Lana'i Kaimuhōkū - Kahōkūnui

Lana'i "Crater" Visit / Reconoiter

20.9 N   156.89 W

March 2011
Lana'i map

I was doing a presentation on Impact and Meteorites at the Lyman Museum in Hilo, when one person said - "What about the crater on Lana'i?"

To which, I replied, "What Crater?"

You can guess what happened next - Time for the internet:

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Link to article at                      PDF of article
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Kaimuhōkū -> Ka imu hōkū -
Literally:   The Earth-Oven* Star    or, the Star Oven

Kahōkūnui-> Ka hōkū nui  -
Literally:   The Star Big     or , the Big Star

So, Where is it??? - Time for the Maps and Google Earth

Lana'i Map

There it is on the map - and it even declares it an "ancient meteor landing"

Closeup on "crater" site

Lets see what Google Earth Has on offer

Google Earth Rocks!!! Lana'i

Here's the area - Doesn't look very promising. Sandy substrate, and notice all the vegetation lineations... hmmm
(do you think it might have anything to do with either running water, storm surge or the strong prevailing winds from the NE????)

Close up on site

It turned out that I ended up going to Lanai for several days of vacation - What could I do but at least have a look...

This panorama below was taken from just under the "K" looking roughly south, The car was parked under the "K"
The trees are kiawe - mesquite - Prosopis pallida - Known for, among other things, thorns

(which brings us to the story of the disintegrating shoes and the search for "slippahs" (sandals/flip-flops etc) at the store
- Not good footwear to go wandering about a kiawe forest! Good News - none made it into my foot - but I pulled a lot of spines out of my slippahs...)

Where the "crater" would be

Walking through the underbrush was not easy - thorns - falling branches - dead falls....

In the vicinity of the "crater"

And the substrate - Sand - that has been subject to a lot of water flow, and wind...

The ground

With all this, slippahs and thorns, Sand that had seen a lot of motion, I figured;
if there had been a meteorite impact site here leaving a small crater in the sand, evidence for it would have disappeared long ago.
Any meteorite would likely have disintegrated, eroded, or been swept into the ocean.

I'm not saying it didn't happen :-) but it seems unlikely there is any evidence other than a name, which may have been derived from other stories.

(Good boots, a bush knife/machete and a metal detector might be something to try  :-) )

* Imu - an imu is an "earth oven" used in many polynesian cultures - Dig a pit, optionally, line it with stones (basalt from the shore is usually stable enough), build a fire in it, add wood, when the coals and rocks are good and hot - take some rocks out (careful) - put food wrapped in ti leaf or banana leaf inside (non-traditional = aluminum foil) - put rocks back in - over, around... - cover with banana leaves (wet burlap sacks - sand on top of that) - go away for some hours - come back, open up oven... watch out, the rocks are still hot! Take out food packages (fish, pig, turkey, taro, whatever you put in) - Eat!!!! I used to live at a house  where we did this once or twice a year with 50-100 people showing up. Blow the conch horn in 4 directions, da neighbors come up too! Ono grinds!

Lana'i Map reference map

Page by ted - written - 13-May-2011