(BIVN) – The Hawaii County Council could soon be taking up a measure that would urge the state to move forward with a process that would lead to the naming of the active Fissure 8, which is currently generating voluminous lava flows on the lower East Rift Zone of Kilauea Volcano, as well as “other features of the 2018 eruption.”
Hilo councilwoman Sue Lee Loy introduced the Resolution 640 on July 5. Lee Loy said in the communication that the resolution requests the State Board on Geographic Names “to consult with community members who have direct traditional, cultural, and familial ties to the district of Puna to establish an appropriate name for the Fissure 8 vent.”
Fissure 8 has been a temporary name, scientists and emergency officials explain, assigned early on in the eruption to identify the active vent. The name has been used while a proper name is chosen by the appropriate community elders. The community has been asking for a name to finally be attached to the erupting vent.
The proposed council resolution states:
A RESOLUTION URGING THE STATE BOARD ON GEOGRAPHIC NAMES TO CONSULT WITH COMMUNITY MEMBERS WHO HAVE DIRECT TRADITIONAL, CULTURAL, AND FAMILIAL TIES TO THE DISTRICT OF PUNA TO ESTABLISH APPROPRIATE NAMES FOR THE FISSURE 8 VENT AND OTHER FEATURES OF THE 2018 ERUPTION OF KILAUEA VOLCANO.
WHEREAS, Section 4E-1 of the Hawaiʻi Revised Statutes states that the State Board on Geographic Names shall be composed of the chairperson of the Board of Land and Natural Resources, the chairperson of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, the chairperson of the Hawaiian Homes Commission, the director of the Office of Planning, the president of the University of Hawaiʻi, the state land surveyor, and the director of the Bernice P. Bishop Museum, or their respective representatives; and
WHEREAS, Section 4E-3(a) of the Hawaii Revised Statutes states that the State Board on Geographic Names “… shall designate the official names and spellings of geographic features in Hawaii and provide for circulation thereof to the appropriate state and other agencies. In its deliberations, the board shall solicit and consider the advice and recommendations of the appropriate county government officials, and, should the board desire, other knowledgeable persons.”; and
WHEREAS, following a magmatic intrusion into the East Rift Zone of Kilauea volcano, the first of two dozen fissures erupted on May 3, 2018, near Mohalu Street in Leilani Estates; and
WHEREAS, the eighth fissure, known as Fissure 8, opened on May 5, 2018, near Luana Street in Leilani Estates, and briefly erupted lava fountains an estimated 230 feet high, sending a slow-moving lava flow approximately 0. 6 miles northward and covering many homes in the subdivision; and
WHEREAS, Fissure 8 reactivated on the night of May 23, 2018, sending a fast-moving flow northward that crossed Pohoiki Road, surrounded Puna Geothermal Venture, crossed Highway 132, covered Noni Farms Road and Railroad Avenue, inundated papaya farm land, crossed Highway 137, entered Ka Wai a Pele (Green Lake), burned hundreds of homes in Kapoho Farm Lots, Kapoho Vacationland, and Kapoho Beachlots, filled in Kapoho Bay, and destroyed the Waiʻōpae Tidepools Marine Life Conservation District; and
WHEREAS, eruptive activity from the 23 other fissures have become concentrated at Fissure 8, where a gushing fountain has built a broad cone approximately 180 feet high; and
WHEREAS, the U.S. Geological Survey defines a volcanic fissure as an “elongate fracture or crack at the surface from which lava erupts,” making “Fissure 8” an inaccurate name for the large tephra cone located on the East Rift Zone within Leilani Estates; and
WHEREAS, the ongoing eruption is creating numerous other new and unnamed volcanic features, including but not limited to the enlarged crater or nested caldera at Halemaʻumaʻu, the collapsed crater at Puʻu ʻŌʻō, the line of fissures and steam vents extending through Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens, the ocean entry at Mālama Kī Forest Reserve, and the channelized lava flow to the ocean at Kapoho Bay; and
WHEREAS, the naming of a volcanic feature in the Hawaiian language may encode information about its physical characteristics, historical events associated with its formation, ecological surroundings, geographical location, or related oral histories; and
WHEREAS, the U.S. Geological Survey uses informal names to identify and communicate information about volcanic features, but defers to the local community, including Hawaiian elders, for formal names; and
WHEREAS, the global community of amateur lava watchers have suggested many names for Fissure 8, but the names for this and other new volcanic features associated with the current eruption should be provided by community members with direct traditional, cultural, and familial ties to the district of Puna; now, therefore,
BE IT RESOLVED BY THE COUNCIL OF THE COUNTY OF HAWAII that the State Board on Geographic Names is urged to consult with community members who have direct traditional, cultural, and familial ties to the district of Puna to establish appropriate names for the Fissure 8 vent and other features of the 2018 eruption of Kilauea volcano.
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that the County Clerk shall transmit a copy of this resolution to the Honorable David Y. Ige, Governor; Suzanne D. Case, Chair of the Board of Land and Natural Resources; Colette Y. Machado, Chair of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs; Jobie Masagatani, Chair of the Hawaiian Homes Commission; Leo R. Asuncion Jr., Director of the Office of Planning; David Lassner, President of the University of Hawaiʻi; Reid K. Siarot, State Land Surveyor; Melanie Y. Ide, President and CEO ofthe Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum, the Honorable Harry Kim, Mayor; Tina Neal, Scientist-in-Charge of the U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory; Kuhaʻo Zane, president of the Edith Kanakaʻole Foundation; and Piʻilani Kaʻawaloa of the Aha Moku Advisory Committee.