Sunday, September 6, 2015

Could Ewa's Huge Underground Karst Waterways And Caves Really Exist?

Could Ewa's Huge Underground Karst Waterways And Caves Really Exist?

John Bond,  Kanehili Cultural Hui

 
Of course they do and there is lots of evidence of it for anyone who wants to look or listen to Hawaiian oral histories. Hawaiians were not "making it up" when they described the existence of these ancient cave systems.

By all logic and evidence around the world where there has been ancient coral reefs called karst the answer is most definitely YES. In addition Hawaii already has known huge lava tubes that feed large amounts of water into the sea, such as on the Big Island of Hawaii.

The Big Island doesn't have a reef system like the older islands such as Oahu and Maui where there are large reef shelves. In the huge 25 square mile Ewa Plain which is attached to the ancient Waianae volcano the lava tubes became connected through the ancient reef to the shoreline. In some cases the fresh mountain water bubbled up as springs on the land surface or as large underwater outlets that became sea caves and sinkholes called blue holes. 

As the Ewa Plain reef extends towards the sea it reaches a depth of approximately 1000 feet, providing ample room for large sea cave systems that have never been seen or explored.

Native Hawaiian oral histories describe huge underground caves running under Oahu connecting different locations. Some caves are fresh waterways, others are salt water portals for sharks and some are walkable large lava tubes. The Big Island, which is the Hawaiian Island chain's newest island without a reef, has some of the largest known caves.

As a recognized historical and cultural expert, Mr. Lee contends that Ewa, Oahu contain a "huge" series of "cave systems" - carved out by underground fresh water - and the caves were used by ancient Hawaiians for their burials long ago. These "cave systems" contain the "iwi" remains of the ancient Hawaiian Chiefs of Oahu, Maui, and Kauai Islands in Hawaii

These Ewa, Oahu "caves" are called "Waipouli Kupuna", and this is where Mr. Lee's family (plus many other Hawaiian families) are buried. They continue to destroy/desecrate the dead, history, culture, AND CONSTITUTION of Hawaii.

Yes, there is very ample evidence around the world that huge karst caves exit. On the Big Island there are also huge lava tube waterways and caves!


The Ewa Plain was a vast coral cave and sinkhole complex used for growing food, overnight shelter, burials and cool storage from the sun. This is how ancient Hawaiians could traverse the ancient Honouliuli ahupua'a trails, which early western explorers saw as barren and hostile. The food, the rest stops and wayside barter shops were there serving the travelers along the way.


The ancient coral reef sinkholes



Not many today know that Pohukaina in downtown Honolulu is actually an Ali'i coral burial cave


This UH SOEST image shows how fresh water erodes channels and pits (caves and sinkholes) into the coral reef creating what the Ewa Plain looked like many thousands of years ago when sea level was much higher than it currently is today.


Modern karst cave explorers inside the Moilili coral cave near the UH Manoa campus


Many people have visited the Moilili caves over the past 100 years. Pumping out the ground water in the 1930's caused a massive cave collapse in the Moilili area, greatly reducing the amount of the cave area that can be explored today. 


Inside a cave in Ewa by Roosevelt Avenue in former Barbers Point one can still see and identify Porites lobata coral inside the cave. Other bright colored coral species can still be seen in other karst coral caves in the area. Caves in Ewa contain a great deal of archaeological information, including ancient bird skeletons, but they are routinely bulldozed and filled with concrete grout by land developers today with little if any scientific study. 


Coral karst caves can get very, very huge in other parts of the world where vast amounts of tropical rains and rivers carved out vast underground tunnels over the centuries as sea levels dropped.


Huge caves like these very likely exist under the Ewa Plain where the coral shelf is known to go down 1000 feet near the shoreline. This is why in downtown Honolulu, which is also built on an ancient coral reef, large concrete piles being driven will sometimes just suddenly slip and completely disappear into what some only want to call a "void." No one in the construction industry wants to know what is really going on below the ground on Oahu.

Oahu's Ewa Plain Karst Sinkholes And Caves Yield Extinct Bird Fossils

 http://ewa-hawaii-karst.blogspot.com/2015/01/ewa-plain-karst-sinkholes-and.html

US Fish Wildlife Demonstrates How Ewa Plain Karst Can Be Restored

 http://ewa-hawaii-karst.blogspot.com/2014/12/us-fish-wildlife-ewa-preserve.html

The Ewa Plain Karst is the largest of several karsts on the island of Oahu

 http://ewa-hawaii-karst.blogspot.com/2014/12/Ewa-Karst-largest-on-Oahu.html









Saturday, September 5, 2015

Ewa Plain Karst Discoveries: Extinct Bird Species' Fossils Are Found At US Fish & Wildlife Kalaeloa Refuge

Ewa Plain Karst Discoveries: Extinct Bird Species' Fossils Are Found At US Fish & Wildlife Kalaeloa Refuge

An unexpected discovery of rare avian fossil remains, believed to be thousands of years old, has scientists excited.

July 28, 2009   Honolulu Star-Bulletin

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service workers and scientists doing coastal habitat restoration work at Kalaeloa recently discovered fossilized remains, including those of several extinct bird species.
"The discovery of these ancient bird bones, including several species now extinct and maybe even new species not known before, is a great reminder of the truly unique history and wonderful diversity of Hawaii's birds," said refuge manager David Ellis in a prepared statement.

Both the Bishop Museum and the Smithsonian Institution are categorizing and preserving the bones. Although the age of the bones has yet to be pinpointed through the use of radiocarbon dating, scientists noted that bird fossils found at similar sites on the Ewa Plain date to about 1,000 to 8,000 years ago.

The bird bones were discovered while scientists were restoring tidal pools that were once part of the former Barbers Point Naval Station, now the Pearl Harbor National Wildlife Refuge-Kalaeloa Unit.
Scientists have found remains of an extinct hawk—the first reported as a fossil on Oahu—a long-legged owl, Hawaiian sea eagle, petrel, two species of crow, Hawaiian finches, Hawaiian honeyeaters and the moa nalo—a flightless gooselike duck.

"These fossils of extinct birds give us a glimpse of an earlier time on Oahu when the lowlands teemed with native birds, insects, and plants," said Helen James, a research zoologist and curator of birds for the Smithsonian, in a written statement. "Lamentably, the birds cannot be brought back to life, but by studying their bones we at least gain an appreciation of Oahu's rich natural heritage."

According to Sheila Conant, an associate zoology professor at the University of Hawaii, researchers can use fossil records "to tell us about what it was like before people got here, and what it was like over time as they arrived and as population increased."

"I'm always delighted when someone finds a new fossil, especially when it's something interesting," Conant said. "To know that we had a diversity of birds before people got here is exciting for me."

Leonard Freed, also an associate UH zoology professor, added that researchers can use information from the discovery to gain a better knowledge in what types of characteristics shaped their environment.

"The fossil birds suggest that the characteristics may be shaped in an earlier environment," Freed said. "At minimum the fossils show that the diversity of birds in Hawaii was much greater than what has been documented historically."

Oahu's Ewa Plain Karst Sinkholes And Caves Yield Extinct Bird Fossils

Sumida Farms: The Best Water Cress Comes From Ancient Karst Spring Water



The Best Water Cress Comes From Ancient Spring Water 

The Kalauao Spring included two natural springs of percolating water.
In ancient times, the springs irrigated taro loʻi

The story does NOT mention that the farm is located on a KARST spring. Mineralized
water that comes from karst is very special, grows the beat limu, etc. Ewa was called
the "House of Limu" because it had such a unique delicious taste.

This is an important argument we hope and need to make to City and Ledge that
Ewa Plain farmland CANNOT be replaced it is a unique environment due to the
karst spring water that Ewa has. Places like Sumida Farms also happen to enjoy
this special karst spring environment.

Sumida Farm Closeup 

 Started in 1928 by Moriichi and Makiyo Sumida, this watercress farm has withstood the scourge of development in the heart of the concrete jungles of Pearlridge and hungry developers. Their son, Masaru fought developers of Peralridge Shopping Center to keep the states largest producer of watercress from turning into phase III of the shopping complex. Masaru passed away at the age of 84 in 2003 but the farm and family tradition lives on through his children.



 

Since 1928, the Sumida family have been growing watercress in a magical spot in the heart of Aiea being fed by a natural spring.  Yes, that’s their farm right besides Pearlridge, a reminder of the fact that Aiea and Pearl Harbor were once breadbasket and important fishing grounds.

http://hawaiiindependent.net/story/sumida-farms-embraces-the-past-and-future-of-agriculture-in-hawaii

“Wait until you taste the spring water,” one of the Slow Food veterans told us. I was slightly taken aback; I didn’t see any drinking water around. 

When Operations Manager and tour guide David Sumida waded into the stream and proceeded to cup a large gulp with his hands, I was shocked to think that water at one’s feet could be clean enough to drink. Granted, I’m a total townie, but to be fair to myself, I was looking at Sears next door!

It turns out the reason the farm is located where it is is due to the abundance of spring water around Pearl Harbor. There are twelve watercress farms in Oahu, each growing a different variety of watercress, but all twelve are in the vicinity of the Pearl Harbor Spring (the rest around Pearl City and Waipahu). Sumida Farm is the furthest east of these farms, and therefore has the highest water quality from the spring.

Sumida Farm

Unique farm borders Pearlridge Shopping Center

 AIEA —If you've ever eaten watercress in Hawaii, there's a good chance it came from Sumida Farm in Aiea. You may have noticed the farm if you've ever driven past the Pearlridge Shopping Center. Some people say the best-tasting watercress in the world is grown there, perhaps because of its most unusual location.

"We're harvesting in this area, we just harvested this one," explains David Sumida during a walk through of the farm.

David and his sister Barbara are the third generation of Sumidas to manage this land. Their grandparents took over the 10 acres back in 1928 when much of it was used to grow taro.
"The farm is 85-years-old now," said David.

The farm took root under their father, who planted only watercress. It was a decision that's made this farm flourish today, but the payoff didn't come without a price. As time passed, in came development, and being pushed out was what the Sumidas were up against.

"The developer wanted to take away the lease for this plot here to develop, it was going to become the phase three of the Pearlridge center," said David. "My dad was fighting for this farm because it was his farm, it was the family farm, they wanted to keep it."

All of the water used on the land is natural, coming from springs.

"The water has lots of mana; when I realized that, 

everything came together," said David.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G4-QTKuZpKk

https://www.google.com/maps/@21.3828581,-157.9435453,665m/data=!3m1!1e3


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Ewa Plantation Prime Ag Land Still Retains Centuries Old Traditional Agricultural Features

West Oahu Residents Speak Out At Important Ag Lands And Hoopili Station Meetings


FTA and HART Rail Misrepresent The True Ewa Honouliuli Native Hawaiian Spirit Pathway


Honouliuli Ewa TCP's Are Important Wahi Pana (Sacred Places) On Multi-Dimensional Levels


Honouliuli Ewa's Makakilo Kalo'i Gulch - A Rare In Depth Survey Of This Important Cultural Property

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Barbers Point - Kalaeloa - Ewa Beach, The Major Karst Sinkhole Ponds And Reef Blue Holes

Barbers Point - Kalaeloa - Ewa Beach, The Major Karst Sinkhole Ponds And Reef Blue Holes


Oahu's Ewa Plain Karst Sinkholes And Caves Yield Extinct Bird Fossils

US Fish & Wildlife Demonstrates How Ewa Plain Karst Can Be Restored











 

 Honolulu Cave Adventure: Punynari Explores Moiliili (Honolulu, Hawaii) Karst 

Fantastic Must See Oahu Karst Cave Videos And Photos 

Bio Diversity: The Moiliili Karst Formation

Mōʻiliʻili Karst Water Cave


Hiking Hawaii: Moiliili (Honolulu, Hawaii) Karst Cave


Video and Links: Mo'ili'ili Underground Caverns Video 


Karst Cave Hiking Adventure: Moili'ili Karst Exploration 



Saturday, January 10, 2015

Ancient Karst Reef Sinkholes On The Ewa Plain Hold Secrets To Oahu’s Earliest Residents

Looking Back by Looking Down 

By Chad Pata, August 22, 2014  Go Kapolei Magazine


In general, sinkholes are created over centuries as the acidity of rainwater eats away at the limestone, causing underground caverns to form and eventually give way to the weight of the earth above them.

Here in Kapolei, anyone who has ever put a shovel in the ground knows that the entire plain is made up of an ancient reef that dried up as ocean waters receded 120,000 years ago. This weathered karst, as it is known, is a limestone substrate that through the centuries was eaten away by the rains creating thousands of vertical bell-shaped caves or sinkholes.

While they are—geologically speaking—of some interest, their true value comes from their unintended ability to serve as a trap for animals. Due to their vertical nature, once a creature found itself in such a place, there was little chance of escape as scaling the walls was impossible and rare is the bird that can hover straight up like a helicopter to escape these narrow confines.

So what we had was a perfect repository to collect fossils of the wildlife that occupied these islands long before the Polynesians ever set foot on this volcanic chain.

Unfortunately, 99 percent of these “fossil tombs” have either been bulldozed for agricultural lands, lain over with concrete for development or simply lost to the ever-shifting sands of time, which brings us back to our little six-acre plot in Kapolei.

They were first discovered in the 1970s by Jennie Peterson, an archaeologist with Bishop Museum, as she was doing an environmental impact study on the once-proposed Deep Draft Harbor, but the history of the sinkholes would be written by local zoologist Dr. Alan Ziegler who spent decades exploring, documenting and teaching others about the wonders to be found out here on the Plain.

Eventually, the Smithsonian got involved with the project and the preeminent avian paleontologists Storrs Olson and Helen James came in to examine the remains.

What they found was astounding. More than 40 extinct species were interned in the sinkholes and of whose existence no one had known until they were discovered here.

There were remains of sea eagles and hawks, flightless rails and finches, and most shocking of all the moa nalo, which in Hawaiian means “lost fowl.” It was a three-foot tall flightless goose-like duck with a head like a tortoise. Many of the remains were in articulated form, as they had most likely died in the sinkhole after having fallen in, giving scientists an unadulterated look into our distant past.

“Back in the day, with all these birds, it must have been quite a raucous place!” says Marjorie Ziegler, daughter of Alan and executive director for the Conservation Council for Hawai‘i who hopes to oversee the care of the preserve one day.

Many of these remains now reside in Washington, D.C. at the Smithsonian and while the important artifacts have been removed, there is still much for future generations to learn at this holdover from pre-human contact Hawai‘i.

For years the CCH and Hawai‘i Nature Center led tours to the sinkholes, allowing children a chance to play archaeologists for a day. Ladders would be set up, many of the holes are 8-feet deep, and the kids would descend into the depths to use trawls, scoop sand and bring buckets of it to the surface.


Here they would use screens to discover the bones of Hawaiian petryls, the ‘ua‘u, that is only found on neighbor islands now and the beaks of long-gone crows who used to call O‘ahu home. They would always return the remains to the sinkhole to allow the next group to discover them.

But in recent years, invasive species of plants have overgrown the property, the holes are obscured by weeds making it difficult to find them or, even worse, hard to see their openings until you are falling into one.

The sea air and vandals have ravaged the fencing; and while still protected on paper, Ziegler is concerned about what could happen to this valuable natural resource.
“I worry less about homeless people setting up camp in there than about the accidental bulldozer collapsing them,” says Ziegler.

The holdup on the turnover of the land to the DLNR is a modern-world one.

The property cannot be conveyed until the surrounding land is subdivided and the subdivision cannot happen until there is improved road access to the surrounding industrial park development. This development, named Kapolei Harborside is planned to happen over the next decade, so while the plan is still to turn the land over to the DLNR, it may be some time before the public gets to visit this important bit of our area’s history.

When this lot at the corner of Malakole and Hanua streets is officially turned over, Ziegler and her team at CCH have big plans for the sinkholes starting with clearing the land of all the invasive species, including many large kiawe trees, and marking the sinks so that the visitors can be safe when visiting.

Next will be to build an educational area where kupuna can talk about these extinct species before kids go visit the sinkholes. And here, Ziegler’s visions can finally be realized, as amongst the remains our ancient past, the minds of our future can grow.

For more on the Conservation Council for Hawai‘i, log on to www.conservehi.org





SINKHOLE BIRDS THAT ARE EXTINCT

Extinct species of birds from sinkholes on the 'Ewa Plain:

Pterodroma jugabilis, a medium-sized petrel
Thambetochen xanion, a large flightless species of waterfowl (moa nalo)
Branta (uncertain species), a weak-flying goose, closely related to the nene
Porzana ziegleri, a small flightless rail
Porzana ralphorum, a large flightless rail
Circus dossenus, a small harrier, apparently adapted to feed on forest birds
Grallistrix geleches, a long-legged, bird-eating owl
Corvus impluviatus, a raven-sized crow with a deep, arched bill
Corvus viriosus, a raven-sized crow with a long, straight bill
Myadestes oahuensis, the O'ahu thrush
Moho apicalis, the O'ahu 'o'o (a honeyeater)
Chaetoptila (related to) angustipluma, a large honeyeater
Telespiza persecutrix, a small finch similar to the Laysan and Nihoa finches
Chloridops wahi, a grosbeak finch similar to the extinct Kona finch of the Big Island.
Chloridops regiskongi, a grosbeak finch with a really large bill, nicknamed King Kong finch.
Rhodacanthis litotes, similar to the extinct koa-finches of the Big Island.
Xestospiza fastigialis, a finch with a conical bill that was once common on O'ahu, Moloka'i and Maui.
Hemignathus upupirostris, an 'akialoa (Hawaiian honeycreeper with a long, thin, decurved bill)
Aidemedia chascax, a Hawaiian honeycreeper with a long, straight bill
Aidemedia zanclops, a Hawaiian honeycreeper with a sickle-shaped bill
Ciridops (uncertain species), a short-billed, strong-legged Hawaiian honeycreeper of a type previously known only from the Big Island.

SINKHOLE BIRDS STILL THRIVING

Sinkhole birds that are not extinct:

Pterodroma sandwichensis, the Hawaiian petrel; not previously known from O'ahu but bones are abundant in the sinkholes, showing that the region once had a major colony.
Haliaeetus (related to) albicilla, the white-tailed sea eagle. These eagles were either resident in the Islands or were regular visitors in the past. (A sea eagle was spotted on Kaua'i and possibly on O'ahu late last year and earlier this year.)
Telespiza cantans, the Laysan finch, known historically only from Laysan Island.
Loxioides bailleui, the Palila, known historically only from high-elevation Big Island mamane-naio forest.

Source: Helen James, Smithsonian Institution


Oahu's Ewa Plain Karst Sinkholes And Caves Yield Extinct Bird Fossils

US Fish Wildlife Demonstrates How 

Ewa Plain Karst Can Be Restored










Oahu's Ewa Plain Karst Sinkholes And Caves Yield Extinct Bird Fossils

Oahu's Ewa Plain Karst Sinkholes And Caves Yield Extinct Bird Fossils 

By Jan TenBruggencate, Advertiser Science Writer  August 7, 2007 

http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/2007/Aug/07/ln/hawaii708070352.html

SINKHOLE BIRDS THAT ARE EXTINCT

Extinct species of birds from sinkholes on the 'Ewa Plain:

Pterodroma jugabilis, a medium-sized petrel
Thambetochen xanion, a large flightless species of waterfowl (moa nalo)
Branta (uncertain species), a weak-flying goose, closely related to the nene
Porzana ziegleri, a small flightless rail
Porzana ralphorum, a large flightless rail
Circus dossenus, a small harrier, apparently adapted to feed on forest birds
Grallistrix geleches, a long-legged, bird-eating owl
Corvus impluviatus, a raven-sized crow with a deep, arched bill
Corvus viriosus, a raven-sized crow with a long, straight bill
Myadestes oahuensis, the O'ahu thrush
Moho apicalis, the O'ahu 'o'o (a honeyeater)
Chaetoptila (related to) angustipluma, a large honeyeater
Telespiza persecutrix, a small finch similar to the Laysan and Nihoa finches
Chloridops wahi, a grosbeak finch similar to the extinct Kona finch of the Big Island.
Chloridops regiskongi, a grosbeak finch with a really large bill, nicknamed King Kong finch.
Rhodacanthis litotes, similar to the extinct koa-finches of the Big Island.
Xestospiza fastigialis, a finch with a conical bill that was once common on O'ahu, Moloka'i and Maui.
Hemignathus upupirostris, an 'akialoa (Hawaiian honeycreeper with a long, thin, decurved bill)
Aidemedia chascax, a Hawaiian honeycreeper with a long, straight bill
Aidemedia zanclops, a Hawaiian honeycreeper with a sickle-shaped bill
Ciridops (uncertain species), a short-billed, strong-legged Hawaiian honeycreeper of a type previously known only from the Big Island.

SINKHOLE BIRDS STILL THRIVING

Sinkhole birds that are not extinct:

Pterodroma sandwichensis, the Hawaiian petrel; not previously known from O'ahu but bones are abundant in the sinkholes, showing that the region once had a major colony.
Haliaeetus (related to) albicilla, the white-tailed sea eagle. These eagles were either resident in the Islands or were regular visitors in the past. (A sea eagle was spotted on Kaua'i and possibly on O'ahu late last year and earlier this year.)
Telespiza cantans, the Laysan finch, known historically only from Laysan Island.
Loxioides bailleui, the Palila, known historically only from high-elevation Big Island mamane-naio forest.

Source: Helen James, Smithsonian Institution


Oahu sinkholes yield extinct birds

The baking sun and thorny kiawe trees of Kapolei hide dense caches of history, relics from a time when the 'Ewa Plain was a dense forest alive with strange birds now long extinct.



In those years, before the arrival of humans, the amazing moa nalo lumbered through the trees. It was a 3-foot-tall, flightless gooselike duck — the largest of the Native Hawaiian birds. Flightless rails and geese waddled around with it. Overhead flew a sea eagle, owls, crows, a hawk and bats. Finches and other perching birds flitted among the trees.

Most of these birds have been extinct for hundreds of years.

But proof of their existence lies in the bottom of limestone "sinkholes" where they sometimes were trapped and died, leaving their bones and beaks behind. The shells of now-extinct tree snails, and the pollen from the plants that once forested this area are found in sediments with the bones.

The sinkholes are vertical caves in an ancient reef that grew during a period 120,000 years ago when sea levels were much higher. There once were thousands of sinkholes across the 'Ewa Plain — time traps that preserved evidence from Hawai'i's prehistory.

Most have already been filled or covered by development.

Kapolei Property Development, which is proposing a 350-acre light industrial park at Kapolei, plans to preserve a six-acre parcel of undisturbed land that contains several of the sinkholes.

A chain-link fence, stained pale brown with the coral dust of the region, protects the acreage.
"This area hasn't been touched," said Steve Kelly, manager of development for Kapolei Property Development. "It was fenced in the early 1990s by the Estate of James Campbell, and we plan to put a new fence around it. We will be looking to pass on the property to some appropriate entity."
Scientists and community leaders cheer the firm's decision.

"This is a community resource, a place where people can come and learn about the past," said Ati Jeffers-Fabro, an environmental educator who has brought kids to the sinkholes to learn natural history.

"This is all we have left of a unique geological and biological setting in these Islands," said Helen James, a fossil bird expert at the Smithsonian Institution, who with her former husband, Storrs Olson, has taken the lead in identifying the ancient bones and beaks. "For future understanding and research of the Islands' natural history, we should preserve this."

The Conservation Council for Hawai'i is spearheading the effort to ensure protection for the sinkholes. Council executive director Marjorie Ziegler said the organization would like the six-acre plot to be transferred to the Department of Land and Natural Resources, perhaps designated as a state Natural Area Reserve. But if not that organization, some other caretaker should be established, she said.

Key goals are protection, scientific research, public education and the possible reforestation of the area with some of the native plants that the pollen record proves once lived here, Ziegler said.

The first person to find bird bones in sinkholes here was Jennie Peterson, now the environmental education program manager with the Hawai'i Nature Center. During the 1970s, she was an archaeologist with Bishop Museum, studying the area for an environmental impact statement on the then-proposed Deep Draft Harbor.

"I was digging in a large sinkhole when I found bones. They were so big that I thought they were mammal bones, but I knew they couldn't be because they were too light," she said.

'VANISHED FOWL'

No animal known to have lived in Hawai'i could have produced those bones, so she took them to Bishop Museum zoologist Alan Ziegler, Marjorie Ziegler's dad. He recognized they were the same class as extinct birds whose bones had been found in sand dune deposits on Moloka'i, and consulted with Olson, the Smithsonian Institution fossil bird expert, who happened to be conducting research on Maui.

It was a huge bird like nothing alive in the world today.

They called the group "vanished fowl," or moa nalo in Hawaiian. There are examples in the fossil record on all the major islands. The O'ahu moa nalo was given the scientific name of Thambetochen xanion.

A grazing animal, it looked most like a huge goose, but appeared to be most closely related to the dabbling ducks, said James, with the Smithsonian. The moa nalo had lost the ability to fly, and its flight muscles — robust in ducks and geese — were just thin straps across its chest, she said.

Further digging in sinkholes — some of them dry, and some with pools so deep that scuba gear was needed — yielded the bones of dozens of species of flightless birds, land birds, sea birds and raptors. The most common bones came from the ua'u, or Hawaiian dark-rumped petrel. This seabird has never been reported from O'ahu in historic times, but the fossil evidence shows there was an immense number of the birds here at one time.

"There must have been a major colony here. The whole 'Ewa Plain was just covered in them," James said.

When a team of visiting scientists, students and community members explored the six-acre Kapolei site last month, in a few minutes, one collected a handful of bones lying in plain view on the floor of a sinkhole. The collection included wing bones from ua'u and an extinct crow, skulls of ua'u and the beak of a very large, raven-sized extinct crow. The extinct crow has been named Corvus impluviatus.

Today, people think of the arid Kapolei area as former desert, but in pre-human times, it was forested.'

Researchers have found shells from extinct tree snails, and the pollen from the kinds of vegetation that probably once populated 'Ewa, including pritchardia palms, an acacia that was probably koai'a, and a critically endangered legume called kanaloa.

SURVIVAL PRECARIOUS

Once common, the kanaloa was found growing on Kaho'olawe, but its survival is exceedingly precarious, with just one plant in the wild and one in captivity. There has been no success in getting it to reproduce.

Preliminary dating of the sinkhole material suggests that most of the bird species were in the region for thousands of years, and most disappeared from the area in the years after human contact with the Islands. It is not yet clear what the direct cause was — perhaps humans directly feeding on birds, fire or other kinds of habitat disturbance, human-brought rats that could have both eaten vegetation and bird eggs, or something else.

Michigan State University zoology professor Peggy Ostrom is conducting studies to help answer some of the questions. She said she and her students will attempt to extract proteins from fossils for radio-carbon dating, and to analyze material in the bones to gain information about what the birds ate.
She and James also hope to find clues about the fate of the sinkhole birds.

"I'd be careful about making assumptions. It could have been a number of things," Ostrom said.
There is very little left of the prehistoric life of this region. Almost all the vegetation is modern weeds and hardy introduced trees like kiawe and banyan.

But deep in at least one of the wet sinkholes, in a tiny pool of brackish water, by the illumination from a flashlight, you can see tiny flickers of movement. They are the native anchialine shrimp — living in darkness and among the last survivors of the time when this region was alive with forms of life no living human has ever seen.

Oahu's Ewa Plain Karst Sinkholes And Caves Yield Extinct Bird Fossils

 http://ewa-hawaii-karst.blogspot.com/2015/01/ewa-plain-karst-sinkholes-and.html

US Fish & Wildlife Demonstrates How Ewa Plain Karst Can Be Restored

 http://ewa-hawaii-karst.blogspot.com/2014/12/us-fish-wildlife-ewa-preserve.html

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Ewa Plain Karst: A Precise Cut Into The Karst For An Amazing View Back In Time

Ewa Plain Karst: A Precise Cut Into The Karst For An Amazing View Back In Time

by John Bond,  Kanehili Hui



A precise long cut into the karst near Barbers Point light house reveals pre-history

A drainage canal on the Ewa Plain tells an interesting story about pre-history 
and early native Hawaiian karst culture. This area is all ancient limestone reef.
It was at one time many thousands of years ago an ocean reef teeming with
fish and many types of coral. When the sea level dropped, acidic rain water
began dissolving the calcium carbonate forming sinkholes and caves.


When this cutting work was done is not known at this time, but possibly 1960's. 


A quarry cutting saw was likely used - an amazing slice into the ancient Ewa reef


A smooth water "pipe" feature like this indicates a long period of acidic rain water flow


Several types of karst sinkhole and cave features can be seen in one place


More variations in how rain water and time eroded through the reef after sea level fell


The tunnels and channels through the ancient reef vary greatly based on coral species 


This actually looks like it could have been a native habitation and possible burial site


This was likely formed over centuries by an upland stream of water passing through


Who knows - this could have contained ancient bird bones and plant seeds long extinct


A channel like this is just a microcosm of larger channels much further down in the karst 


A great cross section of a sinkhole which could lead down to a sea water cave chamber


A quarry saw was likely used to cut this drainage canal like a piece of cake.

Photos By John Bond,  Kanehili Cultural Hui

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