Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka‘ū News Briefs Friday, May 25, 2018

The U.S. Army, Hawaiʻi National Guard and other military units are on hand near the lava and at their airstrip 
in Hilo to help evacuate residents by Marine helicopters when needed. Photo by Daryl Lee/Big Island Video News
EIGHTY-TWO STRUCTURES DESTROYED is the total in lower Puna, reported by Hawaiʻi News Now today, as fast moving pāhoehoe takes over more of Leilani Estates with fountaining, lava lakes, and lava flows heading into the ocean 3 miles downslope. Hawaiian Volcano Observatory reported lava coming from fissures at 60 cubic feet per second. With 2,200 acres covered by lava in 22 days, more than 2,000 people have evacuated their homes in lower Puna.
     The U.S. Marine Corps is standing by to help evacuate more with Super Stallion helicopters. They would be needed if the lava keeps coming, blocks off remaining escape routes, and puts people in danger.
     Brig. General Richard Hara said today that the addition of the Marines "provides the County of Hawaiʻi and Hawaiʻi’s Joint Task Force-50 tremendous capability. We now have the capacity to evacuate all of the estimated population of lower Puna south of the lava flow within a few hours.”
     The helicopters are able to lift 33,000 pounds, carrying 43 passengers at a time. The helicopters would be used should lava cross Hwy 130 and cut off access to residents in Kalapana and other lower Puna communites. Civil Defense reports that portions of Highway 130 have widening cracks, are hot from below, and there is steam in some areas.
Lava fountains built a small spatter cone where lava spilled out onto the surface and flowed
into a small pond left of the cone this morning. USGS photo
     In Leilani Estates, where lava is very active, Hawai`i County Fire Department went door to door today to make sure the last residents were evacuated as lava took houses in the neighborhoods of Kaupili, Mohala, and Kahukai Streets. Civil Defense issued the warning at  saying Fissures 7 and 21 are “feeding a perched lava pond and pāhoehoe flow heading east.”
      At Civil Defense stated Mohala Street is no longer accessible due to the flow that has crossed Kahukai Street. Civil Defense recomended: “Talk to your families now about the possibility of active eruptions being a long-term event and how you might plan for these impacts.”
     During a press conference this morning at , Wendy Stovall of USGS said a “14 meter high lava pond is perched above Pohoiki Road,” but the flow front was not moving rapidly forward. “Things are pretty steady,” said Stovall of the Lower East Rift Zone, stating lava continues to erupt from multiple fissures, with two channels entering the ocean today. Seismicity and deformation remain “steady.”

To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see Facebook. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter. See our online calendars and our latest print edition at kaucalendar.com.

SO2 POOLING DOWNWIND from volcanic emissions is possible this weekend as trade winds are expected to slow down. Civil Defense reports that hazardous air quality and decreased visibility are likely near active volcano fissures and ash explosions, along with decreased visibility and hazardous air quality, with pooling of S02 downwind.
     A 4.0 earthquake at Kīlauea summit at 12:44 p.m. signaled more quakes and ash plumes to come.
Numerous other quakes above 3.0 continued to shake the Volcano community.
     Ash masks will be distributed at Pāhala Community Center, Nāʻālehu Community Center, Ocean View Community Center, Cooper Center in Volcano, and Shipman Gym in Keaʻau. Distribution will be "while supplies last" today until 7:30 p.m., and Saturday, May 26, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Each person may receive up to three masks.

To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see Facebook. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter. See our online calendars and our latest print edition at kaucalendar.com.

A 4.0 EARTHQUAKE RATTLED VOLCANO at , with a 3.7 quake following at .m. Nearly 200 quakes have occurred at and around Kīlauea summit in the last day. More than 30 of the quakes have been 3.0 or larger, all at less than 5 km deep. Civil Defense states there is no tsunami threat from any of them.
     During today’s press conference at , Wendy Stovall of USGS said seismic rates at the summit are still “high,” with 1.3 meters of subsidence deformation reported today. Ash explosions from Halemaʻumaʻu are occurring “a little bit more than one per day,” she said, with mostly water vapor mixed with some ash being expelled on an almost continual basis. She said many communities downwind are reporting ashfall.
Halemaʻumaʻu today, May 25, at 4:20 p.m. Ash and water vapor are distinctive. USGS photo
     Ashley Sears of NOAA said winds continue to blow southwest, which will direct ash to the communities that are downwind, such as Pāhala, Nāʻālehu, Ocean View, and more.
     Jessica Ferracane of Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park said she went to the summit today, where she experienced lots of small quakes which were “very unsettling.” She said the air is “quite chewy” from ash, and that SO2 is not showing up much on the monitoring.
     Ferracane addressed the ongoing two-thirds park closure, saying the closure will continue “until USGS - and Pele - tell us it is safe to reopen.”

To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see Facebook. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter. See our online calendars and our latest print edition at kaucalendar.com.

FREE SOIL AND WATER TESTING FOR THOSE AFFECTED BY VOLCANIC EMISSIONS are offered by University of Hawaiʻi's Cooperative Extension Service. Agent Andrea Kawabta reports: "If you are from the vog affected areas in Puna, Volcano, Pāhala, Ocean View, and are concerned about lead in catchment water and/or heavy metals in soil, the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources will be conducting water and soil testing free of charge. You can submit samples for testing by the UH Agricultural Diagnostic Service Center through any Cooperative Extension Office. Funds are limited for these emergency services."
     Diagnostic tests offered are for: Water for testing of pH (W1) and heavy metals (W4); and soil for testing of pH (S1) and heavy metals (S7). For a list of metals, visit: https://www.ctahr.hawaii.edu/site/downloads/adsc/price_list.pdf
     More information about the affects of VOG on agricultural plants, water systems, and livestock can be found the CTAHR's website at https://cms.ctahr.hawaii.edu/ER.
     For plants and VOG, see https://vog.ivhhn.org/effects-plants. For protecting water systems, see https://vog.ivhhn.org/catchment-systems
     For information about SO2 levels and wind movement, see https://vog.ivhhn.org/catchment-systems. Also see https://vog.ivhhn.org/current-air-quality, and https://vog.ivhhn.org/vog-fact-sheets
     For ash hazards, see https://vog.ivhhn.org/summit-ash-hazards
     For personal protection from VOG, see https://vog.ivhhn.org/health-effects-vog and

To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see Facebook. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter. See our online calendars and our latest print edition at kaucalendar.com.

DANGEROUS “METHANE” EXPLOSIONS from lava covering vegetation is the subject of this week’s Volcano Watch, a weekly article and activity update written by U.S. Geological Survey Hawaiian Volcano Observatory scientists and affiliates:

     Molten lava plus vegetation can create hazardous explosions.

     Numerous hazards are associated with active lava flows, and USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory scientists have written about many of them in past Volcano Watcharticles. However, it’s been a while since one particular hazard - so-called “methane explosions” - has been addressed.

     With lava now advancing through lush vegetation along Kīlauea Volcano’s lower East Rift Zone, these explosions have become a concern. Today’s article draws from a prior Volcano Watch to describe the hazard and to remind folks about its danger.

When molten lava encroaches on grassland, forests, or other vegetated land,
subsurface pockets of natural gas from the burning plant material can ignite,
causing a blast known as a “methane explosion.” To avoid this hazard, keep a
safe distance - at least tens of yards - from the margin of
an active lava flow in vegetated areas. USGS photo
     Here’s the fact: If you approach a lava flow that’s encroaching on vegetation, you risk being greeted by the blast of an explosion.
     Depending on how close you are to the advancing flow, your experience could range from hearing a far-away “boom,” to being thrown several meters (yards) across hard, abrasive lava as the ground beneath you disintegrates. Regardless of where you're standing, the sound of these explosions is a call for your respect!

     As a lava flow enters grassland or forest, all the biomass in the flow's path becomes available for one or both of two processes: combustion and/or pyrolysis. Here is an explaination:
     Lava erupted at Kīlauea is around 1150 degrees Celsius (2100 degrees Fahrenheit) - about four times hotter than your kitchen oven's maximum temperature. Most natural materials on the ground surface, such as grasses and shrubs, are immediately burned up (combusted) as lava covers the area. But the bases of large trees are often encased in lava, charring the outside trunk, but not completely burning the inside.

     When lava advances across the ground, surface vegetation either burns or is buried before it can combust.  Intense heat from the lava flow also radiates downward and slowly “cooks” the buried vegetation or subsurface plant matter (for example, roots).

     The lava temperature is high enough to accelerate chemical breakdown of biomass as it heats or distills the organic compounds (natural gas) from the buried grass, shrubs, ferns,  roots, and other vegetation.

Watch a USGS video of ignited gasses burning from
underneath cracks in Kahukai Street on May 23.
     A similar process - pyrolysis - cooks wood in large, very hot ovens to make charcoal and another fuel byproduct called "producer gas.” Commercially, the flammable producer gas is extracted and burned to generate heat or electricity.

     On Kīlauea, both producer gas and the gas generated by the lava flow consist of a mixture that includes methane, hydrogen, and carbon monoxide.
     Beneath molten lava, the gas mixture from “cooked” biomass invades subsurface passages, such as old lava tubes, and below ground cracks and voids. This natural gas, of which methane is just one component, combines with air in these empty spaces to form combustible gas pockets. Recall from high school science that the right proportions of fuel (such as methane), oxygen (such as air), and heat (such as a match), can make fire.
     When the underground air-fuel mixture is between 5 and 15 volume-percent fuel, a spark - or heat from a lava flow - can ignite it. If ignition occurs in a constricted space, such as an underground void or old lava tube, an explosion might occur.

     This is similar to what happens in a car's engine. As the air-fuel mixture is ignited in the confined space of the engine's cylinders, the energy released ultimately propels the vehicle down the road. Likewise, standing above a subsurface void when it explodes might also propel a person - upward - by the blast.

     Natural gas explosions (often called “methane explosions”) can occur beneath an advancing lava flow, thereby throwing molten rock into the air, or beneath old lava, throwing boulders, up to a yard (several feet) in diameter, skyward. The combustible gas mixture can seep into void spaces tens of meters (yards) from the margin of a lava flow, so it’s important to stay well away from active lava that’s moving through vegetation - especially lush vegetation like that on Kīlauea’s lower East Rift Zone.

Lots of vegetation has now been covered by lava
in the Lower East Rift Zone. USGS photo
     Subsurface natural gas can also seep passively to the surface. With heat from molten lava, methane can burn with blue flames - like those recently observed on and near the current lava flows.

     Countless "methane explosions” have occurred during the past 35-plus years of Kīlauea’s ongoing eruption - and some have resulted in injuries to unwary spectators standing too close to hot lava on vegetated land. But it’s easy to avoid this hazard. Keep a safe distance - and respect any “booms.” They're trying to say something.
     Visit HVO’s website (https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/hvo) for past Volcano Watch articles, Kīlauea daily eruption updates, Mauna Loa weekly updates, volcano photos, maps, recent earthquake info, and more. Call for summary updates at 808-967-8862 (Kīlauea) or 808-967-8866 (Mauna Loa). Email questions to askHVO@usgs.gov.

To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see Facebook. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter. See our online calendars and our latest print edition at kaucalendar.com.

CRUISE SHIPS ARE HEADED FOR KONA BUT NOT HILO, stated Ross Birch of the Hawaiʻi Visitor Bureau today. Birch told press that May 30 is the expected first return of a cruise ship to Kona since the cancellations began, but that Hilo will be avoided for June and July. Cruise lines will continue to assess the situation.
     Birch had some “good news” regarding island economics: May’s tourist arrival numbers are 25 percent higher than they were last year in May. The other side of that information is the year-to-date numbers are lower than 2017, as the first quarter was busier last year.
     Ashley Sears of NOAA told press small businesses can call to inquire about disaster relief loans at 800-659-2955.

See public Ka‘ū events, meetings, entertainment
Print edition of The Ka‘ū Calendar is free to 5,500 mailboxes 
throughout Ka‘ū, from Miloli‘i through Volcano, and free on 
stands throughout the district. Read online at kaucalendar.com.
To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see Facebook. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter. See our online calendars and our latest print edition at kaucalendar.com.

HIDEM's Hawai‘i State Convention, Sat & Sun, May 26 & 27, Hilton Waikoloa. hawaiidemocrats.org

Nature & Culture: An Unseverable Relationship, Sat, May 26, , Kahuku Unit of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Moderate guided hike along the Palm Trail, approx. 2 miles. Learn about native plants that play a vital role in Hawaiian culture, and observe the catastrophic change and restoration of the land as it transitions from the 1868 lava flow to deeper soils with more diversity and older flora. Free. nps.gov/HAVO

Flameworking - An Introductory Class, Sat & Sun, May 26 & 27, 2-5pm, Volcano Art Center. Glasswork using torch or lamp to melt glass. $155/VAC Member, $160/non-Member, plus $40 supply fee/person. Advanced registration required; limited to 4 adults. volcanoartcenter.org, 967-8222

‘Ōhi‘a Lehua, Sun, 27, 9:30-11am, Kahuku Unit of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Learn about vital role of ‘ōhi‘a lehua in native Hawaiian forests, and many forms of ‘ōhi‘a tree and its flower on this free, easy, one-mile walk. nps.gov/HAVO

MAY BE CANCELLED DUE TO PARK CLOSURE: Memorial Day Ceremony, Mon, May 28, , Kīlauea Military Camp front lawn, inside Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Gathering to remember and pay tribute to those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Keynote Speaker: Major Kawika Hosea, Executive Officer of 1-299 Cavalry Regiment, Keaukaha Military Reservation. In case of rain, ceremony will move indoors. Open to authorized KMC patrons and sponsored guests. Park entrance fees apply. 967-8371, kilaueamilitarycamp.com

MAY BE CANCELLED DUE TO PARK CLOSURE: Memorial Day Buffet, Mon, May 28, 4-7pm, Crater Rim Café, Kīlauea Military Campy, inside Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Menu includes BBQ Kalua Pork, Local Styles Fried Chicken with Gravy, Salads and more. $19/Adult, $10/Child (6-11 yrs). Open to authorized KMC patrons and sponsored guests. Park entrance fees apply. 967-8356, kilaueamilitarycamp.com

Ka‘ū Food Pantry, Tue, May 29, , St. Jude's Episcopal Church in Ocean View.

MAY BE CANCELLED DUE TO PARK CLOSURE: Saving Rare Plants from the Brink of Extinction in HVNP, Tue, May 29, 7pm, Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium, Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Park Botanist Sierra McDaniel discusses rare plant management in the park. Free; park entrance fees apply. nps.gov/HAVO

Kōkua Kupuna Project, Wed, May 30, 9-11am, St. Jude's Episcopal Church, Ocean View. Seniors 60 years & older encouraged to attend, ask questions, and inquire about services offered through Legal Aid Society of Hawai‘i - referral required from Hawai‘i County Office of Aging at 961-8626 for free legal services. Under 60, call 1-800-499-4302. More info: tahisha.despontes@legalaidhawaii.org, 329-3910 ext. 925. legalaidhawaii.org

MAY BE CANCELLED DUE TO PARK CLOSURE: Ku‘i Kalo Demonstration, Wed, May 30, 10-noon, Kīlauea Visitor Center lānai, Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Make poi, staple food of traditional Hawaiian diet. Free; park entrance fees apply. nps.gov/HAVO

Summer Learn-To-Swim Registration, Wed & Thu, May 30 & 31, 1-4pm, Pāhala Swimming Pool (Ka‘ū High School Campus). hawaiicounty.gov/pr-aquatics/, 928-8177

VA Medical Services, Thursdays, May 31, 8:30-noon, Ocean View Community Center. 939-7033, ovcahi.org

Summer Learn-To-Swim Registration, Thu, May 31, 1-4pm, Pāhala Swimming Pool (Ka‘ū High School Campus). hawaiicounty.gov/pr-aquatics/, 928-8177

FIFTH ANNUAL HARVEST FESTIVAL FUNDRAISER for The Volcano School of Arts & Sciences happens at Volcano Winery Sunday, September 9. Tickets go on sale August 1 at www.volcanowinery.com or (808) 967-7772. “This event always sells out early!” states the announcement. “Enjoy a festive evening of music, food, and wine under the stars at the Volcano Winery Harvest Festival, a Benefit for The Volcano School of Arts & Sciences on Sunday September 9th. Entertainment by The Young Brothers: Kiliona & Kalei Young, Orlando Smith; delicious food and drink from local restaurants; award-winning wine and tea from the Volcano Winery; and tours of the vineyards.”

To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see Facebook. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter. See our online calendars and our latest print edition at kaucalendar.com.

Park Rangers invite the public to downtown Hilo to learn about the volcanic activity, to get their NPS Passport Book stamped, and to experience the Hawaiian cultural connection to volcanoes. Rangers are providing programs at the Mokupāpapa Discovery Center at 76 Kamehameha Avenue, Tuesday through Saturdays, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free.

Hawai‘i Island Quilting Artists are called to register by Saturday, May 26, for Volcano Art Center's 2nd Bi-Annual Quilt Show: Quilts in the Forest - Where the Path May Lead. Entry forms available online at volcanoartcenter.org/gallery/call-to-artists. Exhibition open Friday, July 13, to Friday, August 3, at Volcano Art Center's Niaulani campus, 19-4074 Old Volcano Road, Volcano Village. Contact Fia Mattice at 967-8222 or quiltshow2018@volcanoartcenter.org.

Sign Up for the Nāʻālehu Independence Day Parade, to be held June 30. If interested, call Debra McIntosh at 929-9872.

Tūtū and Me Offers Home Visits to those with keiki zero to five years old: home visits to aid with helpful parenting tips and strategies, educational resources, and a compassionate listening ear. Home visits are free, last 1.5 hours, two to four times a month, for a total of 12 visits, and snacks are provided. For info and to register, call Linda Bong 464-9634.

St. Jude's Episcopal Church Calls For More Volunteers for the Saturday community outreach. Especially needed are cooks for the soup served to those in need, and organizers for the hot showers. "Volunteering for St. Jude's Saturday Shower and Soup ministry is an opportunity to serve God in a powerful way," states St. Jude's April newsletter. Volunteer by contacting Dave Breskin at 319-8333.

Volcano Forest Runs Registration Open through Friday, August 17, at 6 p.m. Half marathon $85, 10K $45, 5K $30. Registration increases August 1: half marathon to $95, 10K to $55, and 5K to $35. Race is run from Cooper Center on Wright Road in Volcano Village on Saturday, August 18.

5th annual Ka‘ū Coffee Trail Run registration open. Race day Sat, Sept 22, ; begins and ends at Ka‘ū Coffee Mill. Register online before Mon, July 9: 5K, $25/person; 10K, $35/person; and 1/2 Marathon, $45/person. From July 9 to Aug 11: $30/person, $40/person, and $45/person, respectively. From Aug 13 to Sept 20: $35/person, $45/person, and $55/person. Race day registration ends Sat, Sept 22, at  Event organizers, ‘O Ka‘ū Kākou; start location, Ka‘ū Coffee Mill.

To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see Facebook. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter. See our online calendars and our latest print edition at kaucalendar.com.

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