written by Steve Bond-Smith and Sumit Ilamkar, of UHERO, says, "The economy of Hawaiʻi is extraordinarily concentrated in the tourism industry. As a result of tourism’s dominance, Hawaiʻi’s economy faces short-term risks from shocks that impact visitor numbers and long-term stagnation from flat and volatile tourism spending over the last three decades. In response to these issues—which became especially salient during the COVID-19 pandemic—policymakers in Hawaiʻi increasingly emphasize the need to diversify. Still, it is not clear which industries Hawaiʻi could diversify into.
    The study posed three questions and provides the following analyses:
    What is the case for diversifying the Hawaiʻi economy? Specializing is natural for a small open economy. Small and isolated economies are less able to access the productivity benefits of external increasing returns to scale. External increasing returns describe how the productivity of firms can increase with the size of something external to the firm such as a market, city, or industry. Small, open, and isolated places tend to become more specialized because it creates a local external scale—the scale of their industry specialization—that offers similar productivity advantages. Specialization initially generates growth due to external scale economies. But if various developmental barriers have prevented some industries from emerging, then Hawai‘i could be over-specialized. Specialization generates both short and long-term risks due to greater exposure to a single industry.
    With this theoretical basis, we show how Hawaiʻi initially benefited from specializing in the tourism industry and how this specialization now exposes Hawaiʻi to short and long-term risks. These risks are especially apparent when we examine how total visitor spending has been relatively flat for decades, punctured by periodic crises. In this way, diversification is not an end in itself but aims to build a more resilient economy that is less exposed to the short- and long-term risks that to some extent can be expected in a small and open economy like Hawai‘i.
    What are the opportunities for diversifying Hawai’i’s economy? To find diversification opportunities we apply the Principle of Relatedness (Hidalgo et. al., 2018), which predicts regional diversification patterns and informs prioritization of economic development initiatives. We studied the industrial composition of all counties in the US to measure relatedness between industries. Two industries are described as related because they probably require similar conditions if they appear together frequently. With this understanding of the relationships between industries in US counties, we examine the industrial composition of Hawaiʻi’s counties to identify underperforming industries with a higher probability of being stronger because they are related to existing strengths.
     See a summary and the complete report at https://uhero.hawaii.edu/potential-opportunities-to-diversify-the-economy-of-hawai%ca%bbi/

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WILDLAND FIREFIGHTERS FROM HAWAI'I VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK are on the mainland assisting with structure protection efforts during the #PioneerFire. The Park notes that careers in the
National Park Service wildland fire "can take you to national parks across the country! From battlefields in the Northeast, the prairies of the Midwest, the forests of the Rocky Mountains, and to the wilderness of Alaska, we're recruiting future leaders that will shape wildland fire management, face the threats of climate change, refine policy, and maintain a safe and healthy environment for our workforce."
    Learn more about wildland fire careers in the National Park Service at: https://go.nps.gov/wfcareers.
Looking for a career in wildland fire? Apply today https://wlf-nps.usajobs.gov/

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CRUISING CHAIN OF CRATERS ROAD: RECENT EARTHQUAKES AND PAST VOLCANISM IS THE subject of this week's Volcano Watch from USGS Hawai'i Vocanoes Observatory scientists and affilates:
    The upper East Rift Zone of Kīlauea was a shaky place this past weekend. This region extends southeast from Kaluapele (Kīlauea's summit caldera) to Maunaulu, and earthquakes here can reflect pressurization of Kīlauea's summit magma storage system.
Between June 27 and July 1, the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) detected nearly 1,500 earthquakes beneath the UERZ. Activity peaked during the late evening of Saturday, June 29, when more than 30 earthquakes happened per hour. Activity slowly decreased on Sunday and returned to pre-swarm levels on Monday, July 1.
Color map showing distribution of volcanic features

    Most earthquakes in this swarm were smaller than magnitude-2, but there were several large enough to be felt by neighboring communities, including five earthquakes magnitude-3 or higher. The earthquakes stayed at depths of 1–4 km (0.6–2.5 mi) below the ground surface and were not accompanied by any significant changes in ground deformation.
    Although the earthquakes were located beneath the UERZ, there were no indications that magma was moving toward the surface to possibly erupt in this area. This swarm was likely related to the buildup of pressure beneath Kīlauea's summit, as magma accumulates in underground storage system. Similar seismic swarms beneath the UERZ were observed earlier this year, in April and May, when magma was accumulating and pressurizing the summit before the last eruption on June 3. In those cases, seismic unrest moved away from the UERZ and became focused at other locations south of Kaluapele and toward the Southwest Rift Zone prior to that eruption.
    However, eruptions have occurred along the UERZ in the past. There have been approximately 50 intrusions and 5 eruptions in the UERZ over the past 60 years; the most recent eruption was 45 years ago.
    Luamanu Crater is first, and here you are still technically in Kīlauea caldera, marked by outer faults that parallel the modern topographic extent of Kaluapele. At this location, you also drive past lava flows that erupted over three days in July of 1974. This eruption began in Keanakākoʻi Crater, and vents extended northwest into the modern caldera and southeast to Luamanu Crater; lava flows covered the eastern part of the modern caldera floor and traveled to the southeast, covering part of Chain of Craters Road. As you continue driving, you pass Puhimau, Koʻokoʻolau, Devil's Throat, Hiʻiaka, and Pauahi craters. 
Color photograph of a sign marking where lava flows crossed a road
Location where the May 1973 lava flows on Kīlauea's upper East Rift Zone cross Chain of Craters Road in Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park. USGS image by K. Mulliken.
    Based on the age of the surrounding lava flows, we know that these craters formed within the past 750 years. In each case, void space beneath the ground surface resulted in a crater forming by collapse. Between Puhimau and Koʻokoʻolau craters, you'll drive through a large area where rising steam and broomsedge grass contrasts with the surrounding ʻŌhiʻa forest. This is the Puhimau thermal area. In the 1930s, earthquake swarms occurred, the ground cracked, and vegetation began to die. Since then, the soil has remained hot and the area has grown to about 50 acres (0.2 sq km). Geophysical studies show that magma is present just a few hundred meters (around 1,000 ft) beneath the ground surface. Near Hiʻiaka crater, you'll drive through lava flows from a 7-hour eruption in May 1973. Shortly after, you'll drive through the youngest UERZ lava flows that erupted over a day in November 1979 in and near Pauahi Crater. Other eruptions in this area were in November 1973 (29 days long) and August 1968 (5 days long).
From there, the rift zone turns east toward the cape of Kumukahi (the Island of Hawaiʻi's easternmost point). Now, the prominent Maunaulu lava shield will be visible as Chain of Craters Road passes through Maunaulu lava flows. Maunaulu was active from 1969–1971 and, after a three and a half month pause, from 1972–1974.
    The recent UERZ earthquake swarm was likely related to increasing pressurization of the magmatic system underlying Kīlauea summit, but we know based on our drive down Chain of Craters Road that magma does sometimes erupt in this area. Kīlauea's summit continues to inflate following the brief June 3 eruption and HVO will continue to closely monitor for signs of change.
Volcano Activity Updates
    Kīlauea is not erupting. Its USGS Volcano Alert level is ADVISORY.
    Over the past week, more than 1,600 events occurred beneath Kīlauea's summit region and extending southeast into the upper East Rift Zone. Most events were smaller than M2 and occurred during the June 27-July 1 swarm beneath the upper East Rift Zone. Inflationary ground deformation has continued in the
summit region following the June 3 eruption, indicating that magma is repressurizing the storage system. Unrest may continue to wax and wane with changes to the input of magma.
    Currently, there are no signs of an imminent eruption, but changes can occur quickly, as can the potential for eruption. The most recent summit sulfur dioxide emission rate measured was approximately 75 tonnes per day on June 28, 2024. Mauna Loa is not erupting. Its USGS Volcano Alert Level is at NORMAL.
    Six earthquakes were reported felt in the Hawaiian Islands during the past week: a M2.9 earthquake 6 km (3.7 mi) SSE of Volcano at 1.5 km (1 mi) depth on July 1 at 5:39 a.m. HST, a M3.2 earthquake 6 km (3 mi) S of Volcano at 0 km (0 mi) depth on June 30 at 3:31 p.m. HST, a M3.0 earthquake 7 km (4 mi) S of Volcano at 1 km (0.5 mi) depth on June 29 at 11:27 p.m. HST, a M2.7 earthquake 7 km (7 mi) S of Volcano at 2 km (1 mi) depth on June 29 at 8:55 p.m. HST, a M3.4 earthquake 6 km (4 mi) S of Volcano at 2 km (1 mi) depth on June 27 at 3:35 p.m. HST, and a M2.9 earthquake 6 km (4 mi) SSW of Volcano at 2 km (1 mi) depth on June 27 at 3:32 p.m. HST.

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POLICE ARRESTED 17 FOR DUI ON HAWAI'I ISLAND duuring the week of June 24 through June 30, 2024. Hawai‘i Island police arrested them for driving under the influence of an intoxicant. Five of the
drivers were involved in a traffic accident.
    So far this year, there have been 484 DUI arrests compared with 493 during the same period last year, a decrease of 1.83 percent.
    Hawai‘i Police Department’s Traffic Services Section reviewed all updated crashes and found 498 major crashes so far this year, compared with 429 during the same time last year, an increase of 16.08 percent.
    To date, there have been 18 fatal crashes, resulting in 20 fatalities (two of which had multiple deaths and one crash was reclassified as a suicide), compared with nine fatal crashes, resulting in 10 fatalities (one of which had multiple deaths, and one died at a later date) for the same time last year. This represents an increase of 100 percent for fatal crashes and 100 percent for fatalities.
    In 2024, the non-traffic fatality count (not on a public roadway) is zero compared to zero non-traffic fatalities for the same time last year.
   HPD promises that DUI roadblocks and patrols will continue island wide.

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