HVO Computer Specialist Wilfred Tanigawa Retires after 27 Years

Release Date:

Numerous news reports have drawn attention to the impending transition in the Federal workforce. An estimated 60 percent of the Federal civilian workforce will be eligible to retire in the next 10 years. The U. S. Geological Survey's (USGS) Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO), on its own smaller scale, has already started through this transition.

HVO Computer Specialist Wilfred Tanigawa Retires after 27 Years...

Wil Tanigawa with old-timer friend, Maurice Sako.

(Public domain.)

On April 27, 2006, HVO's long-time computer and network administrator, Wilfred Tanigawa, logged out of his HVO accounts for the last time when he retired after 27 years of distinguished and dedicated service. As computer administrator, Wil very capably served HVO in one of its truly mission-critical positions, through an era when monitoring activities and day-to-day operations have become increasingly computer- and network-dependent.

Wil was hired in 1979 as HVO entered the era of computer-based earthquake data processing. His initial duties included playing back tapes containing frequency-modulated seismic data recorded from the radio-telemetered network to create earthquake data files. HVO seismic analysts and researchers would then study them to determine earthquake locations, and track and interpret seismic activity beneath Hawai'i Island.

At that time, HVO had only 2 computer terminals. Therefore, it was to HVO's advantage for Wil to work evenings, when other staff did not need access to the computer. This arrangement suited Wil's schedule, because it allowed him to continue to run his family's farm in Volcano during the day. It also extended the hours when HVO would have someone present to respond to emergencies or inquiries. Time and again this proved to be extremely valuable, because earthquakes or volcanic events don't always occur during normal operating hours.

As HVO's data processing and computing environment grew more sophisticated, Wil repeatedly stepped up to meet the increasing demands. A large improvement in HVO's seismic monitoring occurred when real-time digital data acquisition and near-real-time data processing was introduced in 1985. Wil worked with former HVO staffers Tom English and Carl Johnson to implement and manage Johnson's Caltech-USGS Seismic Processing, or CUSP, system at HVO.

The initial CUSP system ran on minicomputers and disk systems resembling washing machines. In 1992, Wil engineered and managed the installation of updated CUSP software that ran on a small cluster of minicomputers and workstations. HVO continues to use third-generation CUSP platforms for its seismic monitoring base.

During the 1990s, HVO experienced explosions in both personal computer and Internet use. Wil's focus necessarily broadened, from oversight of mainly HVO's seismic computing needs to the dozens of personal computers and many strands of network cables that comprise the HVO computer network.

Very much worth noting is Wil's setting up and maintenance of HVO's automatic earthquake notification utilities on the clustered seismic computers. Within 5 minutes of earthquake origin, email messages were issued by the Information on Seismic Activity in A Hurry (ISAIAH) system. The ISAIAH system continues to provide important earthquake information via the Internet to the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Ewa Beach.

Most recently, Wil was a central figure in upgrading HVO's local-area and wide-area networking. He worked with a team of contractors, and USGS and other Federal computer specialists, to install and configure faster and more robust network connections and to meet increasing computer and network security requirements.

Wil's long computer and network oversight helped create a rock-solid operational base at HVO. While looking for and always appreciating cool ways to get things done, he strived for and achieved functionality, operability, sustainability, and manageability with his systems.

To our valued friend and colleague, we say, "Aloha, Wil. Congratulations, good luck, and thank you for a job well done. We wish you and your family the very best in this new stage of your lives."


Volcano Activity Update

Eruptive activity at Pu`u `O`o continues. On clear nights, glow is visible from several vents within the crater. Lava continues to flow through the PKK lava tube from its source on the flank of Pu`u `O`o to the ocean, with frequent surface flows breaking out of the tube near the 2,300-ft elevation, and a persistent flow, known as the "March 1 breakout," active on the coastal plain. The March 1 breakout is waning, however, and active lava was limited to a small area 1.7 km (1.1 mile) from the coast.

Lava continues to enter the ocean at East Lae`apuki, in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. The active lava bench continues to grow following the major collapse of November 28 and is now approximately 1,000 m (3,300 ft) long by 315 m (1,000 ft) wide, with a total area of 19 ha (47 acres).

Access to the ocean entries and the surrounding area remains closed, due to significant hazards. If you visit the eruption site, check with the rangers for current updates, and remember to carry lots of water when venturing out onto the flow field.

There were two earthquakes beneath Hawai`i Island reported felt within the past week. A magnitude-3.2 event 3 km (2 miles) west of O`okala at a depth of 10.5 km (6.5 miles) at 1:59 p.m. H.s.t. on May 7 was felt in the northern parts of Hawai`i Island, and a magnitude-2.4 earthquake 3 km (2 miles) northeast of MacKenzie State Park at a depth of 0.15 km (0.1 miles) at 9:25 p.m. H s.t. on May 10 was felt in the lower Puna region.

Mauna Loa is not erupting. During the past week, earthquake activity remained low beneath the volcano's summit, with 4 earthquakes detected. Extension of line lengths between locations spanning the summit, indicating inflation, continues at slow rates.