An ancient megalith here on Hawaiʻi? That would be cool, check this out!
The video I find linked on a local Facebook group shows a rayed structure on the ground a few miles north of Kawaihae, with lines radiating from a central point for a mile or more, an enormous compass that points at destinations near and far from the islands.
It is a striking feature, but it is quite the jump to claim that this is a geoglyph created by an ancient civilization.
The video explains that the feature is 120,000 years old based on the geologic datings of the lava flows on the western slope of the Kohala. Part of this dating is based on a map of the island inscribed around the compass.
I know this area fairly well, even know some of the local ranchers, I find the evidence provided by the video a bit lacking. There are more than a few real archaeological remains in the area, remains of the rich Hawaiian culture that existed in the area before western contact.
As soon as I looked at the Google satellite imagery I had a pretty good idea of what I was looking at. A few moments of research confirmed my suspicions… The pattern on the ground is a paddock system used to control cattle movements in a section of range land. I am a bit disappointed, but not really surprised.
Weather? Currently overcast, no rain, and almost no breeze. Hard to believe there is a hurricane just offshore.
The worst wind was early last night, and then no worse than a strong trade wind event. We have had much worse several times this year.
The rain gauge has not even made it to an inch of precipitation. We have had none of the torrential rain the other side of the island has experienced.
All is quiet here, no damage beyond having to pick up the usual scattered palm fronds.
The video below is the storm passing by our island over the last 38 hours. I started saving the 4km IR images as soon as the eye of Hurricane Lane entered the close range image and have assembled them into a video.
This is our closest pass so far for a hurricane. May the remainder of the season be uneventful…
Hurricane Lane is looking to swing north just east of the island. The worst of the storm should pass through tomorrow. All of our Keck staff has been told to stay home and take care of family and property, observing is cancelled for the next two nights.
Hurricane Hector is just brushing past us with the center of the storm well south of the island. At this point the tropical storm watch and warnings have been cancelled. The only real effect on the island is some rain and high surf along the south shore.
Outside the weather is blustery and raining, but that could just be normal Waimea weather. At least it looks and feels a bit like a hurricane.
We are now more than two months into this new eruption from Kilauea. Two months ago the fissures opened in the Leilani Estates subdivision and homes began to burn.
For two months this slow motion catastrophe has continued. While a major earthquake may be over in minutes, or a hurricane over in a few days, this eruption just goes on. For the folks in lower Puna the lava continues to destroy homes and disrupt lives.
For those of us outside the eruption zone things are not quite as immediate. We read the daily news, peruse images of helicopter overflights each morning, and wonder when it will be over.
For the most part these events pass unnoticed by much of the island. The volcano area gets shaken up pretty well, but these fifth magnitude quakes are often not felt very far beyond that.
On the summit of Mauna Kea these daily quakes often do disturb the telescopes at night, bumping the tracking and ruining exposures, but otherwise too weak to cause any damage to the facilities.
The most significant island wide impact has been the vog, wreathing the island in a sulfurous haze. Sulfur dioxide pours from the active vents, mixes with water in the air and forms a thick brown grey haze.
When the vog is bad you not only see it, you smell the sulfur, it irritates eyes and nasal passages. Fire and brimstone reaches out to touch us all.
While the vog makes for spectacular sunsets, the vog can also be thick enough to curtail outside activity. A day like today, with brisk trade-winds to clear it away, is a welcome relief.
Opportunities to legally witness this eruption are few, authorities have been enforcing the evacuation area increasingly strictly. Legal options are the fly or float to the eruption. Deb and I chose to fly a month ago, a helicopter flight I am sure we will remember for a lifetime.
I have not attempted to go to photograph the lava river, despite a very strong desire to do so. The county and state have repeatedly talked about opening a lava viewing area. while there is a great deal of pressure from the community, so far nothing has materialized.
We are so ready for this eruption to be over.
Given the collapse of the summit caldera and the enormous volume of lava emitted so far, it may be possible that when this is over there will be no further eruption for a while. It may take a while for the volcano to recharge, perhaps a year or two. Will we return to the pattern of intermittent eruptions that was seen through much of the 20th century?