Hawai'i Volcano Blog

VIDEO UPDATE: Series of Earthquakes Rattles Hawai‘i Island Chain

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6.9 quake, May 4, 2018, 12:32 p.m. MC: USGS/HVO

The U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) recorded a magnitude-6.9 earthquake on Friday, May 4, 2018, at approximately 12:32 p.m. HST.

It is the strongest quake in Hawaii since 1975—and the largest in a series of strong earthquakes that began at 11:32 a.m. today.

According to the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (PTWC) no tsunami was generated by today’s earthquakes.

The magnitude-6.9 earthquake was located about 10 miles southwest of Leilani Estates on the Island of Hawaiʻi, at a depth of 3.1 miles.


These earthquakes were felt as far away as the Island of Kaua‘i. The maximum intensity of shaking was recorded as VIII on the Mercalli Intensity Scale, indicating severe shaking near the earthquake’s epicenter. For more information see the USGS ShakeMap.

“Remember to drop, cover and hold on during strong earthquakes,” said HVO’s seismic network manager Brian Shiro. “Most common injuries come from falling objects. The earthquakes are related to the ongoing volcanic activity in Kīlauea’s East Rift Zone and reflect adjustments beneath the south flank of the volcano. Additional strong, damaging earthquakes are possible.”

More details are available online.

The main shock was preceded by a strong magnitude-5.4 earthquake approximately one hour prior.


Several tens of aftershocks under the south flank and summit areas of Kīlauea Volcano have already occurred, the largest of which was magnitude-4.8. Strong aftershocks should be expected, and could likely occur for weeks to months into the future. Individuals and families should prepare accordingly.

Like the magnitude-5.0 earthquake yesterday, rockfalls and ash plumes in the Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō crater were triggered by today’s earthquake sequence.

Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō vent collapsed after the 4.6 earthquake at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, May 4, 2018. VC: 

Tori Tanaka RSepro

No other changes at Kīlauea have been observed, but HVO scientists are closely monitoring the data.


The active eruption in Leilani Estates continues.

For more information on recent earthquakes in Hawai‘i and eruption updates, visit the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory website.

Daily updates about ongoing eruptions, recent images and videos of summit and East Rift Zone volcanic activity, maps, and data about recent earthquakes in Hawaii are posted on the HVO website.

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