Narrowing down names for fissure 8

HOLLYN JOHNSON/Tribune-Herald Fissure 8 shown from an aerial view on Feb. 15.
U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY photo Fissure 8 in lower Puna is shown on Sept. 2, 2018.

The question of what to name fissure 8 will move closer to an answer next month at a public meeting where community members can discuss 21 proposed names for the landmark.

The Hawaii Board of Geographic Names began soliciting names for fissure 8 from the public in 2018, ultimately generating a list of 21 proposed monikers for the fissure, one of the most prominent landmarks formed during the Kilauea eruption last year.


Throughout the process, a Permitted Interaction Group comprised of three people has met with Puna residents to discuss their thoughts on possible names for the fissure, located within the Puna subdivision Leilani Estates. A public meeting in May generated heated discussion on which deity the fissure should be named after.

Marques Marzan, chair of the Board of Geographic Names and one of the members of the Permitted Interaction Group, said he hopes to hold a second public meeting next month, tentatively scheduled for Sept. 19 in Puna. By the end of that meeting, Marzan said the list of names will hopefully be narrowed down to a handful — or maybe even just one — of popular choices.

“The public has been encouraged to have their own discussions about the names on their own,” Marzan said. “So hopefully they can decide what would be the most appropriate or relevant names.”

After the meeting, Marzan said the Permitted Interaction Group will hold at least one more such public meeting before it makes its final report to the full Board of Geographic Names at the end of the year.

Marzan said the Board will likely favor names submitted by Puna residents, as they have the closest ties to the area. Some proposals have come from as far afield as Nevada, Marzan said, adding that those submissions will not be discounted if they prove popular among the community.

“Optimistically, we’d like it if the community came out of this meeting all supporting one name,” Marzan said.

Although the deadline for submitting new names passed on June 30, one additional name was successfully submitted after that date, on July 15. That name, “‘Omakaolahoukaluaokalani,” means “source of the rebirth of the second heaven,” according to the submitter, Kona resident Mikahala Roy.

The remaining names are as follows:

• 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).

• Hopena (fate or destiny).

• Pu‘ O‘oo‘o or Pu‘u O‘o O‘o (references to fellow cinder cone Pu‘u ‘O‘o, which was formed in 1983 and named after its proximity to a letter ‘O’ on a map).

• Pu‘u Wa Kahiko (an eternity from past to present).

Email Michael Brestovansky at

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