February 23, 2015
In one of the most famous of all Japanese woodblock prints, Hokusai depicted ca. 1830 a huge wave engulfing three fishing vessels, with Mt. Fuji in the background.
It seems like Makauwahi Cave is in the news almost constantly these days, on various subjects from fossil chickens to pet tortoises to Conservation Paleobiology. A frequent connection in the media lately has concerned centuries-old tsunami debris in the cave and new coastal evacuation routes for the State of Hawaii, via development of a computer model that shows how it could happen again.
For the whole write-up, see “The Big Wave at the Cave” in Volume 2, Issue 2 of the newsletter, and see this technical publication (PDF) for more details.
Anyway, these discoveries and analyses have become far more than academic. Civil Defense in Hawaii is taking all this very seriously. This may be a case where curiosity-driven research in the mud of a cave may have triggered a preparedness response that could save thousands of lives in the event of a Fukushima-sized event in the state. Voice of America Television, which is the official worldwide media outlet of the U.S. to the world, translated into 41 languages, covered the story recently.