UPDATE: Sunday’s Kilauea Earthquake Largest in Region Since 2000
Updated 08/11/13 at 11:20 p.m. with more information and updated measurements
Big Islanders received a rude awakening early Sunday morning as a 4.8 magnitude earthquake struck at approximately 5:54 a.m, according to USGS measurements (early readings on Sunday morning by USGS had given the quake a preliminary measurement of 4.6).
The quake’s epicenter was located approximately 9 km (5 miles) south of Kilauea Summit.
The early morning shaker, and the magnitude 3.4 earthquake that followed just 12 minutes later both failed to generate a tsunami, and no warnings or watches were issued.
According to scientists at the Hawaii Volcano Observatory, the earthquake was most likely caused by structural adjustments of the Earth’s crust due to the weight of the island on the underlying mantle.
The earthquakes had no effect on ongoing volcanic eruptions, and were likely not volcanic in nature, having occurred well below Kilauea’s underground magma systems.
Sunday’s larger quake was the largest in that geographical area and at that depth since the year 2000. It is also only the second quake in the area since 1983 to top magnitude 4.0.
Kilauea Volcano is a daily cause of Big Island earthquakes, most of which are too small to be felt by residents and visitors. At least 7 earthquakes had occurred on Hawai`i Island the day prior, the largest of which was magnitude 2.3.
The largest quake on record in Hawai`i occurred in the Ka`u district in 1868, and is estimated to have been a 7.9 magnitude event.