New Law Helps Children Born With Facial Abnormalities

The measure signed into law today by Governor Ige dramatically impacts the lives of several dozen Hawaii families that include children born with cleft palates or other facial abnormalities.

Anya Maga with Governor Ige and Reps. Gregg Takayama (bill introducer), Della Au Belatti, and Henry Aquino.

Anya Maga with Governor Ige and Reps. Gregg Takayama (bill introducer), Della Au Belatti, and Henry Aquino.

In Hawaii, approximately one in every 500 babies is born with what is called an “orofacial anomaly.”  For example, between 2007 and 2012, 61 babies were born with a cleft lip or palate and 83 were born with other craniofacial defects at the Kapiolani Medical Center.

Rep. Della Au Belatti, House Health Committee Chair, said it’s crucial to correct these defects, not just for visual appearance, but because this condition affects basic functions such as eating, chewing, speech and breathing.  The complicated treatment to correct these kinds of birth defects usually requires multiple surgeries ranging from about $5,700 to $20,000 or more.

House Bill 174, introduced by Rep. Gregg Takayama (D-Pearl City, Waimalu, Pacific Palisades), requires health insurers to cover such orthodontic treatment, as do 16 other states.

“For families whose children have a cleft lip and palate, the range of medical, dental and other services can exceed $100,000 from birth until late adolescence,” testified Eileen Matsumoto, a registered nurse for more than 35 years.

The cost of reconstructive surgery is covered by medical insurance but not the full cost of the medically necessary orthodontic procedures required to prepare for these surgeries, which usually amount to more than $10,000 over a child’s lifetime.

These treatment costs are already fully covered by Med-QUEST for poor families but not by private health insurers for Hawaii’s working families.

The State Legislative Auditor reports the cost to all policyholders would be minimal – probably increasing premiums by two cents to four cents per member per month, based on the experiences of California and Massachusetts.

The measure has been called “Anya’s Law” after one of its active supporters, 6-year-old Anya Maga, who testified for the measure along with her parents, who are residents of East Honolulu.

New Map Shows Recent Changes to Lava Flow

This map shows recent changes to Kīlauea’s active East Rift Zone lava flow field.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

The area of the flow on June 19 is shown in pink, while widening and advancement of the flow as of June 30 is shown in red. Puʻu ʻŌʻō lava flows erupted prior to June 27, 2014, are shown in gray.

This map overlays a georeferenced thermal image mosaic onto the flow field change map to show the distribution of active and recently active breakouts.

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Click to enlarge

The thermal images were collected during a helicopter overflight of the flow field today (June 30). The June 27th flow is outlined in green to highlight the flow margin. The yellow line is the active lava tube. Temperature in the thermal mosaics is displayed as gray-scale values, with the brightest pixels indicating the hottest areas, including active breakouts.

Big Island Earthquake Upgraded to 5.2 Magnitude

The earthquake that happened yesterday evening has been upgraded to a 5.2 magnitude earthquake.

This follows a previous update of 5.0 and 4.9 as previously reported.
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New Lava Flow Map Showing Flow Field Changes

This map shows recent changes to Kīlauea’s active East Rift Zone lava flow field.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

The area of the flow on May 21 is shown in pink, while widening and advancement of the flow as of June 4 is shown in red. Puʻu ʻŌʻō lava flows erupted prior to June 27, 2014, are shown in gray.

Man Goes Ballistic at WalMart and Smashes 12 TV’s

A 48-year-old man has been charged with a felony after a dozen televisions were smashed while customers shopped at a “big box” store in Kailua-Kona.

Alexander Springer

Alexander Springer

At 6:49 p.m. Monday (June 15), Kona Patrol officers responded to a report of a disturbance at a store on Henry Street. They arrived to find a suspect outside the store with another customer.

Witnesses reported that the suspect, Alexander Springer, had grabbed a bat from the store and used it to destroy 12 televisions. One of the store’s customers stopped him and took him outside while waiting for police to arrive. Damages were estimated at $4,081.

Police arrested Springer, who has no permanent address, and charged him with second-degree criminal property damage, a Class C felony. His bail was set at $2,000. He was held at the Kona police cellblock until his initial court appearance on Tuesday (June 16).

Decomposed Bodies Found on the Big Island

Big Island Police are investigating two bodies that were recently found on the Big Island in states of decomposition.HPDBadge

  1. At 8:37 a.m. Monday (June 15), South Hilo Patrol officers responded to a report of a body off the road leading to the Hilo airport.They found the body under a makeshift shelter in overgrowth about 80-100 feet south of Kekuanaoa Street and approximately a half-mile east of the intersection of Kekuanaoa Street and Kanoelehua Avenue. The body was in advanced stage of decomposition. An autopsy is scheduled for Tuesday to determine the sex and cause of death. Fingerprints, dental records or both will be used to establish identity. The case is classified as a coroner’s inquest. Police ask anyone who may have seen someone riding a white bicycle into the bush area in that vicinity during the latter part of May or early part of June to contact Detective Clarence Davies at 961-2384 or clarence.davies@hawaiicounty.gov
  2. At 11:10 a.m. Tuesday (June 16), officers responded to a report of an unattended truck off the 15-mile marker of Saddle Road. They found a body in an advanced stage of decomposition.  An autopsy is scheduled for Friday to determine the sex and cause of death. Dental records will be used to establish identity.  The case is classified as a coroner’s inquest.

HVO Releases New Photo of Halemaumau Crater

One month ago the summit lava lake was at the rim of the Overlook crater (the small crater in the center of the photo), spilling lava onto the floor of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater (the larger crater that fills much of the photo), creating the dark flows surrounding the Overlook crater.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Since that time the lava lake has dropped, associated with summit deflation, and today the lake level was about 60 meters (200 feet) below the Overlook crater rim. The stack of recent overflows is visible on the wall of the Overlook crater as the layer of dark lava atop the older, light colored lava forming the majority of the Overlook crater wall.

The photo is taken from the southeast rim of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater. The closed Halemaʻumaʻu overlook is in the upper left corner of the photo. Jaggar Museum and HVO can be seen as a small bump on the horizon in the upper right portion of the photograph.

Missing Divers Pulled Out to Sea Found Safe

Two divers are safe ashore after strong currents pulled them eight miles east of Leleiwi Point, Big Island, Saturday.

Tiger Too, a 19-foot recreational boat, is en route to two divers marked by smoke flares approximately eight miles east of Leleiwi Point, Big Island, June 6, 2015, after strong currents pulled them four miles from their original entry point. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Lt. Cmdr. Jim Morrow)

Tiger Too, a 19-foot recreational boat, is en route to two divers marked by smoke flares approximately eight miles east of Leleiwi Point, Big Island, June 6, 2015, after strong currents pulled them four miles from their original entry point. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Lt. Cmdr. Jim Morrow)

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Honolulu Command Center received notification at 10:22 a.m. of two divers missing from 19-foot recreational boat Tigger Too.

An HC-130 Hercules airplane crew diverted from a scheduled mission at 10:35 a.m. to begin a search. The Hercules crew located the missing divers four miles from their original location and dropped two smoke flares. Their location was then relayed to the boat’s captain who was able to rescue them. Both men are reported to be in good condition.

Ocean currents around the Main Hawaiian Islands can be extremely hazardous and can quickly overcome even the most skilled swimmers. At the onset of high surf and severe weather these conditions can become even more dangerous. The Coast Guard advises all ocean-goers to check weather conditions before heading out, never go out alone, file a float plan and know their limits.

Bullet Hole Found in Door of Telescope on Mauna Kea

Hawaiʻi Island police are investigating a report of damage to an observatory at the summit of Mauna Kea.

A bullet hole was reported in the door of the Subaru Telescope

A bullet hole was reported in the door of the Subaru Telescope

Officers responded to a report late Saturday night (June 6) of what appeared to be a “bullet hole” in a door at the Subaru Telescope at the Mauna Kea summit.

The damage reportedly occurred sometime between Friday evening and Saturday evening.

Police ask anyone with information about this incident to call Officer Nelson Cacho at 961-2213 or the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the islandwide Crime Stoppers number at 961-8300. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

UPDATE:

Hawaiʻi Island police have determined that damage to an observatory at the summit of Mauna Kea was not a bullet hole.

A detective investigated the scene Monday (June 8) and determined that a hole in a door to the observatory was caused by a bolt from an adjacent wall and that it had been there for approximately six months.

The case that had been initiated for this incident will be closed as unfounded.

Puna Lava Flow Still Active

Scattered breakouts remain active northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō.

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Click to enlarge

On yesterday’s overflight, breakouts were active as far as 8 km (5 miles) northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō. Some of this activity was at the forest boundary, burning vegetation. This narrow lobe, one of several active on the flow field today, traveled over earlier Puʻu ʻŌʻō lava (light brown) to reach the forest boundary.

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Click to enlarge

Activity at Puʻu ʻŌʻō remains relatively steady. This photograph looks towards the southwest, and shows outgassing from numerous areas in Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater. On the far side of the crater, the small circular pit (right of center) had a small lava pond that was too deep to see from this angle.

As shown in the May 21 field photos, the small forested cone of Puʻu Kahaualeʻa has been slowly buried by flows over the past several months.

hvo154All that remains today are narrow portions of the rim standing above the lava.

Recent lava on the June 27th flow cascaded over the overhanging rim of this collapse pit on an earlier portion of the flow field.

Recent lava on the June 27th flow cascaded over the overhanging rim of this collapse pit on an earlier portion of the flow field.

Summit activity continues in Halemaʻumaʻu

A wide view of the northern portion of Kīlauea Caldera, on an exceptionally clear day.

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Click to enlarge

HVO and Jaggar Museum can be seen as the light-colored spot on the caldera rim. Mauna Loa is in the distance.

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Halemaʻumaʻu Crater, looking west. Click to enlarge

The dark area on the crater floor consists of recent overflows from the Overlook crater. The Overlook crater is near the left edge of the photo, and a portion of the active lava lake surface can be seen below the rim.

 

Fish Kills Kona Fisherman

A 47-year-old fisherman died Friday (May 29) in Kailua-Kona during a fishing accident.

Randy Llanes was the captain of

Randy Llanes was a captain at Sundowner Sportfishing

Responding to a 10:48 a.m.call, police learned that a swordfish had been observed in Honokōhau Harbor and that fisherman Randy Llanes of Kailua-Kona had jumped into the water with a spear gun. The fish was then seen thrashing about, leaving a puncture wound to the man’s upper chest.

A picture from Llanes Facebook page

A picture from Llanes Facebook page

Hawaiʻi County Fire Department personnel responded to the scene and attempted cardio-pulmonary resuscitation. They took Llanes to Kona Community Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 11:30 a.m.

Lava Lake at Halemaumau Crater Continues to Drop

Kīlauea Volcano’s summit lava lake continued to drop today (May 15, 2015).

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Click to enlarge

Measurements of the lake surface late this afternoon showed that it was 62 m (203 ft) below the top of the newly-created vent rim, a ridge (or levee) of solidified lava about 8 m (26 ft) thick that accumulated on top of the Halemaʻumaʻu Crater floor from multiple overflows of the vent during the past two weeks.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Webcam Captures “Bathtub Ring” Falling Into Lava Lake

This sequence of HVO webcam images of Kīlauea Volcano’s summit vent, recorded between 1:28 and 1:32 p.m., HST, on May 12, 2015, captures the moment a section of the dark-colored “bathtub ring” (a veneer of fresh lava that coats the vent wall as the lava lake level drops) fell into the lava lake (center).

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

The lava veneer collapse, which produced a visible cloud of rock and lava fragments, agitated the lava lake surface and exposed lighter-colored layers of older rock in the vent wall (right).

Lava Lake in Halemaumau Crater Drops

The summit lava lake in Halemaʻumaʻu Crater has dropped significantly over the past two days, as Kīlauea’s summit has deflated.

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Click to enlarge

The dropping lava level has allowed lava veneer on the walls of the Overlook crater to fall away, clearly exposing the contact between the original rim of the Overlook crater (which is the original, pre-overflow floor of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater) and the stack of recent lava overflows. These overflows are roughly 8 meters (26 feet) thick in total.

New Satellite Image Shows Lava Flow Activity and Progress

This satellite image was captured on Wednesday, May 6, 2015 by the Landsat 8 satellite. Although this is a false-color image, the color map has been chosen to mimic what the human eye would expect to see.

The lava flow field is partly obscured by clouds, but the image shows much of the activity on the June 27th flow.

Bright red pixels depict areas of very high temperatures and show active lava. White areas are clouds.   (Click to enlarge)

Bright red pixels depict areas of very high temperatures and show active lava. White areas are clouds. (Click to enlarge)

There have been three areas of breakouts active on the June 27th flow recently. The Feb 21 breakout has slowly migrated north over the past couple months. The breakout north of Kahaualeʻa has been active recently at the forest boundary, triggering small brush fires. The farthest breakout is 6-8 km (4-5 miles) northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō, and consists of scattered activity near the forest boundary.

VIDEO – Lava Lake Remains High

The lava lake in the Overlook crater, within Halemaʻumaʻu Crater at Kīlauea’s summit, remains at a high level and close to the Overlook crater rim. Overflows onto the Halemaʻumaʻu Crater floor have built up the rim of the Overlook crater several meters, and recent overflows are visible in the right side of the photograph.

Spattering was vigorous today in the southern portion of the lake. From this view, the spattering was hidden behind a portion of the Halemaʻumaʻu Crater wall, but airborne spatter can be seen in the bottom left portion of the photo. The summit of Mauna Loa can be seen in the upper right.  (Click to enlarge)

Spattering was vigorous today in the southern portion of the lake. From this view, the spattering was hidden behind a portion of the Halemaʻumaʻu Crater wall, but airborne spatter can be seen in the bottom left portion of the photo. The summit of Mauna Loa can be seen in the upper right. (Click to enlarge)

The lake level this afternoon was about 7 meters (yards) above the original (pre-overflow) floor of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater.

VIDEO:

This Quicktime movie shows spattering at the margin of the summit lava lake in Halemaʻumaʻu Crater.

Click to view the Quick Time Movie

Click to view the Quick Time Movie

Spattering has been common at the lake, and when it occurs is easily visible from the public viewing area at Jaggar Museum. This video shows a closer view from the rim of Halemaʻumaʻu, which is closed to the public due to volcanic hazards.

Lava Breakouts Remain Active – Lava Lake Remains High

The June 27th lava flow remains active, with breakouts focused in several areas northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

The farthest downslope activity observed on today’s overflight was roughly 8 km (5 miles) northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō.

This photograph shows one of the active breakouts closer to Puʻu ʻŌʻō.  (Click to enlarge)

This photograph shows one of the active breakouts closer to Puʻu ʻŌʻō. (Click to enlarge)

One of several lobes on the June 27th flow that was at the forest boundary today, burning vegetation northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō.

Summit lava lake in Halemaʻumaʻu Crater remains at high level

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Over the past week, the summit lava lake in the Overlook crater rose and spilled out onto the floor of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater, creating the dark flows in the south part of Halemaʻumaʻu (left side of crater from this direction). The extent of the lake itself, set within the Overlook crater, is slightly difficult to distinguish from this view but the spattering at the lake margin is visible. The overflows onto the Halemaʻumaʻu Crater floor, not counting the area of the lake itself, total about 11 hectares (28 acres).

A closer look at the lava lake and overflows on the floor of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater.

hvo147The outline of the Overlook crater, and the active lake, is easier to distinguish in this view.

From this angle, the extent of the lava lake within the Overlook crater is much easier to distinguish from the surrounding overflows.

hvo148

The closed Halemaʻumaʻu parking lot is in the right side of the photograph.

Video of Another Explosion at Lava Lake – Tourists Don’t Know What to Think!

A portion of the Halemaʻumaʻu Crater wall collapsed at 1:20 pm today, impacting the lava lake and triggering a small explosion of spatter and a robust particle-laden plume.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Fist-size clasts were deposited around the closed Halemaʻumaʻu visitor overlook.

A sequence of still images taken from the webcam positioned at the closed Halemaʻumaʻu overlook, spanning about six seconds.

explosion seriesThe collapse originated from a portion of the wall directly below the webcam, but just out of view. Large pieces of molten spatter can be seen flying through the air and being deposited on the crater walls below the camera.

This Quicktime movie shows a small explosive event that occurred at 1:20pm today at the summit lava lake. A collapse of a portion of the Halemaʻumaʻu Crater wall impacted the lake and triggered an explosion of spatter. Fist-size clasts were found scattered along the rim of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater near the  closed visitor overlook.  (Click to view Video)

This Quicktime movie shows a small explosive event that occurred at 1:20pm today at the summit lava lake. A collapse of a portion of the Halemaʻumaʻu Crater wall impacted the lake and triggered an explosion of spatter. Fist-size clasts were found scattered along the rim of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater near the closed visitor overlook. (Click to view Video)

Hawaii Volcano Observatory Statement on Current Volcanic Activities and What We Can Expect to Happen

Hawaii Volcano Observatory  Statement on current activities:

After a week of elevated activity, HVO would like to review recent observations and thoughts on what we may expect next at Kīlauea Volcano.
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LAVA FLOWS ON THE FLOOR OF HALEMAʻUMAʻU

Beginning at about 9:40 p.m., HST, last night and continuing into this morning, the Overlook crater lava lake overflowed its rim on several occasions, sending short, lobate sheets of pāhoehoe as far as 130 m (142 yds) across the floor of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater. These overflows were captured on USGS-HVO’s web cameras. Thus far, the flows have been brief and their forward motion ceased as the lava lake level fell and lava subsided into the Overlook crater. As yet, no change in lava spattering or surface circulation patterns on the lake in response to these overflows has been noted.

Given the sustained high, and slowly rising, levels of lava within the vent during the past week, these overflows were expected and they are likely to continue intermittently. During similar lava lake activity at Halemaʻumaʻu in the 1800s and early 1900s, lava lakes frequently produced overflows. Over time, overflows and intermittent spattering can build a collar of solidified lava that then contains the rising and circulating lava lake. This phenomenon is known as a ‘perched lava lake.’

ROCKFALLS, EXPLOSIONS, AND SPATTER ON THE HALEMA‘UMA‘U CRATER RIM;
ASHFALL AT JAGGAR OVERLOOK AND BEYOND

Yesterday morning at about 10:20 a.m., HST, a rockfall from the southeast wall of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater above the lava lake initiated an explosion from the lake surface. Large clots of molten spatter up to 2 meters (2 yards) across showered the rim of Halemaʻumaʻu in the vicinity of the closed visitor overlook fence. The hot spatter formed a nearly continuous blanket for about 100 m (110 yards) along the crater rim and extended back from the rim about 50 m (55 yards). Small bits of crater-wall rock were embedded in the spatter clots. Additional explosions and showers of rock and spatter can be expected. They can occur suddenly and without warning and underscore the exceedingly hazardous nature of the Halema‘uma‘u Crater rim, an area that has been closed to the public since late 2007.

Visitors to the Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park Jaggar Museum Overlook and other Park areas should also note that under southerly wind conditions, similar rockfalls and explosions can result in a dusting of powdery to gritty ash composed of volcanic glass and rock fragments. Several such ashfalls occurred last weekend and, although they represent a very minor hazard at this time, people should be aware that additional dustings of ash are likely at Jaggar Museum and other areas around the Kīlauea summit. For more information about volcanic ash hazards and precautions at Kīlauea, please see: http://hvo.wr.usgs.gov/hazards/FAQ_SO2-Vog-Ash/main.html

CONTINUED INFLATION AND EARTHQUAKE ACTIVITY IN THE KĪLAUEA SUMMIT AND UPPER EAST RIFT ZONE

For the past week or so, HVO monitoring networks have recorded steady inflation of the Kīlauea Volcano summit area. Shallow earthquake activity has also been elevated beneath the summit caldera, upper East Rift Zone, and upper Southwest Rift Zone. Of the hundreds of earthquakes that have occurred in the past week, most have been small, less than magnitude-2 (M2).However, this morning (April 29) a M3.0 earthquake occurred at the easternmost caldera boundary. It is the second M3+ earthquake in this region during this sequence.

During this period of elevated summit activity, there has been no obvious change in the eruption rate of lava from Puʻu ʻŌʻō. Rates of gas emission from both the summit and Puʻu ʻŌʻō remain largely unchanged. Short-lived increases in sulfur dioxide from the summit lava lake have been noted during rockfall-triggered explosive events, such as the one that occurred yesterday morning.

Video by Mick Kalber:

WHAT WE CAN EXPECT

The current activity is best explained by an increase in magma supply to the Kīlauea Volcano magma reservoir or storage system, something that has occurred many times during the ongoing East Rift Zone eruption. Increased supply and shallow storage can explain the higher magma column in the Overlook crater, as well as the continuing inflation and elevated earthquake activity in the summit region. Higher volumes of magma moving throughout the summit and upper East Rift Zone pressurizes the reservoir and magma transport system and causes small earthquakes and inflationary tilt.

As long as magma supply is elevated, we expect continued high lava lake levels accompanied by additional overflows. Lava from these overflows could cover more of the Halemaʻumaʻu Crater floor, form a perched lake, or result in some combination of these two processes. Spattering or lava fountaining sources can migrate across the surface of the lava lake, as recently observed. We expect continued rockfalls, intermittent explosions and ash fall, and continued high levels of gas release.

The evolution of unrest in the upper East Rift Zone is less certain. It is possible that a surge of lava will reach Puʻu ʻŌʻō and lava flow output will increase, both on the flanks and within the crater of Puʻu ʻŌʻō. It is also possible that lava will form a new vent at the surface. If this happens, it will most likely occur along a portion of the East Rift Zone between Pauahi Crater and Puʻu ʻŌʻō. Other outbreaks in the summit area or along either rift zone on Kīlauea cannot be ruled out. If a new outbreak or surge in lava to Puʻu ʻŌʻō occurs, we will expect a drop in the summit lava lake.

HVO continues to closely monitor Kīlauea Volcano. We are especially watching for any sign of unrest that may precede a new outbreak of lava or a change in output at either Puʻu ʻŌʻō or the summit Overlook crater vent. We will continue to post daily eruption updates on the HVO web site, along with photos, videos, and maps as they are available at: http://hvo.wr.usgs.gov/activity/kilaueastatus.php

An annotated photograph showing summit features named in this statement, such as Overlook crater and Halemaʻumaʻu, is posted at: http://hvo.wr.usgs.gov/archive/summit-labels.jpg

HVO Contact Information: askHVO@usgs.gov

Lava Lake Overflows Vent Rim

Photo from the rim of Halemaʻumaʻu showing the lava lake in the completely filled Overlook crater. Repeated overflows are beginning to construct levees around the lake, such that the level of the lake is now perched about 2 m (7 ft) above the original floor of Halemaʻumaʻu.

Kīlauea Volcano’s summit lava lake, which was about 12 m (40 ft) below the vent rim on April 25 (left), overflowed the vent rim for the first time at about 9:40 p.m., HST, on April 28. As of noon on April 29 (right), the lava lake had overflowed the vent rim several more times. These Webcam images capture the summit vent before and after the overflows. (Click to enlarge)

Kīlauea Volcano’s summit lava lake, which was about 12 m (40 ft) below the vent rim on April 25, overflowed the vent rim for the first time at about 9:40 p.m., HST, on April 28. As of noon on April 29, the lava lake had overflowed the vent rim several more times. (Click to enlarge)