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Magnitude 4.5 Earthquake South of Island of Hawaiʻi

December 18, 2016, 8:54 AM HST
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The US Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory recorded an offshore magnitude-4.5 earthquake south the Island of Hawaiʻi on Sunday, Dec. 18, at 6:30 a.m.

According to Brian Shiro, HVO’s Seismic Network Manager, this earthquake was centered about 37 miles south of Ka Lae (South Point) at a depth of 22.7 miles.

Big Island earthquake. 12.18.16. PC: USGS

The earthquake was felt on the Island of Hawaiʻi, with the the USGS “Did you feel it?” Web site receiving over 50 felt reports within an hour of the earthquake. “Weak shaking” was reported.

Today’s earthquake occurred about 43 miles southwest of Lō‘ihi, and was not caused by activity on that submarine volcano, according to the HVO.

The HVO reports that “the depth, location, and recorded seismic waves of the earthquake suggest a source due to bending of the oceanic plate from the weight of the Hawaiian island chain,” a common source for earthquakes in this area.


The earthquake caused no detectable changes in Kīlauea Volcano’s ongoing eruptions, on Mauna Loa, or at other active volcanoes on the Island of Hawaiʻi, the HVO reports.

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