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Abundance of Silverswords in Bloom at Haleakalā

July 30, 2014
Yellow faced bee pollinating a silversword. Photo courtesy of researcher Paul Krushelnycky

Yellow faced bee pollinating a silversword. Photo courtesy of researcher Paul Krushelnycky

Numerous `āhinahina (silversword plants), found nowhere else on earth, are in bloom at Haleakalā.

Intern Jesse Felts at silversword greenhouse explains the year-long study to visitors. Photo courtesy of NPS

Intern Jesse Felts at silversword greenhouse explains the year-long study to visitors. Photo courtesy of NPS

“Long term residents and park staff say this is one of the best years they’ve seen for flowers up here,” said Superintendent Natalie Gates. “A large silversword can produce several thousand viable seeds, which then must take root in the summit’s harsh environment. We hope neighbors and visitors alike will come enjoy this incredible sight.” She added a reminder that “the easiest thing we can all do to help these threatened plants is to stay on trails so we don’t crush existing roots or new seedlings.”

Silversword partial bloom at summit. Photo courtesy of Polly Angelakis

Silversword partial bloom at summit. Photo courtesy of Polly Angelakis

Visitors will also see the yellow-faced bee pollinating the `āhinahina. This bee, which is only found in Hawai‘i, is the primary pollinator of the silversword. The bee is preyed upon by non-native ants and wasps. Visitors can help protect this bee species from predators by not littering and by picking up trash.

6 foot tall silverswords along Sliding Sands trail. Photo courtesy of Polly Angelakis.

6 foot tall silverswords along Sliding Sands trail. Photo courtesy of Polly Angelakis.

The park is in the final months of a year-long study to determine possible effects of climate change on the Haleakalā `āhinahina. Visitors can stop by greenhouses near Headquarters Visitor Center or Haleakalā Visitor Center to learn more about this research.

Silverswords blooming along Sliding Sands Trail landscape view. Photo courtesy of Polly Angelakis

Silverswords blooming along Sliding Sands Trail landscape view. Photo courtesy of Polly Angelakis

Visitors can see `āhinahina in bloom at the summit, at the Kalahaku Overlook, or on 4-6 mile round trip hikes into the summit basin via the Sliding Sands Trail. Hikers should dress in layers for changing weather conditions, wear sturdy shoes, and bring water, food, and sunscreen. It can take twice as long to hike up and out of the crater as it does to hike in so visitors should plan their trips accordingly.

Silversword pre bloom at the summit. Photo courtesy of Polly Angelakis

Silversword pre bloom at the summit. Photo courtesy of Polly Angelakis

Monday Creature Feature: from “Monster” to Marvelous Moth

July 28, 2014
This post and photos are courtesy of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park Ranger Jay Robinson. We like to call him Papa Pulelehua. 
vampire bat or chrysalis?

Chrysalis of the endemic carnivorous caterpillar, Eupithecia. NPS Photo/Jay Robinson

If you have been following our series of photos of the carnivorous caterpillar from crawling attacker, to her little “crystal-bliss” chrysalis (reminding us of a bat or vampire hanging upside down from a branch), you’ll love to learn that she emerged from dormancy this weekend.
Newly emerged moth

Beautiful baby perfectly disguised on ‘ōhi‘a. NPS Photo/Jay Robinson

She is a  soooo beautiful as an adult moth! With only a 3/4 inch wing span, this tiny endemic moth (Eupithecia orichloris) is only found in Hawai‘i and we love her! True to her hunter childhood as a voracious carnivore that blends in perfectly with her rainforest habitat, she sports a beautiful camouflaged body and wings.
She is now free-flying female in the national park! You go, girl!
where am I?

Now you see me, now you don’t. Impressive camouflage of Eupithecia orichloris. NPS Photo/Jay Robinson

Intrigued? Be sure to see our previous post about this Monstrous Inchworms of the Hawaiian Rainforest for more photos and a video of this same moth’s carnivorous caterpillar stage.

 

Tours and Film Share History of World War II Detention Site at Kīlauea Military Camp

July 25, 2014

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park will offer guided tours of the former World War II detention camp site at Kīlauea Military Camp on Tuesday, July 29, and show the documentary, The Untold Story: Internment of Japanese Americans in Hawai‘i.

The tours and film are free, but park entrance fees apply.

Drawing by George Hoshida

Drawing of the detainment camp at Kilauea Military Camp by George Hoshida, one of the detainees during World War II. Courtesy of the Japanese National Museum.

The one-hour tour is at 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m., and will focus on the Japanese residents of Hawai‘i who were detained at Kīlauea Military Camp during World War II. No registration is required. Meet at the check-in area at Kīlauea Military Camp (KMC), near the flagpole. Park archeologist Dr. Jadelyn Moniz-Nakamura and archive technician Geoff Mowrer will lead the tours. Limited copies of the new National Park Service cultural resources report, A Silent Farewell, will be available.

At 1 p.m., the documentary The Untold Story: Internment of Japanese Americans in Hawai‘i, will be shown at the Lava Lounge, located adjacent to the post office at KMC. That evening, the park will show the film as part of its After Dark in the Park series at 7 p.m. in the Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium. Filmmaker Ryan Kawamoto and Carole Hayashino, president and director of the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i, will present both showings of the documentary.

The Untold Story by Ryan Kawamoto

The Untold Story by Ryan Kawamoto

While the story of the 1942 mass round-up, eviction and imprisonment of Japanese Americans in California, Oregon and Washington has been well documented, very little is known about the Hawai‘i internees and their unique experience during World War II. This is the first full-length documentary to chronicle this untold story in Hawai‘i’s history.

KMC Guard Tower

The bell tower at KMC, later used as a guard tower during WWII. NPS Photo Archives.

1940's- Bulding 34 Crater Rim Cafe Lava Lounge & Post Office in background- US Army Signal Corps Formation

The U.S. Army Signal Corps stand in formation in front of Building 34 at Kilauea Military Camp. Today, the building houses the post office and Lava Lounge. NPS Photo Archives.

Five Restless and Erupting Alaska Volcanoes Keep Scientists Busy

July 25, 2014

Composite false-color Landsat-8 satellite image of Semisopochnoi Island on July 14, 2014, produced by combining the shortwave infrared, near infrared, and visible wavelength data. This color combination enhances the visualization of vegetation, exposed rocks, and snow (light blue). This is a rare, partly cloudy satellite image and some of the volcanic features are indicated. The image does not show evidence of increased surface temperatures in response to the increased number of volcanic earthquakes that began in early June 2014. For information about Ladsat8 see the website: http://landsat.usgs.gov/index.php. (USGS)

The following is this week’s edition of “Volcano Watch” from the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.

Do you want to know which volcanoes in the United States are erupting? Or which volcanoes are showing signs of activity which may lead to an eruption? You can find answers to these questions at the website of the U.S. Geological Survey’s Volcano Hazards Program: http://volcanoes.usgs.gov. The home screen features a map display of current levels of activity for nearly 170 volcanoes with links to more information about them and their current activity.

Better yet, you can sign in at the website for the Volcano Notification Service (VNS) to receive automatic email notifications when there is a change in the level of activity at all U.S. volcanoes or in one or more of the following locations: Alaska, California, the Cascades of Washington and Oregon, Hawaiʻi, Yellowstone, and the Northern Marianas Islands.

The VNS will also send you information statements prepared by scientists for active volcanoes when the level of activity has not changed significantly. You’ll receive regular updates issued daily, weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly, releases about a volcano’s status, changes in monitoring capabilities, potential eruption scenarios, or general commentary about a volcano.

Screenshot from http://volcanoes.usgs.gov/ showing current volcanic activity in the United States and its territories. (USGS)

Screenshot from http://volcanoes.usgs.gov/ taken this morning showing current volcanic activity in the United States and its territories. (USGS)

This service was made possible by the adoption in 2006 of a unified alert-level system by all U.S. volcano observatories, and in 2010 of a central database-driven system for preparing the notifications and sending them via email to key users and stakeholders. The VNS became publicly available in 2012, and there are now about 7,500 subscribers around the world.

In early June, the map showed five volcanoes in Alaska with elevated alert levels indicating eruption or elevated activity—the highest number of volcanoes that scientists of the Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO) had to track closely and issue notifications and warnings at the same time.

Also shown on the map were activity levels for Pagan Volcano in the Northern Marianas Islands and the ongoing eruption of Kīlauea Volcano on the Island of Hawaiʻi.

The most vigorous eruption in early June was occurring at Pavlof Volcano, one of the most frequently active volcanoes in Alaska, located about 1,000 km (620 miles) southwest of Anchorage. Lava fountaining at the summit generated ash plumes as high as 9 km (30,000 ft) above sea level that extended as far as 80-90 km (50-60 miles) downwind. Lava spatter that accumulated near the vent occasionally collapsed to form hot, lava-rock avalanches down the volcano’s ice- and snow-covered north flank, generating steam plumes and meltwater. Spatter-fed lava flows also moved down the north flank.

Composite satellite image of Pavlof Volcano showing the extent of the lava flows on the northeast flank. The base image was collected by the Worldview-2 satellite on May 9, 2014 (prior to the onset of eruptive activity) and is overlain (in color) with a Landsat-8 thermal infrared image collected early in the morning on June 24, 2014. The thermal infrared sensor measured the heat given off by the still-warm lava flow. The length of the longest branch of the lava flow is about 5 km (3 miles). Note that the lava flow appears to have traveled under the ice on the upper flank of the volcano. (USGS)

In mid-June AVO scientists increased the alert level for Semisopochnoi volcano for the first time when they detected an earthquake swarm that started on June 9. Fortunately, the radio telemetry system for seismic stations monitoring the volcano was repaired about two weeks earlier! Earthquake activity remains elevated this week.

Semispochnoi Island consists of many cones and volcanic landforms, including an 8-km-wide caldera (5 miles), located about 2,200 km (1350 miles) southwest from Anchorage. The most recent eruption occurred in 1987 when an ash cloud was observed in satellite imagery. There are several reports of Semisopochnoi producing “smoke” between 1792 and 1873 from one or more of its cones.

The other Alaskan volcanoes with elevated activity levels in June included Shishaldin, with a low-level eruption, and Cleveland and Veniminof volcanoes, with elevated seismic activity and thermal features.

All of this activity required even more than the usual vigilance by AVO scientists to track the eruptions and unrest using monitoring networks, satellite data, and observations. They are ever watchful for signs that a hazardous explosive eruption is imminent or underway, using the VNS to report on the status of the volcanoes to the world.

For more information about volcanic activity in Hawaii, be sure to visit the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.

Pele Rides Again

July 25, 2014

Did you miss out on the small explosions within Halema‘uma‘u Crater earlier this week? Not to worry! There’s still plenty of awe-inspiring beauty, natural phenomena, and excitement in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park every day. Photographer Ethan Tweedie missed the daytime explosions, too, but he captured nature’s astonishing glow and astronomy show at Halema‘uma‘u Wednesday night (July 24), from the Jaggar Museum overlook. See that dark feature in the Milky Way? That’s what astronomers call the Great Dark Horse, a dark nebula that obscures part of the Milky Way. The ability to see the Great Dark Horse with the naked eye is an indication that the skies are very dark and not affected by urban and industrial light pollution. Starry night skies and natural darkness are important components of the special places the National Park Service protects. National parks hold some of the last remaining harbors of darkness and provide an excellent opportunity for the public to experience this endangered resource. The NPS is dedicated to protecting and sharing this resource for the enjoyment of current and future generations.

Pele and the Great Dark Horse

Above the glow of Pele in Halema‘uma‘u Crater, the dark nebula, the Great Dark Horse, can be seen. Photo courtesy of Ethan Tweedie Photography.

 

Small Explosive Events at Halema‘uma‘u Crater Wow Visitors

July 24, 2014

Pele, the Hawaiian volcano goddess, has no schedule, and thus timing is everything at Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Lucky visitors, volunteers, and park staff  on Wednesday, July 24, 2014 watched as the southeastern wall of the Overlook crater, in Halemaʻumaʻu  Crater, collapsed and fell into the summit lava lake …twice! One collapse occurred just after 10 a.m., and the second around 1:45 p.m. Mahalo to the  USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory for providing video, images and information.

 

 

spatter cam

Just after 10 a.m. on Wednesday, July 24, 2014), the southeastern wall of the Overlook crater, in Halemaʻumaʻu, collapsed and fell into the summit lava lake. This triggered a small explosive event that threw spatter bombs onto the rim of Halemaʻumaʻu at the site of the visitor overlook, closed since 2008. This image is a still taken from the webcam positioned on the rim of Halemaʻumaʻu at that location, showing spatter in the air directly in front of the camera. (Photo and text courtesy of USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory).

The lava fragments ejected ranged in size from dust-sized particles up to spatter bombs about 70 cm (~30 inches) across. The larger clasts – the bombs – dotted the ground around the tourist overlook and webcam, giving the area a look reminiscent of a cow pasture.

The lava fragments ejected ranged in size from dust-sized particles up to spatter bombs about 70 cm (~30 inches) across. The larger clasts – the bombs – dotted the ground around the visitor overlook and webcam, giving the area a look reminiscent of a cow pasture.  (Photo and text courtesy of USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory).

As has been seen with almost all previous explosive events at Halemaʻumaʻu since 2008, the spatter that was ejected was coated in dust and filled with small lithic fragments – clear evidence of the involvement of lithic wall rock. The knife is 12 cm (4.5 in) long. (Image courtesy of the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory)

As has been seen with almost all previous explosive events at Halemaʻumaʻu since 2008, the spatter that was ejected was coated in dust and filled with small lithic fragments – clear evidence of the involvement of lithic wall rock. The knife is 12 cm (4.5 in) long. (Image  and text courtesy of the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory)

 Spatter landed on wooden fencing laying on the ground at the closed tourist overlook, igniting it in a few places. (Image and text courtesy of the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory)

Spatter landed on wooden fencing laying on the ground at the closed visitor overlook, igniting it in a few places. (Image and text courtesy of the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory)

The part of the Overlook crater wall that collapsed is evident in the center of this photo by its white color. (Image and text courtesy of the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Obsevatory)

The part of the Overlook crater wall that collapsed is evident in the center of this photo by its white color. (Image and text courtesy of the USGS Hawaiian Volcano  Observatory)

A park volunteer reported that he and visitors who witnessed the morning explosion across the crater at Jaggar Museum overlook were treated to a “rocket burst” of lava spatter that cleared the crater walls (and scorched wooden fencing at Halema‘uma‘u Overlook), and a dramatic cloud of ash in the volcanic gas plume.  No one was hurt, because Halema‘uma‘u Overlook, and 4.72 miles (about 40%) of Crater Rim Drive, have been closed since March 2008 to protect visitors, employees, and volunteers. It’s no fun breathing volcanic gas, nor is it any fun to be clobbered by two-and-a-half  foot lava bombs!

This photo shows the afternoon ash cloud, triggered by another small explosive event in Halema‘uma‘u Crater. NPS Photo/Nicolyn Charlot

This photo shows the afternoon ash cloud, triggered by another small explosive event in the Overlook crater, within Halema‘uma‘u Crater. NPS Photo/Nicolyn Charlot

 

Mark Your Calendar: Upcoming Hawaiian Cultural Festival

July 24, 2014
NPS

NPS

HO‘OKU‘IKAHI I PU‘UKOHOLĀ
(To Unify at Pu‘ukoholā)
Pu‘ukoholā Heiau National Historic Site will celebrate its 42nd anniversary with the park’s annual Ho‘oku‘ikahi i Pu‘ukoholā Establishment Day Hawaiian Cultural Festival. The festival will open with Nā Papa Kanaka o Pu`ukoholā Heiau performing the Ho`okupu and Ho‘oku‘ikahi ceremonies on Saturday, August 16 from 6:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., with festivities continuing till 3:00 p.m. On Sunday, August 17 the festivities will commence at 9:30 a.m. and continue through 3:00 p.m.

This annual celebration is entitled “Ho‘oku‘ikahi I Pu‘ukoholā Heiau.” Each year the festival’s theme is “Ke Kulana No‘eau o Ka Wā Kahiko” (The Culture of Ancient Hawai`i) and the subtheme for this year’s event is “Au‘a ‘ia e kama e kona moku” (We all hold on to the traditions for our children and our land). Established as a National Historic Site on August 17, 1972, Pu‘ukoholā Heiau continues to be a place where living history is perpetuated, and where efforts to bring the people of Hawai‘i together in pursuit of completing Kamehameha the Great’s unfinished good deeds is a primary objective. This festival seeks to unify he past with the present to establish a firm future.

Canoe rides are just one of the many activities that will be at this year’s event. (NPS)

Over 20 arts and craft workshops and demonstrations will be available for visitors to experience and learn hands-on, including Lei Haku Ame Lei Wili (ancient lei making), Hana Hu (making spinning tops), Hana Kapa Kuiki (quilting), Hawaiian Games, Kahili (feather standards), Ulana Lauhala (Lauhala weaving), Holo Wa‘a (canoe rides), and more. This year we will be having local musicians playing songs of Hawai‘i.

Park Superintendent Daniel Kawaiaea Jr. invites the public to join the festivities with only one stipulation, that each visitor learns at least one craft before leaving the area to help preserve part of the Hawaiian Culture. Bring refreshments and lunch if you plan to stay the entire day. It is recommended that comfortable clothing be worn, and that you use some type of sunscreen. This event will take place at Pelekane (Royal Courtyard) located near the beach below Pu‘ukoholā Heiau. Parking will be on the coral flats, south of the Kawaihae Harbor.

Taste traditional Hawaiian foods at this year’s festival. (NPS)

This free public event is made possible through the cooperation of the Hawai‘i Pacific Parks Association, Na Papa Kanaka o Pu‘ukoholā Heiau, the Royal Order of Kamehameha—Kohala Chapter, the National Park Service, and many friends of the Park.

The stone heiau at Kawaihae is one of the last major sacred structures built in Hawai‘i before outside influences altered ancient Hawaiian life permanently. Constructed in 1790-1791 by Kamehameha I, it ultimately led to his unification of the Hawaiian Islands and its people by 1810. If you would like additional information about this event or other upcoming events, please contact park staff at 882-7218 Ext. 1011 or visit the park website at http://www.nps.gov/puhe.

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