East Hawaii News

No Tsunami Threat After 4.6M Quake Near Waikoloa

March 20, 2016, 9:35 AM HST
* Updated March 20, 9:52 AM
Listen to this Article
2 minutes
Loading Audio...

Image: USGS

Image: USGS

The U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory reports a 4.6 magnitude earthquake occurred 8 miles SE of Waikoloa on the Big Island at 6:43 a.m. on Sunday, March 20, 2016.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center reports no damaging tsunami was generated from this earthquake.

The earthquake was centered 24 miles NE of Kailua-Kona, 40 miles WNW of Hilo, 50 miles WNW of Hawaiian Paradise Park and 171 miles SE of Honolulu at a depth of 19.8 miles.

The initial report indicated the quake was 4.4 magnitude but the event was upgraded shortly thereafter.

The earthquake was widely felt on the Island of Hawaiʻi. The USGS Did You Feel It Website received more than 480 felt reports within an hour of the earthquake. Most of the felt reports were from the islands of Hawaiʻi and Maui, with a few reports from Oʻahu, over 250 km (155 mi) from the epicenter. Moderate shaking (Intensity V) has been reported. At these shaking intensities, damage to buildings or structures is not expected.


We have also received numerous reports from our users at BigIslandNow.com of two strong jolts occurring. Many residents also reported hearing the quake before they felt it.

Image: USGS

Image: USGS


On the Big Island, reports have come in to our newsroom from all over Hawaiʻi County but we’ve also received reports of Hawaiʻi residents feeling the shaking as far away as Kula, Maui and the west side of Oʻahu.

As of 8 a.m., HST, no aftershocks of the magnitude-4.6 earthquake have been recorded.

Over the past 25 years, there have been 4 earthquakes with magnitudes greater than 4.0 and at depths greater than 20 km (12 mi) beneath the northern half of Hawaiʻi Island, including today’s event. Deep earthquakes in this region are most likely caused by structural adjustments within the Earth’s crust due to the weight of the overlying volcanoes.


Adjustments beneath the northern half of Hawai’i Island during past similar events, such as in March 2010, have produced a flurry of earthquakes, with many small aftershocks occurring for days after the main quake. Given this history, it is possible that additional small earthquakes may be recorded in the coming days.

According to HVO Scientist-in-Charge Christina Neal the earthquake had no apparent effect on Kīlauea Volcano’s ongoing eruptions. “HVO monitoring networks have not detected any significant changes in activity at the summit or along the rift zones of Kīlauea resulting from the earthquake.”

If you felt the earthquake, please report it to the USGS for their data collection. Select “Tell Us” on the left hand sidebar. Click here for a link. 


Subscribe to our Newsletter

Stay in-the-know with daily or weekly
headlines delivered straight to your inbox.
Mahalo for Subscribing


This comments section is a public community forum for the purpose of free expression. Although Big Island Now encourages respectful communication only, some content may be considered offensive. Please view at your own discretion. View Comments