Earthquake Shakes Kīlauea’s South Flank

February 3, 2020, 8:33 AM HST (Updated February 3, 2020, 8:33 AM)
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A magnitude-4.2 earthquake rattled the south flank of Kīlauea Volcano Sunday night, the 20th time in 20 years a quake of a magnitude-4.0 or higher struck the area, according to the US Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO).

The precise timing of the event was Sunday, Feb. 2, at 8:37 p.m. HST.

The earthquake was centered about 7.5 miles southeast of Kīlauea caldera near the Hōlei Pali area of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park at a depth of 4.8 miles.

A map showing its location is posted on the HVO website. More details are available at the National Earthquake Information Center website.

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Weak to light shaking, with maximum Intensity of III, has been reported across the Island of Hawai‘i.  At that intensity, significant damage to buildings or structures is not expected. The USGS “Did you feel it?” service received over 280 felt reports within the first hour of the earthquake.

According to HVO seismologist Brian Shiro, the earthquake had no apparent effect on Kīlauea or Mauna Loa volcanoes.

“We see no detectable changes in activity at the summits or along the rift zones of Kīlauea or Mauna Loa as a result of this earthquake,” Shiro said. “Aftershocks are possible and could be felt.”

HVO continues to monitor Kīlauea and other Hawaiian volcanoes for any changes.

Most earthquakes Kīlauea’s south flank are caused by abrupt motion of the flank itself, which moves to the southeast over the oceanic crust. The location, depth and waveforms recorded as part of Sunday’s earthquake are consistent with slip along this south flank fault. This earthquake is likely an aftershock of the 2018 magnitude-6.9 earthquake as the volcano continues to settle.

According to the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, there was no tsunami threat from this earthquake.

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