31 January 2023
Palolo Valley: the boulder that came to tea
In Hawaii, a remarkable video has emerged of a boulder that crashed into a house in the Palolo Valley to the east of Honolulu on Sunday 29 January 2023. The video was tweeted by Max Rodriguez (@maxrrrod), a news reporter at KHON 2 News:-
— Max Rodriguez (@maxrrrod) January 30, 2023
The event occurred at Palolo Avenue late on Sunday. The approximate location is 21.301, -157.795, although I am unsure as to the specific house that was impacted. This area is characterised by a steep volcanic hillside behind the houses, about 300 m in length, with a height difference of about 200 metres. The trigger of the landslide is unclear, but there has been recent heavy rainfall according to a report in Hawaii News Now.
This is not the first time that boulders have caused significant problems in Hawaii. For example, in 2002, a 26-year-old woman, Dara Rei Onishi, was killed when a boulder smashed through her house in Nuuanu.
This most recent event reminds me of the infamous Rocky, the boulder that crashed into a house in Christchurch as a result of the 2011 earthquake. More recently, in April 2021 a large boulder crashed into a house in Neustift in Austria.
It will be interesting to see how the authorities in Hawaii respond to this event in Palolo Valley, and also to see how the insurance company considers the damage. In many countries landslides are not insured on domestic policies.