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