Deadline for submissions passes for proposed fissure 8 names; community meeting to be conducted by fall

HOLLYN JOHNSON/Tribune-Herald Fissure 8 is seen in this aerial photo taken Feb. 15.

The deadline to submit possible names for fissure 8 has passed, with a total of 20 proposed monikers submitted.

The state Board of Geographic Names began soliciting proposed names for fissure 8, one of the most prominent landmarks formed from the 2018 Kilauea eruption, from the general public last year. Since then, a group of three appointed by the board — called the Permitted Interaction Group — has discussed with Puna residents what best to name the new landform.


“We wanted to make sure the community approves of the name and for them to come together to decide on a new name,” said Brad Ka‘aleleo Wong of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, one of the members of the interaction group.

With the deadline for public-submitted names now closed, Wong said the next step is for the board to review the submissions before the group meets again with Puna residents to discuss the proposed names. Wong said that meeting likely will be toward the end of summer or beginning of fall.

A previous meeting with Puna residents took place in May, when there was heated discussion about which deity the fissure should be named after. Some argued the vent should be named after the male volcano deity ‘Aila‘au, a suggestion reflected in two submissions made last year.

Only four submissions have been made since the May meeting. The first name, “Hopena,” was submitted by Leilani Estates resident Lori Ann Baker, who wrote in her proposal that the word can be translated to mean “fate” — pointing out that abbreviating “fissure 8” results in “F8” or “fate” — although she added that, to her, the word means “hope.”

The second and third submissions were made by Pahoa resident Robert Roosen, who suggested the fissure be named “Pu‘u O‘oo‘o” or “Pu‘u O‘o O‘o.”

Roosen wrote that the names reflect that of Pu‘u ‘O‘o, the cinder cone formed during the 1983 eruption, and claimed both eruptions were caused by geothermal drilling. Pu‘u ‘O‘o means “hill of the digging stick,” but that site was originally nicknamed “Pu‘u O” thanks to the landmark’s location near a letter “O” on a map.

The fourth submission was made by Kalapana resident Lisa Pai, who suggested “Pu‘u Wa Kahiko,” claiming the name means “eternity from (past) to present.”

The remaining submissions include:

• Puu Leilani (named for the subdivision, Leilani Estates, where the fissure is located).

• Pu‘uo‘aila‘au (Hill of ‘Aila‘au).

• Keahiluawalu O Pele (no meaning provided. Submitter said it came to them in a dream).

• Pu‘u Kupaianaha (Pu‘u = hill; Kupaianaha = surprising, strange, wonderful, marvelous).

• Ahu‘aila‘au (Ahu = mound/shrine/altar or cairn; ‘Aila‘au = a volcano deity).

• Pu‘u ‘O Luku (hill of destruction).

• Hanaia‘na (creation).

• Enoho (regeneration).

• Hou Ho‘omaka (new beginnings).

• Keahilapalapa (spreading or blazing fire).

• Kekoheho‘ohenonohoikala‘iopunapaia‘alaikahala (cherished crease occupying the calm of Puna of the forest bower fragrant with pandanus).

• Ke Ahi ‘Ena‘ena (raging fire).

• Luana-Lani (named after Luana Street in Leilani Estates).

• Papalauahi (earth of numerous volcanic eruptions; proposed name for all 24 fissures).

• Pohaha (a reduplicative of paha, which can mean breaking forth, bursting, cracking and volcanic ejecta of any kind).

• Pohaka‘ena (exploding rage).

Email Michael Brestovansky at

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