East Hawaii News

4.5-Magnitude Quake Rattles Big Island

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A magnitude-4.5 earthquake struck the Big Island at 6:24 a.m. today, the US Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory reported.

The earthquake was located beneath the Island of Hawaiʻi and no damaging tsunami was generated.

Wes Thelen, HVO’s Seismic Network Manager, said the earthquake was centered about four miles east-northeast of Kawaihae and nine miles west-northwest of Waimea, at a depth of 10.4 miles.

The USGS “Did you feel it?” Web site received more than 145 felt reports within an hour of the earthquake, HVO said. Only light shaking was reported. Most reports were posted from the Islands of Hawai‘i and Maui. There were also a few reports from the Kahuku and Hickam areas on Oʻahu, over 155 miles from the epicenter, HVO reported.


Over the past 50 years, the area around Kawaihae has experienced 11 earthquakes greater than magnitude-4.0, including today’s event, at depths of 6–12 miles. Deep earthquakes in this region are most likely caused by structural adjustments within the Earth’s crust to accommodate the heavy load of Mauna Kea and surrounding volcanoes. Today’s earthquake is in the general region of the 2006 Māhukona earthquake, but is not close enough to the 2006 event to be an aftershock of it.

Today’s earthquake caused no detectable changes on the active volcanoes on the Island of Hawai`i, HVO said.


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